Watford and Newcastle look to recover after festive defeats


Watford host Newcastle United at Vicarage Road as both sides look to bounce back from Boxing Day defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. There are five places separating the two sides in the league table, Watford in tenth and the Magpies down in 15th, just five points clear of the relegation zone.

The Hornets edge the head-to-head battle with four wins to Newcastle’s three and had prevailed victorious four times in a row before this seasons meeting between the two sides.

Ayoze Perez’s header was enough to secure the Toon Army a valuable three points in November as Rafa Benitez’s men look to beat Watford in consecutive fixtures for the first time since 2010, back when both sides were in the Championship.

Javi Gracia’s men will be encouraged that Newcastle have lost all three away Premier League against them with striker Andre Gray netting in both fixtures last season.

Ayoze Perez’s glancing header gave Newcastle their first win of the season in November (Photo: Premier League)

“To get three points will be massive – we’ll be in a much better position in the table. But it is just as important to start 2019 well.” – Rafa Benitez speaking ahead of Newcastle’s trip to Watford (Twitter/ @NUFC)

The Spaniard is still without Ciaran Clark (ankle) and Karl Darlow (elbow) for Saturday’s fixture but does welcome Jonjo Shelvey back into the match day squad after he recovered from a thigh strain.

Gray could have been the first Watford player to score in three consecutive matches against an opponent but a leg injury is likely to rule him out whilst Sebastian Prödl (knee), Adalberto Peñaranda (foot) and Will Hughes (hip) are all likely absentees.

There is slight doubts over the fitness of Daryl Janmaat and Christian Kabasele, the latter of which injured himself in the 2-1 defeat against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Prediction: Newcastle are an unpredictable side this season and with Shelvey back in the frame they could fancy their chances against a Watford side who have won just two of their last nine, but Javi Gracia will be confident the flair of players such as Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra will prove too much for the Magpies.

Watford 2 Newcastle 1



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