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

What a difference a week makes.

It was disappointing to go out the cup on Wednesday night (although our fringe men competed well against a full strength Leicester side), however it was just this time last week that we had no hope and were dreading a hammering at Spurs.

The performance at Tottenham was outstanding and a total contrast to the one we put in at Norwich two weeks ago in just about every department.

A week on and there’s been a bit of pressure taken off Bruce’s shoulders and a slightly more positive feel around St James’ Park aftr weeks of doom and gloom. That said, it won’t take long for things to turn sour if a pointless Watford side come away with their first win of the season on Saturday.

We have reasons to be hopeful after that stunning win at Spurs and positive performance in the cup on Wednesday, but we are looking more like Steve Bruce’s black and blue army with all the injuries that are now mounting up, with several first-team players likely to miss this one.

Predicted XI

The starting line up for this one should’ve been predictable after the 1-0 win at Spurs, but we’ve picked up a few key injuries and untimely knocks since then.

Ritchie is out for two months, Saint-Maximin is set to miss ‘3-5’ weeks and the involvement of Willems (hamstring), Krafth (thigh) and Almiron (ankle) will be dependent on how they come through training today according to Steve Bruce.

If all of Ritchie, Willems and Krafth miss out, we could see Paul Dummett play at left wing-back, with Manquillo seeming nailed on down the right-hand side?

Moving Dummett out to wing-back would be far from ideal, but Federico Fernandez was outstanding against Leicester so looks more than capable of filling the gap he’d leave at centre-back. That said, if Willems is deemed fit enough to start – and I think he’ll make it after he was spotted training on Friday – then I full expect the back three to remain the same, with the Dutchman coming in for Ritchie at left wing-back.

Elsewhere, Hayden and Longstaff seem nailed on to continue their two-man partnership that worked so well at Spurs, while Atsu and Joelinton will be looking to build on their positive performances last weekend in attack. Hopefully Almiron pulls through, or we could be forced into playing Muto out wide or a formation change.

Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Dummett – Manquillo, Hayden, Longstaff, Willems – Almiron, Atsu – Joelinton.

The Opposition

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

Gerard Deulofeu – The Spanish winger is a bit of an enigma. He’s unplayable on his day but sometimes goes missing and can look a little lazy / selfish in his work on and off the ball. Hopefully we see the Deulofeu that fizzled out at Everton and not the player that made Barcelona resign him 2 years ago.

Abdoulaye Doucoure – One of the best midfielders outside the top 6 and a player Everton were bidding £40m to sign over the summer. He’s got an impressive engine and breaks forward well. Hayden and Longstaff will need to be on their game to win the midfield battle.

Will Hughes – The former Derby man seems to play in more of an attacking role from the right-hand side these days, despite being a central midfielder for the vast majority of his career before Watford. He’ll drift in and make some good forward runs into the box, so he’s one we’ll have to keep an eye on.

Ismalia Sarr – The Senegalese winger became their club record signing over the summer and is a serious talent. He started and scored in their 3-0 cup win in midweek and could feature in this one. He’ll be one to watch, with his blistering pace and dribbling devastating on his day.

Predicted Watford XI – (4-4-2): Foster – Janmaat, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas – Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra – Deulofeu, Gray.

Team news

Joelinton is fit, but Matt Ritchie has been ruled out for TWO months with ankle ligament damage, Saint-Maximin will be missing for ‘3-5 weeks’ with a grade 1 hamstring tear and Miguel Almiron (ankle), Jetro Willems (hamstring) and Emil Krafth (thigh) will face late fitness tests.

Andy Carroll (ankle), Dwight Gayle (calf), DeAndre Yedlin (aroin), and Florian Lejeune (ACL) will all miss out once again, but the American is back in training and edging closer.

For Watford, club captain Troy Deeney has been ruled out after knee surgery.

£30m man Ismalia Sarr and Daryl Janmaat are pushing for starts after impressing in their 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Coventry in midweek.


Watford have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 19 games – and that came against League One side Coventry in the cup.

They’ve started the new league season with three straight defeats and manager Javi Gracia is under real pressure to get a result here, so it’s vital we get at them from the off and put in the same shift we did in that win over Spurs last weekend.

A win would be huge and could turn what had seemed a nightmare start into a positive one four games in, but we must not underestimate this talented Watford side desperate for their first 3 points of the season.

Heart says 2-1 Newcastle, but my head tells me 1-1.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Watford

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & 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.

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

  1. That’s not a bad team Olly. We are lucky that the international break can help some of our players to heal.

    Normally, I wouldn’t play Almiron or Joelinton with knocks but they have time to heal with the international break.

    It is better than sending Miggy to Paraguay to get injured.


  2. That’s the team I would pick Olly but I’m still wary that Bruce will want Shelvey in at home in an attempt at dominating the game. He shouldn’t but might. Watford are a lot stronger than their current form suggests. An early goal either way might decide it.


  3. This is a great opportunity to essentially have had a really good start to the season. That’s probably a good reason why we won’t win. We don’t like doing things simply.

