Charlie Nicholas has taken a look at today’s match between Watford and Newcastle.
The former Arsenal and Celtic player suggests that Newcastle won’t be making this game a priority, contrary to Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Steve McClaren’s comments in the past about throwing everything at the cups.
However, Charlie Nicholas says that he understands if Newcastle approach this particular game with a weakened team, considering the mess they find themselves in, in the Premier League.
On the other hand he sees this as a great opportunity for Watford to build on their league form so far and use the FA Cup to make further progress with their team/squad.
While Nicholas sees Newcastle fielding a much weakened team, on the other hand he expects Flores to do the opposite.
Interestingly, this is in contrast to the pre-match utterances of the two managers/head coaches.
Watford boss Flores has already said he will make a number of changes, whilst McClaren claims he will play his ‘strongest strongest’ team. Though his get out clause was to add that there are ‘one or two’ players who have ‘niggles’ and might need to be looked after.
The reality is that both managers will almost certainly make a handful of changes and a lot could decide on which club proves to have the stronger squad and strength in depth.
Judging by Steve McClaren’s refusal to make any changes unless forced over the festive period, despite earlier claiming he would be using his full squad in the flurry of games over Christmas/New Year, it doesn’t suggest the United Head Coach has the greatest faith in those outside his first eleven.
Let’s just hope they prove him wrong today.
Charlie Nicholas is one who doesn’t believe this will happen and has gone for a 2-0 win for Watford.
Charlie Nicholas talking to Sky Sports:
“Do Newcastle see this as a priority, or do they focus their attentions on stabilising themselves in the Premier League?
“Am I devaluing the FA Cup by saying that, yes I probably am but the league must be more important to them.
“For Watford, I see this as an opportunity to progress. I don’t think Quique Sanchez Flores will be tinkering around too much and can see him playing a strong side.”