David Jones: Sunday will only be Super if Sunderland beat bitter-rivals Newcastle

Fabio Borini scores against Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light in 2013, a game which Sunderland won 2-1.
Fabio Borini scores against Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light in 2013, a game which Sunderland won 2-1.
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Admittedly, it’s not always so ,but there can be no quarrel that Sunday does indeed look Super on Sky Sports.

It’s the neutral armchair fan’s perfect day and the kind of football feast that comes along only once or twice in a season with three live Premier League games back to back and all with so much at stake.

The Manchester Derby looks a belter with City bang in form and United as good as they’ve looked for months.

And following that we get to continue our love-in with Liverpool’s favourite German Jurgen Klopp, whose first league game at Anfield pits the Reds against their unofficial feeder club Southampton.

Hopefully, we’ll still have the stomach to be watching after Sunday’s opening offering and a game that we’ve been counting down to since the fixtures were released in June.

This feels like the biggest Derby for years.

The parallels are extraordinary I know, with it looking large as Big Sam’s second game in charge: Paolo Di Canio needed to win it, Gus Poyet needed to win it and Dick Advocaat needed to win it as well.

But it seems to me that we’ve been losing to everyone bar Newcastle for so long that our neighbours have the chance to turn off the lights at our Stadium on Sunday.

Allarydce more than anyone knows the implications; I trust in him to exact an improvement in our team, but it must be like turning a tanker.

The game at West Brom was in some respects similar to Advocaat’s first outing against Sam’s West Ham.

Initially we saw a response; a gentle tactical tweak, much more energy and purpose and real evidence that we looked a more solid unit.

But just as at West Ham, as the match progressed we weakened and it was no great surprise when we went behind, all be it to a controversial goal.

Advocaat will tell you that West Ham fouled Seb Larsson in the build up to the decisive goal at Upton Park which cost him a result in his first game.

And as you know, Allardyce said Martin Atkinson’s mistake (in failing to penalise Saido Berahino’s contact with Costel Pantilimon) cost him the game at the Hawthorns.

All well and good to say that publicly, but I’m pretty sure privately Sam will have real concerns about his giant goalkeeper.

Contact or not, there is no way Pantilimon should have made such a mess of it: for the second time in two weeks his mistakes have been punished, he will have to be much better on Sunday.

I wasn’t too far off predicting Sam’s first team, the only real surprise was the inclusion of Jordi Gomez, who wouldn’t have struck me as an Allardyce player.

But the Spaniard’s calm confidence in possession and wily game management could come in handy in the heat of a derby battle so he should keep his place on Sunday.

Jeremain Lens has to come straight back in, perhaps at the expense of Fabio Borini.

The Italian has not had the impact we hoped and it’s hard to imagine him hurting Newcastle as he has in the past.

His five games so far back in a Sunderland shirt have failed to produce a goal or an assist; he’s managed six shots in total, surrended possession with almost 25 per cent of his passes, and defensively he’s made three tackles and one interception.

A stats loving man like Allardyce won’t think much of that, nor will he have been thrilled to see us muster just two shots on target at West Brom.

They are not a good Premier League side and I actually fear Newcastle United have much more about them.

They were unlucky not to be beat Chelsea, they were surprisingly good at Manchester City in the first half before collapsing and it all came together for them against Norwich.

All the talk not surprisingly was of Gini Wijnaldum’s four goals, but they have found a real leader in Aleksander Mitrovic; if he can control his emotions he can make life very difficult for our team.

I wouldn’t be surprised if set-pieces is our main weaponry on Sunday, Allardyce will probably spend most of the week drilling his players on how to hurt a wobbly Newcastle defence.

One goal off someone’s backside will be fine by me.

The atmosphere will be amazing, it’s going to be an incredible occasion, but the only way it will be a truly Super Sunday is if Sunderland win.