Revealed! The real impact of international breaks on Newcastle United and Sunderland

St James's Park, home of Newcastle United.St James's Park, home of Newcastle United.
St James's Park, home of Newcastle United.
The international break comes around three times a season, with the best and most in-form players called up for their country.

Newcastle United and Sunderland both have a number of players who represent their country, however how do both teams fare after the break?

Is the break seen as a blessing in disguise or is it seen as a distraction?

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Looking back at the past three years, we look at what impact each break has had on the North East’s Big Two.

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.


The Black Cats have enjoyed a solid start to their 2020-21 League One campaign. After a tough first four fixtures, playing the likes of Peterborough United and Oxford United, Phil Parkinson’s side are fourth in League One having picked up eight points from a possible 12.

What do the stats say about their post-international break results over the last three years?

2017-18 season:

The first international break of the 2017-18 season came in October. Going into the international break Sunderland had lost two and drawn one of their previous three games.

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They slightly improved after the break, drawing two and losing one. Before the November break, Sunderland had lost two and drawn one. This improved after the break, as they won one, drew one and lost one.

Sunderland had changed manager just after the break, with Chris Coleman replacing Simon Grayson, suggesting this could have helped improve results. Before the March international break, the Black Cats had lost their previous three games.

Results improved slightly after the break, as they picked up one win, one draw and a loss however overall the 2017-18 campaign was a disaster for Sunderland, as they were relegated to League One.

2018-19 Season:

Sunderland’s first season in League One came under new ownership in Stewart Donald, who gave Jack Ross the task of winning promotion back to the Championship.

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Before the October break, the Black Cats had picked up two draws against Coventry City and Peterborough, before beating Bradford City.

Their form dramatically improved after the break, as they won their next three games, keeping three clean sheets in the process.

November saw Sunderland win two and draw one before the international break. They repeated this feat after the break, as they drew before winning two on the spin.

Before the March break, Sunderland had drawn two and won one of their previous three.

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They faced a trip to Wembley against Portsmouth just after the break, which they eventually lost on penalties.

They responded by winning their next two games. Jack Ross’ first and only full season in charge resulted in a stoppage time defeat against Charlton Athletic in the play-off final.

2019-20 season:

Leading up to the October break, Sunderland had won one, drawn one and lost one, which resulted in Jack Ross’ sacking.

Phil Parkinson was brought in during the break to replace him, with his first three games resulting in two losses and a win.

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Results after the November break didn’t improve as Sunderland lost two and drew one.

Finally, after a difficult start, Parkinson guided Sunderland to seventh in League One, before the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Sunderland missing out on the play-offs under the controversial points-per-game formula.

Sunderland’s following three results after the international break in October, November and March over the last three years:

2017/18 Championship Season


Sunderland 1-1 Queens Park Rangers – Draw

Brentford 3-3 Sunderland – Draw

Sunderland 1-2 Bristol City – Loss


Sunderland 2-2 Millwall – Draw

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland – Loss

Burton Albion 0-2 Sunderland – Win


Derby County 1-4 Sunderland – Win

Sunderland 1-3 Sheffield Wednesday – Loss

Leeds United 1-1 Sunderland – Draw

2018/19 League One Season


Shrewsbury Town 0-2 Sunderland – Win

Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Sunderland – Win

Sunderland 3-0 Southend United – Win


Walsall 2-2 Sunderland – Draw

Sunderland 4-2 Barnsley – Win

Sunderland 2-1 Bristol Rovers – Win


Portsmouth 2-2 aet (5-4 pen) Sunderland – Lost on penalties in Checkatrade Trophy Final

Accrington Stanley 0-3 Sunderland – Win

Rochdale 1-2 Sunderland – Win

2019/20 League One Season


Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Sunderland – Loss

Sunderland 5-0 Tranmere Rovers – Win

Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Sunderland


Sunderland 1-1 Coventry City – Draw

Sunderland 1-2 Burton Albion – Loss

Gillingham 1-0 Sunderland – Loss


Season curtailed due to coronavirus pandemic.

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Overall, Sunderland have won 41.7% of their games after the international break.

Most of these wins came in League One, which will give Phil Parkinson hope going into the next three.

Sunderland have won 44.4% of their next three games after the October break over the past three years.

All four wins after the October break came in League One, which is another encouraging sign for Phil Parkinson’s squad.

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The Black Cats face newly promoted Swindon Town and Crewe Alexandra, before facing promotion rivals Portsmouth.

Two wins at the minimum will be enough for Sunderland, as they look to close the gap on first placed Lincoln City.

Newcastle United

Newcastle’s good start to the 2020-21 Premier League season couldn’t have come at a better time for the club.

Newcastle United have won two of their first four games and will host a struggling Manchester United side after the international break.

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In previous seasons Newcastle United have strung together some good performances post international break in the month of October, wins against fellow strugglers and important points against teams in the top half of the table, but what do the stats say?

For the period between the two international breaks Newcastle have a 42% win rate on average looking back at the previous three seasons, that's higher than the previous two seasons together at 30%, meaning Newcastle United find a third of their season wins during this period.

Newcastle fans will be hoping this trend continues to apply, with tough fixtures including an away game to Wolves and a home game to a top six challenging Everton side with a 100% win rate so this season.

Newcastle United’s results after International breaks



0-1 loss against Chelsea Away

1-1 draw with Wolves Home

3-2 win against West Ham Away

2-1 win against Bournemouth Home


0-1 loss against Brighton Home

0-0 draw with Southampton Away

1-0 win against Watford Home

2-1 win against Bournemouth Home


2-2 draw with Southampton Away

1-0 win against Crystal Palace Home

0-1 loss against Burnley Away

0-1 loss against Bournemouth Home



0-2 loss against Aston Villa Away

2-2 draw with Man City Home

2-0 win against Sheffield United Away

2-1 win against Southampton Home


2-1 win against Burnley Away

0-3 loss against West Ham Home

1-1 draw with Everton Away

1-2 loss against Wolves Home


1-4 loss against Man United Away

0-3 loss against Watford Home

2-2 draw with West Brom Away

2-3 loss against Leicester City Home

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