With Newcastle United demoted to the Championship, Sunderland will consider newly-promoted Middlesbrough as their nearest rivals. 35 miles apart from each other, we can expect this match to bring on the electric atmosphere of the famous Tyne-Wear Derby. Both clubs will be in look for their first three points of the season when they lock horns at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland were unfortunate to lose out 2-1 to Manchester City on the opening day courtesy to the late own goal from new signing Paddy McNair. David Moyes fared quite well in his first game back in England and almost sealed one point against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Even though the Black Cats were dominated by the Citizens, Jermain Defoe scored a 71st-minute equaliser against the run of play only to see McNair giving away the three points to the Citizens late in the game.
Boro are back in the top tier of English football after nine long years and had a good comeback game against Stoke City securing one point. A host of impressive signings have been made by the Teessiders in the summer and there is a definite sense of optimism growing surrounding the club. We can expect a classic as the two North East sides clash at the Stadium of Light.
Sebastian Larsson, Jan Kirchoff and Lee Cattermole will all miss the game with injuries while Billy Jones is doubtful.
De Roon, Leadbitter and Espinosa are definitely missing with injuries while Daniel Ayala is a slight doubt.
Predicted lineups and tactical setups
David Moyes is likely to opt for a 4-4-1-1 formation against Boro. Vito Mannone will keep his place between the sticks. Lamine Kone is unlikely to start the game due to the ongoing speculations of him moving away. John O’Shea will start at the heart of the defence alongside summer signing from Chelsea Papy Djilobodji. Summer signing from Manchester United, Donald Love, will start in the right-back position while Patrick van Aanholt will keep his place in the left-back position. Paddy McNair is likely to start the game as a defensive midfielder. Jack Rodwell will partner the youngster in the middle of the park. Duncan Watmore and Adnan Januzaj are likely to start on the two flanks while Fabio Borini starts as a supporting forward behind Defoe.
Sunderland starting XI: Mannone; Love, O’Shea, Djilobodji, van Aanholt; Watmore, McNair, Rodwell, Januzaj; Borini; Defoe
Victor Valdes will keep his place under the bar while the back four is likely to be consisting of Barragan, Ayala, Gibson and Friend. Adam Forshaw and Adam Clayton are likely to start in the two-man midfield. Gaston Ramirez will start as the number ten while Albert Adomah and Stewart Downing are likely to feature on the flanks. Alvaro Negredo will spearhead the attack for the Riversiders.
Boro starting XI: Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; F0rshaw, Clayton; Adomah, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo
Middlesbrough look much stronger than Sunderland although Moyes has plenty of experience in the Premier League and Sunderland have the home advantage. We predict a 1-1 draw.