After four games without a goal, Newcastle United will be intent on moving off the bottom of the Premier League table when they take on Watford, who opened their account in terms of wins last out.
There was a total lack of quality in the final third on Monday as the Magpies came badly unstuck at West Ham United, play that showed exactly why they have struggled to find the net this season. Time and again they gave the ball away as chances proved hard to come by, with right-back Darryl Janmaat the only player who managed to find himself in potential scoring positions all evening. It was a waste, considering the degree to which they dominated possession.
The supporters will put real pressure on their team to get back to form here, and will expect more from the wingers who have been so ineffective in recent weeks. Florian Thauvin and Moussa Sissoko are underperforming of late and will be relied upon to create the scoring chances here. The defence will also be in for a test, as their moment of self-destruction to concede the second at Upton Park will have only inspired Watford with confidence.
That confidence will already be there after their impressive success over previously unbeaten Swansea City last weekend, with Odion Ighalo giving a further indication that he is more than capable of making a significant impression in the top-flight, and the Nigerian’s link-up play with Troy Deeney played a key role in achieving a result that adds to what has been a very solid start to the campaign, aided by three clean sheets.
It is an even more notable achievement given the amount of new faces that came in over the summer. The most expensive of them, Etienne Capoue, has been the most effective. The former Tottenham defensive midfielder has offered fine protection to the back four, and his presence here may serve to reinforce how badly Newcastle need that kind of player. Indeed, it could make the difference here, and the Hornets will have a great chance if they can make the crowd edgy from an early stage.
Newcastle have four players missing, with Aleksandar Mitrovic suspended and Cheick Tiote, Paul Dummett and Steven Taylor all injured.
Miguel Britos completes a three-match ban for Watford, while Valon Behrami begins one of his own. Elsewhere, there could be debuts Victor Ibarbo and Oubi Oulare.
Last Meeting: In-form Newcastle claimed victory through two second half goals from Obafemi Martins. He opened the scoring four minutes after the break with a close range header, only for Hameur Bouazza to touch the ball home after Darius Henderson flicked the ball towards goal. But it was disappointment for Adrian Boothroyd’s strugglers as Martins powered a fine shot past Ben Foster after Adrian Mariappa had failed to clear.