This Sunday sees the highly-anticipated Tyne-Wear derby between Sunderland and Newcastle take place at the Stadium of Light.
Alongside the fact that it is a huge match in terms of bragging rights in the North East, it is also looking like a vital match for both sides as the duo currently lie in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Sunderland, now led by Sam Allardyce, have picked up just three points from their opening nine games, while Newcastle only picked up their first victory of the season against Norwich at St James’ Park last weekend.
We’ve put together a possible combined XI of the two teams, and it’s an exciting (yet maybe controversial) one…
Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland)
If Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul hadn’t have recently been ruled out for the rest of the campaign through injury, he would probably take his place between the sticks in our team.
However, in his absence, we have gone with the giant Romanian. At 6ft 8in tall, Pantilimon is the tallest player in the Premier League, and helped Sunderland escape relegation last term – his performance in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal at The Emirates which clinched survival was particularly impressive.
While he has struggled at times this season, he is operating behind a defence that has largely struggled for many years now.