Watford (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & prediction

To say this game is absolutely massive would be an understatement.

I sometimes think the phrase ‘must-win’ is overused in football, yet this feels like one that could really make or break our survival bid. It’s a relegation six-pointer if I ever saw one.

Win and we’ll be out of the relegation zone at Watford’s expense and in a better position to attract new signings over the coming weeks, but lose and we’ll have on a real mountain to climb; not only to get out of the bottom three but also to attract quality players to join our fight for survival.

The good news is that new signings Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood look set to be fit and available to start following their arrivals from Atletico Madrid and Burnley, respectively.

Both will add proven ability at Premier League level, invaluable experience, leadership and hopefully give those around them the boost we so badly need after that humiliating FA Cup defeat to Cambridge last weekend.

As for Watford, they’ve lost seven games on the spin – the longest losing streak in any of Europe’s top five leagues – and have failed to keep a clean sheet all season.

They have, however, lost just ONE of their last 11 meetings with Newcastle United, so we’ll have to hope (and pray!) recent history hasn’t repeated itself come 5pm on Saturday as we all spill out of St James’ Park.

Team news

Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood could make their Premier League debuts for the club, however it looks like this one may come too soon for Jamal Lewis and Paul Dummett, with Howe also confirming that there’s still a few Covid cases at the club.

Callum Wilson remains out with a calf injury, with Isaac Hayden also ruled out after knee surgery and Federico Fernandez expected to miss out once again.

Emmanuel Dennis, Ben Foster, Kiko Femenía and Christian Kabasele are all in contention after returning to training. New signings Hassane Kamara, Edo Kayembe and Samir are also in contention for the trip to St James’ Park.

Predicted line ups

Martin Dubravka – There are some doubts about his fitness, as he has struggled with a toe injury. Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow haven’t been seen in training pictures, which means we need our number one to be fit. He has made some mistakes, but we need him this weekend. 

Kieran Trippier – The new signing will be one of the first names on the team sheet for the rest of the season. He played well last weekend and we need him to remain at that consistent level for the rest of the campaign. His delivery from set pieces will be key this weekend.

Jamaal Lascelles – The captain has been seen in training pictures, so he is fit to start. We don’t have many centre backs available and we have failed to sign one. Lascelles needs to play well on Saturday.

Fabian Schar – There is a doubt about his availability, but if he is fit, he should start. Eddie Howe likes him. His on-ball ability will be important in building attacks for us.

Matt Ritchie – Due to Manquillo’s suspension and the injuries to our two left backs, it is likely Matt Ritchie will be asked to play left back again. That could prove to be a real problem if he is targeted by Emmanuel Dennis.

Ryan Fraser – After signing Chris Wood, it makes no sense not to start Ryan Fraser. He is one of the best crossers in the squad and he has been improving under Howe. This is a great opportunity for him to start delivering in the final third.

Sean Longstaff – Last weekend was disappointing for Longstaff, but he is likely to start on Saturday. Isaac Hayden’s injury and Joe Willock’s poor form means that he is the best option to partner Shelvey.

Jonjo Shelvey – Heis one of Eddie Howe’s favourites. It is likely that we will have more of the ball than Watford and he has the quality to get our attacking players the ball quickly. That could be important tomorrow.

Allan Saint-Maximin – This is a game where we need Saint-Maximin to show up and deliver. He has been poor in recent weeks and some have questioned his commitment. Despite this, he is still our more dangerous attacking player.

 Joelinton – Joelinton could start in a fluid role on Saturday. He will likely be named as a partner for Chris Wood in attack, but he will have the license to drop into midfield when required. 

Chris Wood – Despite picking up a knock for Burnley last weekend, he has been in training since joining the club. We need him to hit the ground running on Saturday. His physical presence should really help us against Watford.

Watford XI (4-3-3): Foster – Femenia, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara – Kayembe, Sissoko, Cleverley – Dennis, King, Joao Pedro.

Match prediction

I’m nervous about this one – it’s impossible not to be for such a huge game – but I also believe we have the momentum against a Watford side who’ve been in free fall.

Starting well could be key to the crowd from getting edgy, however I think we just might on the back of two new signings likely to give us an immediate boost.

Wood to bully their feeble back four, Trippier to back an assist and Eddie Howe’s Mags to come away with the all important three points!

Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Watford


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!

