Fair to say Watford were a bit bemused on Saturday night when they exited St James Park.
Not only did they fail to get the game won by half-time after totally dominating and creating chance after chance, they then somehow ended up then losing the game and taking not even a point back to Vicarage Road.
The official Watford website has now been examining exactly what went wrong, Kevin Affleck coming up with some very interesting points.
Watford had an impressive 16 shots, which is very decent as an away team, but even more so when you take into account that 14 of those were inside the box. The shots figure often misleading when lots of them are aimless hit and hope efforts from way out.
The Watford writer talking about sitting near Supermac and just how frustrated the NUFC legend was with that first half shocker.
He points out: ‘Watford had four fewer attempts on goal in this fixture last season, less possession and fewer corners, yet ran out 3-0 winners that day. Work that one out.’
In summing up though, Kevin Affleck comes out with some real positives for Newcastle United, stating: ‘Overall, Newcastle perhaps wanted it that little bit more, particularly in the second half. Their need was greater and that was reflected in the fact that they won 70 per cent of their tackles to Watford’s 37.’
He also points to the demonstrations by Newcastle fans against Mike Ashley after the match, which were loud enough to be heard at Rafa Benitez’ post-match press conference.
The writer wondering just how ‘toxic’ they would have then been if Newcastle had lost…
Watford Official Site:
‘Kevin Affleck dissects the Hornets’ defeat on Tyneside
Long after the final whistle, on the steps where Kevin Keegan famously came out to tell the disgruntled fans why he had controversially sold Andy Cole to Manchester United, some irate Newcastle supporters were furiously venting their frustration at Mike Ashley. Some of the language is not repeatable on these pages, but the gist of it was for him to get out of their club. The protests could be heard through the media suite at St James’ Park and were audible as Rafa Benítez was speaking to the media.
And this was after a 1-0 win, the Magpies’ first in 174 days. Imagine therefore what the atmosphere would have been like had the Hornets managed to get the first goal on Saturday, as they should have done. Things would have turned toxic and very quickly.
Club legend Malcolm McDonald was sat behind us at St James’ Park and he moaned at just about everything Newcastle did in the first half. His downbeat mood was reflective of the vast majority of the restless Toon Army, and there would have been plenty of vitriol cascading down from the imposing stands at this impressive citadel in the heart of the city centre had the Golden Boys taken any one of a hatful of first-half chances.
…you could easily have seen Watford winning by a landslide (if they’d taken a first half lead), picking Newcastle off on the counter at will as they pushed recklessly for a way back into the match. The first goal is always important, but even more so on Saturday and Watford will be kicking themselves they didn’t get it.
They did all the hard work, fashioning 13 attempts on goal in the first half alone, but they just couldn’t stick one in the onion bag. It wasn’t for the want of trying and nobody deliberately misses chances, but it was tough to see so many go begging. Fourteen of the 16 shots on goal were from inside of the box, so it wasn’t as if the Hornets were shooting wildly from distance and having potshots.
“If you do not score and kill the game when you have the chance to, something like today can happen,” Gracia said.
Watford had four fewer attempts on goal in this fixture last season, less possession and fewer corners, yet ran out 3-0 winners that day. Work that one out.
Gracia will know you need to follow up headline wins against Tottenham and Wolverhampton by beating a side who started the weekend second from bottom and on the brink of setting a new record for their worst ever start to a top-flight season. The three points really were there for the taking.
Overall, Newcastle perhaps wanted it that little bit more, particularly in the second half. Their need was greater and that was reflected in the fact that they won 70 per cent of their tackles to Watford’s 37. The way Kenedy, the free-spirited Brazilian winger not noted for his defensive work, sprinted back 80 yards to deny Gray a goalscoring opportunity summed up how desperate they were for the points. Watford already had six wins, Newcastle were chasing their first.