MX23RW : Tuesday, June 15 00:14:01| >> :600:315639:315639:
Aug 31, 2019 at 3pm UK at St James' Park
Attendance: 44,157
NewcastleNewcastle United
Schar (41')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Hughes (2')

Preview: Newcastle United vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League fixture between Newcastle United and Watford.

Newcastle United play host to Watford at St James' Park on Saturday afternoon having got their Premier League campaign up and running with a 1-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur.

However, the Hornets make the trip to the North-East having suffered three successive defeats in the top flight, a sequence which has put pressure on boss Javi Gracia.

Match preview

Newcastle United's Joelinton celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates on August 25, 2019© Reuters

Having suffered back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Norwich City, Newcastle supporters would have been fearful of three consecutive setbacks ahead of their trip to North London last weekend.

However, while the Magpies did not necessarily produce an entertaining showing, they got three points on the board against the odds - a feat which can only improve Steve Bruce's standing with the fans.

Nevertheless, Newcastle must build on that result. While there was disappointment after the penalty-shootout defeat to Leicester City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, positives will be taken from holding a near full-strength Foxes to a draw in normal time.

That said, the meeting with Watford represents the first time this season that Newcastle find themselves favourites to emerge victorious, and Bruce will be aware that he is obliged to instruct his players to deliver a more ambitious and forward-thinking performance.

Gracia is someone who usually demands such an approach from his Watford squad, although their pointless return from their opening three games means that the Spaniard may be content with a point come 5pm.

While the Hornets recorded a convincing victory over Coventry City in the EFL Cup, it came off the back of Gracia making widespread changes to his team, which included first starts for Ismaila Sarr and Danny Welbeck.

Gracia must now decide how to integrate the duo into his Premier League XI - especially Sarr, given the alleged £30m transfer fee which has been paid to Rennes.

The inclusion of the Senegal international may be the shot of adrenaline which Watford need after a poor run of results, but Gracia will no doubt be concerned that seven goals have been conceded at the back in 270 minutes of Premier League football.

Newcastle United form: LLW

Watford form: LLL

Team News

Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring for Newcastle United on January 5, 2019© Reuters

Bruce has several injury concerns ahead of Saturday's fixture, with Matt Ritchie being added to the list after suffering an ankle injury against Leicester.

Allan Saint-Maximin is expected to miss out with a hamstring problem, while fellow summer arrivals Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems picked up injuries in midweek.

There is also a doubt over Joelinton's participation, although the forward could shake off a groin issue to take his place in the starting lineup.

Watford head coach Gracia will bring back a whole host of players after they were rested in midweek, including Andre Gray who opened his account for the season against West Ham United.

With Troy Deeney out of contention with a knee injury and the recent poor results, Gracia could change formation in order to accommodate Sarr being used in a wide position of a three rather than as an out-and-out midfielder.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup: Dubravka; Manquillo, Fernandez, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Atsu, Longstaff, Hayden, Almiron; Joelinton

Watford possible starting lineup: Foster; Janmaat, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure; Sarr, Gray, Deulofeu

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We say: Newcastle United 1-1 Watford

While Watford will fancy their chances of getting their first win on the board, we have to respect that Newcastle have performed well over the past week. On that basis, a hard-fought draw looks the most likely outcome, potentially with a late goal for the home side.

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