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

We’ve generally been much improved since football returned, but Wednesday night’s surrender at Manchester City was unacceptable.

I can take a hammering if we try our best, have a go and are simply outplayed by a side that’s just ‘too good’ for us, however we looked beaten from the off, were casual throughout and didn’t lay a glove on them. It was a pathetic effort.

Here we face a Watford side who’ve looked pretty woeful since the restart and an ex-Mag in Nigel Pearson who’ll be desperate for a big win to steer the Hornets clear of the drop zone.

We may be mathematically safe and are now highly unlikely to secure a top 10 finish, but I hope to see a big reaction here and much improved performance.

Predicted XI

(4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose – Bentaleb, Shelvey – Lazaro, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Gayle.

As ever it’ll be Dubravka in net, but it looks to me like there’ll be two changes in defence based on Bruce’s pre-match comments.

It sounds like Lascelles is fit to return – and it’s just as well based on how we coped without him on Wednesday – meaning he should return alongside Fernandez (who had a stinker vs City) should he come through training. The skipper may have struggled in his last start vs West Ham, but his organisation skills were sorely missed a few days ago. Some continue to criticise him, but we wouldn’t have folded like that with him in the side!

Krafth appears to have picked up a knock in midweek, meaning Manquillo seems likely to start at right-back after being rested at Man City, meanwhile Rose should continue down the left, with him being one of very few who didn’t have an absolute shocker at the Etihad.

In the middle, Hayden and Sean Longstaff are probably going to miss the final few weeks of the season with hamstring injuries, so we’ll have to hope Bentaleb can play as he did in the 4-1 win at Bournemouth – not as he did in that 5-0 drubbing at City. He’s got ability and can look strong and slick when he wants to, but his performance on Wednesday was abysmal, with him constantly giving the ball away in awful areas and putting a toe into tackles he should’ve won.

He was that bad that Bruce may even be tempted to give Matty Longstaff his first Premier League start since January, however I can see him starting Shelvey (who was taken off early on Wednesday) and the Schalke loanee – the partnership that worked a treat the last time we played a 4-2-3-1 formation in a winnable game away from home (Bournemouth, 4-1).

As for the attacking trio who’ll operate behind the striker, Saint-Maximin and Almiron thankfully look like they’ll be OK to return based on Bruce’s comments in his pre-match presser. Our two best players since football returned and a duo we look completely lost without.

Then it’ll likely be between one of Lazaro, Ritchie and Joelinton for the final place. The Brazilian could move back to the wing after leading the line at City or Ritchie could keep his place after seemingly returning to full fitness, however this is surely the perfect time for Bruce to take a good look at Lazaro? He may have struggled at Man City, spending most of his time camped in his own half, but there’s surely no way we’ll be signing the talented Inter Milan loanee on a permanent deal if he’s not given a start against a Watford side there for the taking.

Up top, Gayle looks nailed on to lead the line. He was rested in midweek but has looked lively in his last two starts, bagging a goal at Bournemouth and an assist in a sharp display in our 2-2 draw with West Ham.

The Opposition

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

Ismaila Sarr – He’s struggled recently and not looked quite the same player after returning from lockdown, however he’s got bundles and pace and could give an ageing Danny Rose all sorts of problems if he’s at it. Will be interesting to see how the Spurs loanee handles him!

Craig Dawson – The former West Brom centre-back is Watford’s top scorer since football resumed, with no Hornets player having more attempts on goal following the restart – highlighting what a threat he’s been from set pieces! He lacks pace and could be got at defensively, but it seems he’s one of their biggest threats at the other end!

Troy Deeney – A real handful who doesn’t always pose the greatest goal threat but often plays a key part in bringing other Watford attackers into play. He’s struggled of late, but their captain should be bang up for this in a bid to keep his boyhood club in the top flight! It will be interesting to see who wins the physical battle if he goes head to head with Lascelles!

Team news

The good news is that Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Jamaal Lascelles could all return to the starting 11.

Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden will miss out again with hamstring injuries, Andy Carroll is a doubt and Emil Krath could also be sidelined after Bruce confirmed he picked up a knock on Wednesday.

Ciaran Clark has been ruled out for the season and the game will come too soon for Florian Lejeune, however Bruce has hinted that the Frenchman could return “next week”.

Watford have no new injury issues, however long-term absentees Gerard Deulofeu and Isaac Success will miss out, along with ex-Mag Daryl Janmaat.


If Saint-Maximin, Almiron and the skipper really are fit to return for this one, I can see us beating a Watford side who looked extremely poor against Norwich in midweek.

They won 2-1, yet looked there for the taking defensively and flat as a pancake in attack, so I can see ASM and Almiron doing damage and us looking much more solid if we respond to the hammering at Man City and have Lascelles back in the side.

Watford may well play with a bit more confidence and desire after that win in midweek gave them some much needed breathing space over the bottom three (they’re currently 4 points clear with better goal difference), however I fancy us to get back on track here with a narrow win.

Prediction: Watford 1-2 Newcastle


(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.

