At Brighton Gus Poyet presided over the Championship’s most miserly defence in his last full season at the club and he appears to be working his magic once more on Wearside.
The Uruguayan may have been at the controls when Sunderland shipped eight goals in a single match against Southampton, but his charges still look a great bet to keep a clean sheet against Newcastle in the north east derby at 14/5.
Discount the Southampton thrashing and Sunderland have the league’s best road defence by a distance.
Southampton are the outright tightest away outfit in the league having shipped seven times in eight games
However, were it not for their 8-0 short circuit against the Saints, Sunderland would be right up their with the stingiest wayfarers, having conceded 12 times in total on their travels.
Newcastle have notched once or less in five of their last six outings.
Bizarrely only Chelsea have afforded the Magpies more than a solitary strike during that period as the shine has slowly rubbed off their resurgence.
Against a Mackems defence capable of denying the Blues’ ingenious attack so much as a single goal they could well struggle.
Sunderland have shipped once or less in nine of the last ten derbies.
Poyet’s new, defensively savvy Black Cats also have a long history of Tyne/Wear intransigence to draw upon and it’s now two trips to St James’ Park since they last allowed the home support reason to be cheerful.
The visitors’ defensive strength gives them an excellent platform to pursue a win for which they are generously-priced at 11/4, with 11/10 favourites Newcastle in the midst of an injury crisis.