- Watford won just two of their last 13 games in all competitions.
- Newcastle lost just one of their last seven league games.
- Watford and Newcastle drew 1-1 earlier this season.
- Watford failed to win five of their last seven home matches.
Watford grab vital win
Watford gave their survival hopes a massive boost in mid-week with a potentially season-defining 2-1 victory over the league’s bottom club at Vicarage Road on Tuesday evening.
A stunning Danny Welbeck overhead kick won the game for the Hornets in the second half, and helped to open up a four-point gap between Watford in 17th and Aston Villa just below them, though Nigel Pearson’s men have played one game more than their relegation rivals.
The victory was only Watford’s second win in 12 Premier League attempts since January, with the Hornets’ two triumphs during that period coming against the division’s top (Liverpool) and bottom placed clubs.
Watford close out their campaign with tough looking back-to-back tests against Manchester City and Arsenal, which in turn places huge importance on their results from upcoming games, first against Newcastle and then West Ham.
Newcastle’s mid-week battering
Newcastle meanwhile, prepared for Saturday’s contest in the worst possible style in mid-week when they were torn to shreds by a rampant Manchester City team at the Etihad Stadium.
The Magpies were trounced 5-0 by their free-flowing hosts in what was their joint biggest defeat of the season so far, however, though Steve Bruce and his players are unlikely to see their confidence knocked too much following a game they would have expected to lose.
While Newcastle in 13th remain locked in mid-table limbo, their restart results have generally been good, and some promising displays in wins over Sheffield United and Bournemouth have allayed fears that a lack of incentives might impact performances.
United’s loss in Manchester, in fact, ended a six-match unbeaten run for the improving Magpies, though we expect them to get back on track this weekend.
Newcastle to avoid defeat
While Watford’s mid-week win over Norwich was both timely and crucial, the manner of the Hornets’ victory on Wednesday was wholly unconvincing.
The Canaries racked up 12 attempts to Watford’s nine at Vicarage Road, and enjoyed 56% of the ball against their accommodating hosts.
Watford’s narrow win over the Premier League’s worst team was also their first victory in six assignments, and the Hornets lost four of the previous five they contested before their success against Daniel Farke’s charges.
With their overall form and results still uninspiring, we think Watford could struggle to add another win to their tally against a Newcastle United outfit who were unbeaten in 10 of their 13 Premier League matches since January 11 – and with those factors considered, the Magpies look excellent value in the double chance market this weekend at the prices available.
Newcastle’s heavy defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday evening was their first loss since the restart, and in terms of overall form, the Magpies have more momentum behind them than a Watford side that took just four points from 15 since the resumption of play.
Alongside our Magpies double chance forecast, our correct score prediction points towards a 1-1 draw. Watford and Newcastle looked well matched when they drew by the same scoreline in August’s reverse fixture last year, and having drawn 10 Premier League matches each already this term, they could cancel each other out again.
In addition, modest attackers Newcastle are averaging exactly 1.0 goal per away game this season, while Watford have fared only slightly better at home in that regard, netting 1.17 times per match on average at Vicarage Road. The clubs’ respective output in the final third makes a 1-1 finish a likely outcome.
Key Battle: Etienne Capoue vs Jonjo Shelvey
31-year-old combative midfielder Etienne Capoue was in fine form in mid-week in Watford’s crucial 2-1 win over Norwich City, completing 93% of his attempted passes against the Canaries during a well-rounded display.
The Frenchman, who has committed more fouls (55) than any other Premier League player this season, is certainly fond of a challenge or two, and his head-to-head with the fiery Jonjo Shelvey on Saturday should be a compelling duel.
Shelvey has blown hot and cold for the Magpies this term, though his return of six goals for the campaign while playing in a low scoring Newcastle team is a decent return.
The 28-year-old enjoyed two impactful performances for United in games against Bournemouth and West Ham before the club’s drubbing at Man City, proving that on his day, Shelvey can be a potential match-winner.
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