Sunderland take on North East rivals Newcastle United on Sunday in what is likely to be a feisty encounter.
Aside from the obvious relegation threat both teams face this season, this is a fixture with a host of little side-stories - such as Sam Allardyce’s first game at the Stadium of Light and Jack Colback’s return.
Colback, originally a Sunderland graduate, rather controversially joined rivals Newcastle United 15 months ago, much to the disappointment of his former club’s supporters.
Time will tell whether it proves a good career move or not, yet Sunderland fans will argue they no longer miss him because their new loan signing Yann M’Vila is the better of the two anyway.
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As per the table provided by Opta Stats, that opinion holds weight, at least from a statistical point of view, as M’Vila outshines Colback in five of the seven key defensive midfield categories.
Moreover, M’Vila is seemingly more comfortable in possession – posting a better average in number of touches and accurate passes per fixture.
Colback, however, has plenty of experience of this fixture and he will be leaning on that in order to help his teammates end a poor run of five straight defeats to their rivals.
Newcastle head into the encounter coming off the back of a 6-2 win over Norwich City, a result which will give the Magpies an edge in confidence against a team who has still yet to taste victory in the league this season.