Sunderland had failed to take maximum points from their previous six Tyne-Wear derbies before Sunday’s stunning 3-0 victory. Paulo Di Canio’s arrival at the Stadium of Light has already helped the Black Cats end one barren run and now he’ll need to do the same ahead of Everton’s visit.
David Moyes’ side battled well for a goalless draw against Arsenal on Tuesday evening to keep them in the hunt for the coveted final Champions League spot. Everton will be confident of taking three points back from Wearside given their impressive record against Sunderland.
Everton’s 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture was the 19th consecutive game that Sunderland have failed to win against them.
Early goals have been a feature of Everton’s trips to Wearside. The average time of the first match goal in the Toffees’ past four visits to the Stadium of Light has come in the 18th minute.
There were a few raised eyebrows and more than a few happy bookmakers when Auroras Encore won the Grand National at Aintree earlier in the month at 66/1, but there seemed to be no fluke about the way Sue Smith’s horse surged to glory.
The 11-year-old will bid for a historic National double on Saturday when he takes his place at Ayr for the Scottish Grand National. Only Red Rum in 1974 has completed the English and Scottish National double in the same year.
Music Hall, Little Polveir and Earth Summit are the only three others to have completed the double in different years.
However, the gelding has to carry top weight of 11st 12lb and only once in the last ten renewals has a horse overcome that burden.
Only two 11-year-olds have taken the prize in the last decade, although one was last year, Merigo. Horses aged eight and ten have the best record with three wins apiece in that time with Garleton (12) and the likes of Big Occasion and Tour Des Champs (six), as well as Our Mick and Nuts N Bolts (seven) looking up against it on trends.
No favourite has won in the last ten years so Rival D’Estruval might be one to avoid. In fact, only three horses have won at a single figure price in the last ten runnings. All three returned at 15/2.
Timmy Murphy has been aboard two of the last three winners of this prize and he rides the likely favourite.
Robin van Persie finally ended his goal drought in a straightforward 2-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium that edged Manchester United closer to a 20th league title. Sir Alex Ferguson now needs just seven points from six remaining games and another three can come at West Ham United on Wednesday night.
There were just two bookings in United’s clash with Stoke and that is a trend seen when they have faced West Ham in recent seasons. Those playing the bookings market may have seen that there hasn’t been a dismissal in United’s previous ten meetings with the Hammers.
The highest bookings total is 30 points and there have been three occasions where only one card has been shown in that ten game run. Since the start of the 2008/09 campaign the average bookings total in West Ham v Man United games stands at 21 points.
Manchester United have won eight and lost none of nine previous Premier League games against Stoke and have not lost to them in the league since December 1984.
With the form Stoke are in now and with United needing to pick themselves up after a derby defeat to Manchester City on Monday, this could be painful for the Potters.
Stoke have only scored twice in their last six league games combined, and one of those came from the penalty spot. They have lost seven of their last ten – only tasting victory against basement boys Reading – and have found themselves dragged into the relegation battle.
United have scoring problems of their own with Robin van Persie now failing to net in 685 minutes of football for the Red Devils. He does, however, boast seven goals from just six games against Stoke and found the net in the reverse fixture back in October. That was a 4-2 win for United.
Mexican forward Javier Hernandez has scored four goals in just four Premier League starts against the Potters.
United will set the record for longest unbeaten run on the road this season if they avoid defeat at the Britannia on Sunday. They have won six and drawn two of their last eight away from Old Trafford.
Only Norwich, Sunderland and Aston Villa have managed fewer goals at home than Stoke’s 19. That’s an average of just 1.18 per game. United are averaging 2.06 goals on the road this term.
The world number one hasn't won the The Masters in 10 years. There have been abject performances from Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer in recent years. Tiger Woods was the last world number one to win the Augusta showpiece.
It's seven years since Woods donned the green jacket and he hasn't won a major in nearly five.
But he is joint-second in the all-time Masters list with four victories. Only Jack Nicklaus with six has more.
Putting has been the key for Woods this year and he'll looking to be as ruthless here as he's been everywhere else. He's top of the PGA putting rankings this year.
However, he is 145th on the driving accuracy rankings and, with the emphasis at Augusta on driving, he could be left in the shade by some of the other big hitters like Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley.