Watford welcome Newcastle United to Vicarage Road this weekend, with the Hornets looking to bounce back from their Boxing Day defeat at home to Chelsea. The Magpies endured a miserable Boxing Day, travelling to Anfield for a 4-0 mauling at the hands of high-flying Liverpool. The Hornets currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League table, having acquired 27 points from their 19 games so far this season. That puts them 10 points and five places above Newcastle, who have won just one of their last five Premier League games.
One thing in Newcastle’s favour for this game is that their away record is actually slightly better than their record at home this season. The Toon have taken an average of 1.11 points per game on the road, compared to 0.7 points per game at St James’ Park. Given Watford’s recent good form, that is a pretty thin reason for optimism, though.
Watford vs Newcastle Prediction: Watford 3-1 Newcastle
Our prediction for this game is that Watford will win 3-1. The Hornets have been in good form recently, and could probably count themselves a little unfortunate to come out on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline against Chelsea at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day. The Hornets put in a combative performance that day, with Troy Deeney in particular really bullying the Chelsea defence at times. If Javi Gracia’s team show similar levels of commitment and aggression against Newcastle, the Toon could be in for very a long afternoon and a disappointing trip back to Tyneside.
Our recommended tip: Watford, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Ladbrokes, who are offering a price of 3/1 on Watford winning, and both teams scoring. This bet fits with our predicted outcome of a 3-1 home win. The Hornets looked good in their defeat to Chelsea, and are certainly a team with high morale and plenty of confidence. Newcastle do not score many goals, but we suspect that they will find the next at least once on Saturday afternoon. That goal may well come as a late consolation after Watford have gone three goals in front, though.
These two sides have played each other on nine previous occasions in the Premier League. Watford have won four of those games, Newcastle have won three and there have been two draws. The Magpies have never won a Premier League game at Vicarage Road. The last meeting between the sides was in the Premier League very recently, with Newcastle winning 1-0 at St James’ Park on November 3. Ayoze Perez struck the game’s only goal in the 65th minute of the game. That was Newcastle’s first win of the Premier League season, and lifted them out of the relegation zone.
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Players to watch: Troy Deeney & Matt Ritchie
Watford striker Troy Deeney continues to be a talismanic figure for Javi Gracia’s team. Although not the most gifted technically, Deeney is an old-fashioned centre forward who puts defenders under intense physical pressure. He is also a fans’ favourite whose aggression really gets the home crowd going at Vicarage Road. He has contributed three goals and an assist in his 16 league appearances in 2018/19, and has also hit 32 shots on goal, 16 of which have been on target.
Scotland international winger Matt Ritchie is an important player for Newcastle, given that he is capable of moments of magic that can break games open for the Magpies’ attack. Rafael Benitez is a manager for whom defensive solidity and team structure is more important than catering to flair, so creative players need to make the most of any moments which come their way. Ritchie could be an important player for the Toon on Saturday.