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

  1. That doesn’t look like a bad team Olly. I would put them up against Watford.

    Me mam said I should take up internet betting because I told her we would lose 5 nil against City 🙂


  2. Actually, I would say that is our best team except for Hayden instead of Bentaleb.


  3. Watford are fighting for their lives it will be tough, just looking at the CCC,what a hard lge Hudderfield were i the PL last yr they are now on the brink of going down to the third Div
    bloody sick of filling in details every time makes you not want to bother making comments


  4. icedog:
    Watford are fighting for their lives it will be tough, just looking at the CCC,what a hard lge Hudderfield were i the PL last yr they are now on the brink of going down to the third Div
    bloody sick of filling in details every time makes you not want to bother making comments

    Agree on both points mate, Olly is flagging it up to blog owners again so hopefully it gets sorted.
    possible loss today i fear unless the lads want to make up for city game.


  5. A friend of mine (American) watched the City game and sent me a text. It read “Bro I can play for Newcastle, OMG”. He is 49.


  6. Ryan E Maine
    It appears only remaining hold up with NUFC takeover is Man Utd’s sponsorship deal with Saudi Telecom (PIF own 70%), which PL insist must end prior to approving the takeover. Likely to end 31st July, but only on the provision PL give provisional approval on those terms.


  7. Oh well.

    Looks like my dream of West Ham and Villa both being relegated wont happen.


  8. Not trying to tempt fate, but how many England caps does Danny Welbeck have? If he played for NUFC rather than Man U he would have none. How many during his time at Watford?

    Tom Cleverley has 13 England caps FFS.


  9. Don’t think much of Danny Rose. Not fussed about signing him at 30.

    RIP Wor Jackie. Humble legend.
    Leeds’ 9th all time too scorer – and he was a CB!

    When I moved to Ireland I was memorised by the 94 World Cup. Ray Houghton’s goal in the draw with Italy was breath taking. John Aldridge going mad against Mexico. Fantastic.


  10. Sham, not fussed on Rose either. Such a shame about Jetro and his injuries, really rated him.


  11. This team really pisses me off. How they can go from free flowing zippy footy to headless chickens with no fight in such a short time span mystefies me.


  12. Kimtoon: I think that relegates Villa.

    I was torn before the game and even wanted us to lose so Villa would be fcked.


  13. How have we thrown this away, such a bright start as well.
    We have done this for so long now, never a consistent 90 mins is there .


  14. Two dodgy pens but apart from that they wanted it more than us, winning all tackles. We have too many poor players too.


  15. Really poor second half performance.

    I assume Schar in midfield is an experiment with us being safe – but it doesn’t work for me.

    I have said I would take Danny Rose on a permanent – not on today’s performance. Very lacklustre & not what you want from someone with his experience – he can go replace Chilwell at Leicester if he’s turning out performances like that.

    On a plus – every poor performance should convince the potential new owners that Bruce isn’t consistent enough to take them forward.

    We could have moved into the top half with that win – if only briefly, but that 2nd half suggested the players are happy with their lot this season.


  16. Watford have West Ham away next. A draw will keep both up, I have no doubt. It might be like that Germany/Austria World Cup game where both teams just knocked it around their back 4 because a draw got them both out of the group.

    Watford then have City and @rse so they really needed the win today.


  17. That was one of those games where I didnt really care about the result FOR US. Only for Villa and to cheer Kimtoon up 🙂

    Pity we dont play Villa as we could have had a payback banner.


  18. Olly – to clarify my position from the last post.

    It’s not personal coz I don’t personally know you or your set up with this site. What I said was those that run the site – so I was addressing you – but as part of the collective. The rest don’t bother posting or answering when we put posts up. I think you mentioned an Andy – he hasn’t fixed the problem or provided an update.

    You ask me what I want you to do when you don’t get paid for this – that is entirely up to you mate. But comments like that just strengthen my suggestion it’s only about turning profit 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    If accolades were being dished out you aren’t telling me you wouldn’t accept them coz you don’t get paid.
    Numerous people over numerous days asked the question – I don’t hold you personally responsible for this site – but you seem to be the front line. If it upsets you, get on to those who can fix it or ask them to come on and front it out.

    I would take a punt at saying that most of their hits from this site comes from us regulars. All we ask in return is that any issues are addressed – that’s not too much to ask.

    I respect the fact you’re the only one of those running the site that fronts it out, and I am grateful and like the articles you put up. However you took my comments on the previous article, I didn’t at any point hold you solely responsible – we just want to issue fixed.


  19. On Jack Charlton, really sad that he’s passed away.

    My uncle & his friend met him a few times as they are big fishermen.
    My uncle told me that they were fishing on a river one day & the weather was awful. He and his mate took their usual provision and stopped for a brew. They offered a cup to an old fella further down the banks – which happened to be Jack.

    My uncle said he was such a nice bloke and they sent a good hour sharing a brew and a few butties. They talked about him managing Ireland and obviously winning the WC. Then cracked on fishing and said goodbye at the end of it all.

    A few weeks later he was fishing the same area and there’s Jack again. He approaches my uncle to thank him for the brew again, and says here, I thought you might want to have a look at this – and hands him a WC winners medal.

    Jack outlived my uncle, but i know those couple of meeting where some of my uncles favourite memories.


  20. Nice story Sharpy. You are probably too young but Charlton had a coaching class on TV when he managed Boro. It was really interesting to see someone really coach youngsters. There was somebody called Stan something that he would have showing the younger lads what to do. Cant recall his name. Icedog would know.




    Thanks for the message Sharpy. Perhaps I did take your comments the wrong way, but when I spend hours per day writing, please rest assured that I don’t want the blog to be ruined by ads / issues with the comments etc. – I want people to be able to read the stuff I do hassle free!

    I’ve forwarded on all your comments once again so hope it’s sorted once and for all ASAP.


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