Sunderland v Newcastle Odds : First Goalscorer markets proving popular with Fletcher, Demba and Ameobi prominent

One of the highlights of the Premier League calendar takes place this weekend as North East pride goes on the line as Sunderland and Newcastle go head to head.

Both teams are competing to be the top team for their area this year and with plenty of talented players on show, this should be a cracking fixture. It always has a special atmosphere too and the players need to be aware of how much this means to the fans.

Last year, this fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Newcastle and there is no doubt this would have hurt the Black Cats. There is rarely too much to choose between them though, so things could easily swing the other way this weekend.

Looking at Sunderland to begin with, they lost 3-0 to Manchester City just before the international break and they wouldn’t have enjoyed sitting on this for two weeks. Martin O’Neill’s men will be itching to get going again and so they should.

Prior to this reverse at the hands of the Premier League Champions, Sunderland had enjoyed a solid enough start to the campaign. As things stand, they sit in 13th position and in terms of their aim for the season, a top ten finish would be more than welcome.

They certainly have the players for it. Having spent big to secure the services of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, fans expectations are high and they need to make the most of the current feel good factor around the place.

Ex Wolves man Fletcher has been a revelation at the Stadium of Light since his big money move, already bagging five goals and he looks to the main threat going forward for the Black Cats.

The Scot is a best price 5/1 with Bet365 to find the net first, while Sunderland can can be backed to win the game at 6/4 with Paddy Power.

As for Newcastle, they are doing just fine so far this season. Unfortunately though, they are victims of last season’s success.

Alan Pardew’s men performed above all expectations to finish 5th and even though they are currently a respectable 10th; people are saying that they have lost their magic touch.

This is still a top quality Newcastle team though and better form will come, so their price of 23/10 with Betvictor certainly holds some appeal with punters.

With reference to this weekend, what better way to kickstart their season than a win at their local rivals?

It certainly worked last year as after the 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in August, Pardew’s men went nine games unbeaten in the league and set the tone for their success.

Much will depend on the front two of Demba Ba and Pappiss Cisse, who are both available at 6/1 with Paddy Power, while local boy Shola Ameobi has a superb record in the Tyneside derby over recent seasons and can be backed at 12/1 to score first with Betvictor, which surely looks too big to miss.

Sunderland are a more threatening outfit this year though. More organised under O’Neill and with more match winners in their ranks, the home side will come out flying and the tempo should be high in the opening 15 minutes or so.

It will then settle down, but a controversial incident or two is inevitable as is a fascinating 90 minutes of Premier League football.