Watford (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

10 games in, still winless and it’s not about to get any easier to get that elusive first win of the season, with an in-form Watford side coming to town this weekend.

I don’t like the phrase ‘must-win’, but the pressure on the players, Benitez and the entire football club will only increase for every week we go without one.

What’s worrying is our opponents are enjoying their BEST ever start to a Premier League season. This coupled with the fact it’s been our WORST ever start to a league season is quite concerning to put it mildly – especially when this is a game we really do need to pick up some points from.

They’ve won two on the bounce, have pace, quality and power all over the pitch and will be coming into this one with real confidence, having collecting 19 points in their first 10 games – a mammoth return compared to the three we’ve managed all season.

I’m not painting a very positive picture, am I? In reality, it’s hard to at the minute (especially after five straight home defeats and 0 shots on target last week), however I’m hoping and praying the lads turn up, get at them from the off and give absolutely everything from start to finish.



Lascelles’ new deal should’ve been the boost we were hoping for, but his comments that followed have only caused more controversy.

It may be time to put off-field matters to one side and forget about Mike Ashley for one day. We have every right to protest, and his time will come, but, at the minute, it feels like we need three points as much as we need him out.

They’ve not given us much to shout about so far this season, but we really do need to get behind them tomorrow.

Preferred XI

As ever, here’s the team I’d like to see, followed by the side I expect Rafa to go with:

For me, Rafa has to drop Perez and bring in Rondon. Muto has shown promising signs and I believe he could be an ideal partner for Rondon up top.

Perez is offering next to nothing for me at the minute, so I’m not sure what we have to lose – especially when his unconvincing and frustrating displays have served to frustrate the St James’ Park crowd as much as anything recently.

If Rondon’s not fully fit (and I suspect he’s not) then he’ll be a late sub and Perez will start – although Rafa never seems likely to drop Perez, no matter how poor he’s playing.

In midfield, Kenedy, Diame and Ritchie were all very poor last weekend, but I’m not convinced potential replacements in Atsu, Ki and Murphy would do much better.

Ki in for Diame *might* just happen in a bid to attack Watford, but the South Korean’s defensive limitations will probably concern Rafa – especially when up against a physical, powerful and energetic Watford midfield.

In defence I don’t see anything changing and rightfully so. The back five did pretty well at Southampton last week and are not the issue here.

(4-4-1-1) – Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett – Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy – Perez – Muto. 

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in the Watford side:

Roberto Pereyra (LM):  Has been an absolute class act so far this season, with his stunning solo goal against Huddersfield being a prime example of the quality he possesses. A tough task for Yedlin awaits.

Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM): One of the best players outside the top six for me. Solid defensively, an impressive athlete and capable of getting forward and supporting attacks too. Diame will need a big performance here – which is a worry on current form.

Gerard Deulofeu (AM): Inconsistent but a very talented player who can tear any defence apart on his day. He’s poor defensively so we could get at them if he starts out wide. If he starts centrally than watch for some runs in behind – he’s quick!

Predicted Watford XI – (4-2-3-1) Foster – Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Masina – Capoue, Doucoure – Hughes, Deulofeu, Pereyra – Success. 

Team news

Aside from Ciaran Clark (ilness) and Florian Lejeune (knee), Rafa has confirmed that we have a fully fit squad to choose from going into this one.

Watford skipper Troy Deeney looks set to miss out, however talented midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is set to return for them. Ex-Mag Daryl Janmaat will sit this one out, along with Sebastian Prodl and Tom Cleverley. 

 

Match Prediction

I can see there being a few goals in this one.

Watford’s defence isn’t the best and can be got at if we put enough pressure on them, however they look razor sharp in attack and I can’t see us keeping them out.

My heart says 2-2, but I fear they’ll have too much for us – especially if we continue to look toothless up top without Rondon.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Watford

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

54 thoughts on “Watford (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. Dubravka gave the right answer when asked about Ashley even though he had the benefit of hindsight knowing what happened to Lascelles.

    I still think I am on the right side of this asking for no matchday protests a and no boycott. That isn’t for more than a month but it will build and build unless we get a win. Is it putting pressure on Mike Ashley or putting pressure on the team? Dubravka isn’t even watching TV anymore!

    Then there is twitter. I am not even on it but I see it quoted in The Chronic or Uncle Eds. It seems the lowest common denominator rules on most social media (except on here of course 🙂 ). What do they call it? A meme? Where this sort of thing takes on a life of its own. More like a virus in the case of NUFC. Fan groups getting people stoked up in a self defeating way that only hurts the team – see Dubravka’s quotes!

    I know I said this on the last thread but this is a new thread and I think it bears repeating and most people probably didn’t read my rant anyway.