72 thoughts on “Watford (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & prediction

  1. I think Miggy has lost some confidence and nothing seems to come off for him at the moment. Even when he hits a perfect shot into the top corner the goalie pulls off a world class save. Fraser is more direct than Miggy and whips in some crosses. I think Miggy will start on the bench and it will be a toss-up between Fraser and Murphy who are both in better form.

    With a target man like Wood we need to get in early crosses and I dont want to see Miggy and ASM start togther as they faff around on the ball too much and run down blind alleys. They will pull off some good moves but I just dont see a reason to start them together. Replace ASM with Miggy on 70 mins when Allan indicates he has had enough and feigns an injury.


  2. Should also mention the away game where we played perhaps our best football of the season. Even the Watford fans say we should have won that. I know it doesnt always work where you play a teama second time, but if anything Watford have got worse as evidenced by the 7 straight defeats.


  3. This is a strange one. The Mirror say Aubamayang got Covid whilst “partying” in Dubai. I think that seals his fate with Arteta. It also said he has “heart lesions” linked with Covid. I have no idea what they are. Then in the next breath they say he has been back in training for 2 days but is still feeling the effects of Covid.

    I was willing to take a gamble on him but now I am not so sure. He has just bought his own ticket out of Arsenal if there was any doubt that Arteta would continue to freeze him out.

    Not sure if I want a player this reckless. He is not stupid either, he speaks 5 languages. He is risking his career as I dont think many will want to loan him and Arteta will probably put him in the reserves now or even just send him home.



  4. There are a million NUFC podcasts/youtube channels out there now. They seem to be breeding like rabbits. I cant really say I dislike any of them, they all seem commited fans with a smattering of knowledge. But having watched a few, there is this myth out there that they all repeat – that NUFC are not bothered about skill, all they want is someone who tries and gives his all for the shirt – ABSOLUTE BOLLOCKS. Do you want some current examples?

    Ritchie – gives his all every game but is not quick enough for a winger and is never a left back. We all want him dropped.

    Sean Longstaff – I dont doubt his commitment and effort but we want him dropped and/or sold as well.

    Emil Kraft – has never been good enough, but he also tries hard. There are groans when he is on the teamsheet.

    Keiran Clark – no doubt that he tries as well but he is not a PL player and again there are groans if he is on the teamsheet.

    As I said it is a total myth that all NUFC fans want is someone that plays for the shirt. I started going to SJP when I was 10 which is over 40 years ago. There were always players that got stick and usually they tried very hard but were just not good enough. I used to go to the Leazes when it had the roof and there werent assigned seats – it was standing. I would be in different parts of the terrace from week to week. Wherever I stood there would be someone moaning about some player or other.

    You cant satisfy some people but these were different folk as I stood in different parts of the Leazes. It is just total rubbish that NUFC fans are satisfied with an underperformer or uskilled player as long as they try hard.

    I could probably name 100 over the years if pressed who got stick even though they tried hard.


  5. Nobody tried any harder than Ayoze Perez and he was booed off often. Remember his goal celebration ended up him sticking his fingers in his ears.


  6. So apparently we are now linked with LB Robin Gosens of Atalanta,currently injured, lads done his hammy twice but we are supposed to be very keen to bring him in this month. Hmm, don’t understand this one, Dummett is fine their and it would be 2 LB’s who are injury prone.


  7. Reports we’ve agreed terms with German winger Gosens from Altalanta – totally new name out the blue that one. Can’t say I know much about him either if I’m honest.
    But we need creative and goals from midfield – I don’t think Miggy, Murphy or Fraser is good enough in that respect – though they do put the effort in.


  8. Don’t know how I feel about today – nervous as sh!t is probably the closest I could say.
    I’m pleased it’s a home fixture – I think that’s a big bonus.

    They have some good players up front, so our CBs are going to have to be on form today.

    I fancy Wood to score on his debut if Trippier puts some decent balls into the box.

    I think we will score, it’s just whether we can out score them 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


  9. Big game for Dummett to return in, but he’s a good defender & I think it will be closer to 3 at the back with Dummett, Lascelles & Schar and trippier getting up and down.

    Come on boys, let’s have a win PLEASE 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


  10. Dummett in, but so is Longstaff. Dont know how I feel about that as I would still rather have Willock even though he hasnt done anything this season, yet!


  11. It is the featured 3pm game here in the US so you lot in the UK should be able to get a dodgy stream of it somewhere on the internet.


  12. Eric+Sykes:
    Dummett in, but so is Longstaff. Dont know how I feel about that as I would still rather have Willock even though he hasnt done anything this season, yet!

    agree 100%,at leastw illlock gets into the box


  13. Lascelles should not be captain imo. He can’t organise the back 4 let alone the team. A few times now they’ve got through just through poor positioning of our defenders.