    On another note, my little bird tells me the club are looking at building the new training centre again. Talk is they have a budget and provided we stay up would want it done next year with planning getting done by Christmas…


  4. Suppose much depends on injuries and their effects today. What should of been a more comfortable game than spurs is now another battle in waiting because we’re so depleted in personnel.
    My main concern is we don’t rush anyone back and not see more injuries, it’s frustrating that we are back to being top of the injury league again, i’d thought we’d sorted all that out.

    All things considered a draw with what is usually a good side, current form excepted, would be ok.


  5. Stuart – do you know where this new training centre is to be built ?
    The current site has newly built housing estates on either side so I would not be surprised if Ashley was going to sell this site for housing and build a new training centre outside the city limits.


  6. Same place as last planning which I believe was same site as current one. Planning permission is a formality apparently.


  7. Saw a surprising stat on BT Sport build up show this morning. They were talking about the issues with Spurs and had a league table of the last 15 games – they’d be third bottom, but we would be 8th.


  8. I think we have to be fair to Krafth and give him a bit of time. He’s only played 2 games so far and everyone was awful against Norwich.
    I thought he was better against Spurs, but he’s still bedding in.


  9. There’s a lot of players in that line up carrying knocks, and Watford are a very physical side.

    I think our back 3 can keep them out today. I’d love an Almiron goal, just to get him off the mark before the break.

    It’s mad when you are going into more hoping for no long term injuries over the result itself.


  10. I have no idea why the Chinese still use symbols. They know there is an alphabet, right. Yes they do. Fun 88.

    And eating soup with chopsticks? Spoons.


  11. Kim – Ive had a fiver on Almiron to score on each of the games so far this season – he’s costing me a fortune – maybe I’m jinxing him 🤔


  12. As soon as the sky lads said a toon win for 3 of em and a draw for the other i knew we was jinxed. They are the kiss of death .


  13. Well for most of that half it was Norwich all over again… great strike by Schär though…

    We look poor again. Really need to get our s.hit together in the second half 🤬


  14. Are the Chronicle contractually obligated to employ idiots? Little Chrissey Waugh leaves and now they have Kieran Kelly!!! I just read his summary of the first half and he said we were shyte. Watford were worse FFS.


  15. Eric Sykes:
    Are the Chronicle contractually obligated to employ idiots? Little Chrissey Waugh leaves and now they have Kieran Kelly!!! I just read his summary of the first half and he said we were shyte. Watford were worse FFS.

    It still could have been true. We could have been ****e but Watford just ****er


  16. Kim – yeah I’ve questioned Atsu for some time now, but I can see why we’ve stuck with him based on his performances in the last 2 games.

    It’s the same story for Almiron though. He has to get his head up and play more intelligently than does. I’d love for him to score, but he’s a player who should have far more assists than he does.


  17. All over
    better second half, should of won really, Amiron has to improve for me.
    Atsu motm
    points better than nowt


  18. Stuart: I didn’t think it was that bad of a game. A bit boring, with few shots on target. But I have seen a lot worse.


  19. Well that was crap. At least we didn’t lose, but we should’ve won that easily. Watford were rubbish but so were we… disappointed…


  20. Watford are a decent team who have started this season slowly.

    I think our performance over the 90 mins was decent enough and I’d have taken a draw after going 0-1 down after 2mins – I feared Norwich all over again for a while there like.


  21. If you asked me when the fixtures were announced if I would take 4 points from the 1st 4 games I would have said yes. Bruce had to settle in. 6 new players. Rondon and Perez gone. 24 goals gone.

    I would have taken this start.

    Rafa, 3 points from the 1st 30 last year and we played shyte football. Everybody on Eds still love him though.


  22. To tell the truth I was thinking 1 point at Norwich would be what we got. I was doing a bit of a Stuart and thinking the worst.

    Although he did do that bet at 66 to 1 so there is some positivity there. He’s also a nice guy.


  23. Atsu has definitely been a big positive for me in the last 2 games, and I think Krafth was better today as well – whether he’s better than Manquillo is a different conversation – but I do think his performances are improving.


  24. Eric, i like Almiron but find him frustrating to watch at the moment, he works so hard and runs all day but there is zero end product which concerns me.
    He really needs to get a goal, just cannot fathom it as was prolific in the US .


  25. Kimtoon: I think Almiron will turn it around. He was the best player in MLS even with the old age pensioners like Gerrard who couldn’t cut it here. or Pirlo!


  26. KIMTOON:
    Eric, i like Almiron but find him frustrating to watch at the moment, he works so hard and runs all day but there is zero end product which concerns me.
    He really needs to get a goal, just cannot fathom it as was prolific in the US .

    Kim – Almiron not scoring is a concern, but his lack of assists is more worrying for me.
    He’s not a centre forward, so I wouldn’t expect him scoring regularly – maybe 1 in 5 or 6 in terms of goals for him.
    But I’d be wanting a player of his quality to creating chances and providing assists far more regularly than he is.

    I always found HBA frustrating in a similar way, but have to say, Almiron is surpassing him big time at the moment.


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