    The True Faith guys overreaction to Lascelles was nothing short of pitiful. Maybe if Jamaal goes to the next fans forum they can talk it over over a pint. Would he have said it to his face? I would like to see that as Jamaal is not known for being a shrinking violet. Maybe the Fatman can join them for a curry and we can get it all sorted out in one night. That’s the problem with social media. There is no recourse

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  2. So I reckon we’re about as likely to get a win as Venessa Feltz is going to get slimmer of the world.

    Happy to stand corrected…

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  3. Good job Stuart as you get corrected all the time 🙂
    You’ll like this from last night

    “However, Newcastle did regain their advantage with a stunningly-executed goal from Sorensen – the Dane beginning the move out on the left deep into enemy territory with a short pass infield to Sean Longstaff.

    He in turn pushed the ball on to Roberts, whose sublime first-time ball picked out Sorensen as he dashed forward, supplying another deadly finish deep inside the box.”
    Roberts went on to score again.

    We could well get thumped today. This season has disaster written all over it.

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  4. back after couple of weeks in Malta seeing the boy,nowt has changed i see,i think Watfords midfield is to powerful for the toon imo

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  5. georgio:
    Good job Stuart as you get corrected all the time
    You’ll like this from last night

    “However, Newcastle did regain their advantage with a stunningly-executed goal from Sorensen – the Dane beginning the move out on the left deep into enemy territory with a short pass infield to Sean Longstaff.

    He in turn pushed the ball on to Roberts, whose sublime first-time ball picked out Sorensen as he dashed forward, supplying another deadly finish deep inside the box.”
    Roberts went on to score again.

    We could well get thumped today. This season has disaster written all over it.

    Surely some of these lads deserve to be on the bench for the first team.

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  6. Just to clarify things for Stuart – the game being referred to was the premier league 2 division 2 game last night , Man Utd under 23 v NUFC under 23 which NUFC won by 4 goals to 1.
    Some of these kids should be in the first team.

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  7. Why aren’t why in the first team? It’s either because Rafa wants us to go down so he’s not playing them or he and the other coaches don’t think they’re good enough or ready.

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  8. icedog:
    back after couple of weeks in Malta seeing the boy,nowt has changed i see,i think Watfords midfield is to powerful for the toon imo

    Agree mate, nice to see you back on too. Hope you had a nice break away at pups.

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  9. kimtoon: Agree mate, nice to see you back on too. Hope you had a nice break away at pups.

    i did mate,better news for me the bank are moving him over to Scotland Motherwell i think some new thing hes getting the bank to do for students accounts,anyway pleased to have him and kids on this side of the water

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  10. The next two games are against teams we expected to beat at home. Unfortunately for us they’re also the two form teams in the league!!!

    Expect nothing today.

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  11. icedog: i did mate,better news for me the bank are moving him over to Scotland Motherwelli think some new thing hes getting the bank to do for students accounts,anyway pleased to have him and kids on this side of the water

    Wow, that’s great news Ice, is pup happy to come home ? how long is he moved back here for , I guess he’ll miss the sunshine a lot.

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  12. kimtoon: Wow, that’s great news Ice, is pup happy to come home ? how long is he moved back here for , I guess he’ll miss the sunshine a lot.

    yes very happy its for good plus hes sick of travel (India,China ect),cost of living has shot up since Euro,weeks shopping last week over 400 without meat another 90 for that 68 a month for mobil phone,i could go its a joke now,most are on min wage they just cannot get bye its a shame

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  13. Rafa’s comments are all the same. Work hard ad keep doing the same things and it’ll get better. What was it they said about keep doing the same thing? At the moment we are and if it continues we’ll go down.

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  14. icedog: she hates the heat,loves the UK in the winter

    Really, that’s a bonus then.
    Gotta confess, the changing seasons is something I love about our country.

    I would prefer a change to the toons fortunes even more today though .

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  15. Kudos to Rafa for going Rondon and Muto up front. I’ve been critical of him this week (which I don’t regret), but he has surprised me with that move.
    Watford have been playing well lately and have good players. But on our day we can beat anyone at SJP. Rafa has asked for the fans to get behind the team – I think most there today will be pleased with that line up – if they start well, the fans will make the noise.

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  16. Agree Sharpy, lets hope those two can get us a couple of much needed goals early doors, the first 20 mins of this game will be vital imo. We have to show some intent, we have nothing to lose going for it.

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  17. What does Jabba see when he watches us? We have players that can’t pass to each other and we’re being penned in our own half by Watford! How did that happen? How have we fell so far behind the likes of Watford…

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  18. Is it that bad DT? Not showing it here. I could have gone to the pub but Liverpool are up next and it would be a mobscene at the end of our game with scousers all asking if they could have my seat. It has happened before and they don’t wait until full time.

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  19. So the Lascelles flag was still there. Maybe it was all overblown on twitter but True Faith are part of the Magpie Group and they had a very nasty article on Jamaal.