    Shelveys a t!t as well – yellow so early in the game gives their midfield an advantage.


  14. Longstaff is a headless chicken in our midfield – lots of running but zero physical presence at all.


  15. Sharpy agree on Lascelles, he is poor this season, long covid possibly but it doesn’t excuse poor organisation and positioning . He copes well against teams like Burnley but anyone with a bit of flair and he gets pulled all over the place and ends up giving us massive problems.

    Oh Wood, chance


  16. Poor finishing again and ASM trying to do it all again and inevitably losing it and our chance gone, needs to pass it sooner.
    Joe has been good


  17. We probably had the better of the half. Joe doing well and unlucky.

    Now Rafa is in trouble. All his worshippers on Eds will probably want him back at NUFC when he gets sacked. Seems like a matter of time. But can he take Longstaff first before he gets the push 🙂


  18. God I love that boy!!! Hope he’s not injured here 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼.

    Joe teed him up for Sissoko to wipe out there like 🤦🏼‍♂️


  19. This is so effin stressful, hate going through the season feeling like this every game.
    Lascelles is a liability, just got away with a push there .


  20. Where’s the composure we had v Manure, this team so frustrating man.
    We are getting deeper and deeper here, offering them chances and they will score if we carry on like this.
    C’mon lads we are out the bottom 3 lets keep it that way.


  21. Watford the better side at the moment, we need to create something here or they will score I can feel it.


  22. The game showed us what we need desperately. A central mid and centre half. I think Lascelles had another shocker. He made a few mistakes and didnt even jump for their goal.


  23. We’ve give 20 odd points away from a winning position – we deserve to go down!!!.

    Sick and tired of watching this now. No composure, p!SS poor CBs & unless it’s ASM or Wilson we have zero goal threat.

    Bored of this sh!te now!!.

    We know we need CBs – Lascelles is one of the worse in the league imo – AND HES OUR FUCKING CAPTAIN!!!!.

    More p!ssing about by our new owners – more dragging their damn heels!!. Half way through the window & we have Trippier & Wood – NOT GOOD ENOUGH.


  24. If the blue bindippers go to his house to protest you would hope they will not go to his neighbours like the last time.


  25. Howe got the substitution wrong as well I’m afraid – player & timing.

    They were all over us a good 10 mins before they scored. It should have been Lewis one & go to a 3 at the back coz Lascelles was getting ran ragged.


  26. Gilly Toon:
    Shocker from Lascelles. We are down… 🤬🤬🤬🤬

    Gilly – they’ve known we needed CB upgrades from the get go. We are supposedly mega rich – why are we p!ssing about with failed bids???.
    If that’s the CB we want go and bloody get him – coz I never wanna see Lascelles in the shirt again!!.

    I thought Trippier & Dummett did well today but the CBs are awful.

    These owners drag their heels on everything!!.


  27. I thought Jonjo had a bad game and gave the ball away too much. Longstaff was getting into the box in the 1st half and then was invisible in the second half.

    Chris Wood was just about OK, I would give him a 5 or 6 out of 10.


  28. Lascelles was perfectly placed to head that ball away for their goal but his feet were stuck to the ground allowing the Watford scorer to head it is form about 6 inches behind him. WTF was that about? Just terrible defending – if you get there, then finish the job. He cost us the game.


  29. We have to be aware other teams will fleece us blind on transfers but we just cannot afford to not get new centre backs. All our options at CB are dreadful and Lascelles is the worst of the lot. Pay the fu.ck whatever is requested and buy some Goddamn decent defenders 🤬🤬🤬🤬


  30. Gilly: we had 2 players who had shockers today:

    Jonjo was a total liability but has generally played well under Howe

    Lascelles has been shyte all season and that NON-jump for their goal says it all.

    Longstaff wasnt good but we know he is not a PL player so that was expected.

    All 3 need replacing this week. With Jonjo, we need the option to take him off if he is having one of his bad games.

    The only good things about this game were Dummett and the fact that they have finally realised Shelvey cannot hit a dead ball. I have been saying it for years on here.


  31. I dont know what game Ryder was watching but in his ratings he gave Lashelles a 6. He was a 3 at best. He gave Shelvey a 5. He was a 2. And Longstaff a 6. A 4 at best, where did he go in the 2nd half?

    I have gone easy on Wor Lee recently, but he really doesnt know a lot about football, does he!


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