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Opinion

Newcastle team v Watford predicted with two changes for Eddie Howe

1 week ago
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Looking at this Newcastle team v Watford.

Eddie Howe and his team looking at a must win game.

Newcastle heading into this one knowing that a victory this Saturday afternoon would take them out of the relegation zone.

Quite remarkable when you consider that in twenty one games (all competitions) this season, Newcastle United have won just one of them.

A win over Watford wouldn’t be a cure all BUT it would be a massive first step towards hopefully a climb towards safety. With four clubs looking increasingly looking cut adrift at the bottom, Newcastle simply needing to do better than Norwich, Burnley and Watford in the second half of the season.

So what can we expect the Newcastle team v Watford to be?

As a starting point…

This was the Newcastle team v Cambridge:

Dubravka, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Fraser, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Wood

Against Cambridge, Eddie Howe went with what he clearly thought was his strongest available eleven. Keeping eight of the team that played so well in the 1-1 draw with Man Utd.

The only changes were Trippier replacing Manquillo and the enforced changes of Ritchie and Murphy in for the absent Wilson and Lascelles.

To be honest, I don’t think Eddie Howe will significantly change things this time either, hoping the same basis of the team that did so well against Man Utd and deserved to win, can show up today. Even last Saturday the first half wasn’t bad, only the failure to take a lot of very good chances made it look so bad. Though the second half was so poor in terms of ideas and goal threat against Cambridge, not having a single out and out striker in the matchday squad being a massive handicap.

On Friday, Eddie Howe said Martin Dubravka picked up a toe injury against Cambridge but should be ok. It appears likely that Mark Gillespie is the only other available keeper, so an easy prediction that Dubravka will continue, even though he hasn’t been great.

Trippier to play on the right and with Howe indicating neither Lewis or Dummett are fit enough yet, Ritchie appears to be the only realistic option. Manquillo could have been potentially but he’s suspended for this game.

It looks obvious that Lascelles will return for Newcastle now he’s back training and available, Krafth looking set to drop out and the captain to play alongside Fabian Schar.

Centre of midfield, I can’t see past Sean Longstaff and Jonjo Shelvey.

Neither were good against Cambridge but a lack of alternatives and the hope they can play more like they did against Man Utd. Hayden is injured, Hendrick is a big no, whilst Willock was woeful when coming on against Cambridge.

Chris Wood will of course come in up front, which then leaves three places for players in the main attacking support roles.

Allan Saint-Maximin will have the biggest burden of expectation to help with the goal threat and service to Wood, whilst Joelinton is an easy selection with his much improved work in midfield. Though the Brazilian needs to also get into the box more and help share the goal burden.

I think Murphy will be the one to drop out and Fraser stay in the team. The Scottish international has been doing a little better in recent matches and Eddie Howe appears keen to play his former Bournemouth player.

Just like Willock, Miguel Almiron came off the bench against Cambridge and showed nothing to suggest he should get a starting place.

Predicted Newcastle team v Watford:

Dubravka, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Fraser, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Wood

So the two changes I think Eddie Howe will make.

Wood and Lascelles in for Murphy and Krafth.

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