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  20. The Chronicle actually do a decent job with their written live feed commentary with in-game summaries. I think it may all be a twitter thread so twitter might be good for something after all.

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  21. Eric Sykes:
    Is it that bad DT? Not showing it here. I could have gone to the pub but Liverpool are up next and it would be a mobscene at the end of our game with scousers all asking if they could have my seat. It has happened before and they don’t wait until full time.

    It’s not pretty mate… 5 shots, only 1 on target. Watford with about 11 or 12 shots… luckily Watford have none on target. It’s like all our players are negative magnets, the ball just bounces off them randomly and ends up with a Watford player. It can only get better now that our superstar Perez has joined the affray. 😳

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  22. Murphy not on the bench. I find that strange with Atsu admitting he is struggling for fitness. Rafa going with experience but that doesn’t matter if you are crap anyway.

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  23. Just the three injuries then… I’ve also lost count of the number of clear cut and easy chances Watford have missed.

    Positive is we’re not losing.

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  24. Watching Cardiff who aren’t playing too badly but are one-note apart from Josh Murphy who is doing OK. Maybe we bought the wrong Murphy?

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  25. Funny old game. Maybe he needed a wakeup call? Anyway, at this point it doesn’t matter how we do it but it is important to hang on.

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  26. Stuart79:
    That’s Perez who’s been getting a load of stick…

    Stu – good goal but one swallow doesn’t make a summer – do it regularly and he’ll get no stick.

    But the main thing is that we have suffered 3 injuries to 3 key players – the spine of today’s side and are still winning the game – and if we walk away with a win and clean sheet it will be huge!!

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  27. Sharpy – I know he’s been below par, but he was our top scorer last season…our forwards have been piss, or the set up for them has been piss. He seems one of the few actually capable of scoring. And **** me does he score important goals, not like a Gayle who would bang three in against a beaten side.

    Watford are a proper thug side fk me

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  28. Well well, that was ****ing hard work wasn’t it.
    very very lucky apart from our injuries.
    back to earth next week against Bournemouth I suspect.

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  29. Newkie:
    Sharpy – I know he’s been below par, but he was our top scorer last season…our forwards have been piss, or the set up for them has been piss. He seems one of the few actually capable of scoring. And **** me does he score important goals, not like a Gayle who would bang three in against a beaten side.

    Watford are a proper thug side fk me

    Newkie – it’s not that I have anything against Perez, I like him actually – not his inconsistency annoys me.

    Listen I know we hung on there and probably didn’t deserve the win – but we did coz Watford couldn’t score. We had to adapt throughout the game due to injuries and really dug in. I think that’s a huge game and win and should be used to kick start our season now.
    Really well done today, and hopefully the injuries aren’t too bad 🤞🏻.

    There’s another international break soon I think so hopefully that will give them chance to get fit again.

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  30. Rafa does tend to go on runs and that is our main hope so that we stay within touching distance by Christmas. I thought we needed about 15 points to have any hope of the Fatman reaching into his pocket. So that is 10 points from the next 7 matches as I can’t see us getting anything from the Christmas fixtures. You never know though as sometimes a goalie will play out of his skin and you will get an undeserved point or even win. I remember Krul doing it once at Spurs where he had the most saves in PL history at the time.

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  31. We know this team is not good enough and is definitely bottom 5. We need all of Rafa’s organizational skills and a very large slice of luck with the odd miracle to survive. Looks like Lejeune will be back early in the new year and he has been a big miss. Will be like the clichéd new signing.

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  32. Glad the crowd got behind Lascelles because I thought the overreaction to his Ashley comment was crazy. Maybe the twitter trolls are not representative of the fanbase. I have always thought it attracted the lowest common denominator. But they yap loudest and that’s what you see when papers or blogs are looking for a story.

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  33. Great result in the end and a much better second half, although it couldn’t really be worse. Our first win, let’s hope it continues. I thought Ki did well when he came on but Diame was total s.hit..

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  34. Eric Sykes:
    Glad the crowd got behind Lascelles because I thought the overreaction to his Ashley comment was crazy. Maybe the twitter trolls are not representative of the fanbase. I have always thought it attracted the lowest common denominator. But they yap loudest and that’s what you see when papers or blogs are looking for a story.

    The reaction was pathetic coz what he said wasn’t bad. The truth is all real NUFC fans WANT things to be positive and settled. The reality is that what Ashley says and does are generally 2 very different things – he’s spoken positively before, but doesn’t back it up.
    If we could get an ambitious, productive NUFC under Ashley, with him backing Rafa and looking to get us the best we can be – I’m not sure any real NUFC fan would care a great deal.
    The trouble is, whilst Ashley may have impressed Lascelles with one nights positive chat – we’ve had 10yrs of nonsense from him. I don’t mind Lascelles comments, but I for one will remain doubtful until Ashley’s actions speak louder than his words.

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