Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Saturday’s match at St James Park.
Newcastle in 11th position facing Watford in 8th, a win for the Magpies would take them to 17 points, one behind the visitors.
If they are to do that then Newcastle need to deal with a Watford side which is built to attack, Marco Silva putting together a very entertaining team which both scores (19) and concedes (21) goals.
All six Premier League away games have seen Watford score twice but they come up against a Newcastle team that haven’t conceded twice at home, apart from when reduced to 10 men against Spurs.
Lawrenson predicts Newcastle will get the better of the visitors on that stat but still not win, the BBC Sport pundit predicting a 1-1 draw.
He believes that Rafa will be desperate to avoid a fourth defeat in a row and indicates maybe a more defensive set-up than Rafa has gone with in the last two games.
At Old Trafford, Newcastle played very well for the first 30/35 minutes and led 1-0, looking pretty comfortable, only for two goals late in that first half to undo the good work.
Rather strangely, Mark Lawrenson believes the mistake Newcastle made ‘was probably taking the lead’.
I think giving Man Utd the time and freedom to create and score four goals was more of a problem…
Watford are good to watch but before bouncing back with a win at home to West Ham last Sunday, they had lost three in a row themselves.
Leading at Chelsea with 19 minutes to go they collapsed to lose 4-2, then lost 1-0 at home to Stoke, before leading 2-0 at Goodison only to collapse again and lose 3-2.
The Hornets have talent going forward but definitely can be beaten, though for that to happen you have to feel Newcastle have to probably score at least two goals, something they have done only once (2-2 at Southampton) in the 10 weeks since beating Stoke 2-1 at home.
A lot rests on Dwight Gayle for me, who is now looking fully fit and capable of doing it in the top tier.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“I was very impressed by Watford after watching them beat West Ham.
“The Hornets use the ball well, especially down the flanks, and they have plenty of ideas when they come forward.
“Newcastle’s mistake against Manchester United was probably taking the lead.
“They did create another very good chance when they were 1-0 up, but Jacob Murphy missed it, and they were well beaten in the end.
“That made it three defeats on the spin for the Magpies, and I do not think their manager Rafael Benitez will want to risk a fourth.
“I am expecting this game to be very tight, and the points to be shared.
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