What can Sunderland learn from October's 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby success?

Sunderland head into tomorrow's match against Newcastle United desperately needing points to find their way out of trouble, but how can they learn from October's 3-0 win in order to do so?

What can Sunderland learn from October's 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby success?
Steven Fletcher was one of three Sunderland scorers in the 3-0 win, although he and Adam Johnson are no longer at the club. (Photo: Reuters)

Sunderland made it a record six wins in a row over their fierce rivals Newcastle United in October 2015, as a Fabricio Coloccini red card helped Sam Allardyce's side on their way to a win that went down in the history books. But what can be taken from this fixture and applied to tomorrow's potential relegation decider?

Sitting deep and inviting pressure is not the answer

In the first half of October's game, there is no doubt that Sunderland were woeful and were second best in practically every department. They were afforded a stroke of good fortune when Coloccini gave away a fairly straight-forward penalty and also received a controversial red card, before seeing his side go into the half-time break 1-0 down. 

One of the reasons that Sunderland were second best in the first 45 minutes, was the reluctance to push anyone forward as Allardyce had seemingly instructed his side to sit back and soak up the pressure. This led to a large amount of possession for the away side in the final third, and although they didn't create any clear cut scoring chances it would have only been a matter of time before these tactics saw Sunderland concede.

Sunderland have not won six in a row by chance, and have enjoyed great success in the away derbies by taking the game to the hosts, rather than sitting back and inviting pressure. If Sunderland are to come away with all three points and make it seven wins on the bounce, the game needs to be a hotly contested affair and not a snatch and grab attempt.

Newcastle are vulnerable in defence -  and Sunderland need to capitalise

The fact that the Black Cats found the net three times in the reverse fixture showed that the Magpies are certainly not a side that can rely on their defence to grind out results. In fact, this match was one of only three this season in which Sunderland have scored three or more times in the Premier League, with the other two being a 3-1 win against rock bottom side Aston Villa and a 4-2 away win against the ten men of Swansea City.

Sunderland may have only had three shots on target in the match, but they were ruthless in front of goal and they will need to show this kind of form in attack tomorrow if they are to gain three vital points.

A man that perhaps sets Sunderland apart from Newcastle is Jermain Defoe, who has just returned from injury and will be a sure fire starter for the game. If Sunderland are to repeat their previous six wins, then Defoe is a man that needs to be on top form.

John O'Shea is unbeaten against Newcastle for a reason

John O'Shea currently holds quite an impressive record of no losses against Newcastle over his entire career for both Manchester United and Sunderland, and as captain he provides composure in a chaotic fixture such as the Tyne-Wear derby. This is something which will be needed in abundance if the Black Cats are to avoid losing come Sunday.

O'Shea was part of the defence that kept a rare clean sheet in the reverse fixture this season, one of only three clean sheets that his side has managed all season in the Premier League.

Younes Kaboul has been placed alongside the impressive Lamine Kone in recent matches and his form has not suggested that he needs to be dropped, but he does have a mistake in him as we saw early on in his Sunderland career, and mistakes are something that his side cannot afford in such a crucial game as this.

O'Shea's communication is something that cannot be overlooked, and although Kone has impressed in other matches he will need his captain to ensure that he is not caught up in the occasion.

O'Shea is unbeaten against the Toon (photo: zimbio)
O'Shea is unbeaten against the Toon (photo: zimbio)