Today feels huge. We need to win and Watford are currently on a run of seven successive defeats.
The atmosphere at St James’ Park will be great and the players owe the supporters a good performance after the embarrassment of last weekend.
Below we discuss our predicted eleven.
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. Krafth played well at right-back in our last league game (1-1 draw vs Man Utd), but he’s not a LB…
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.T