Watford vs. Newcastle
Venue: Vicarage Road
Kick off: 12:30PM
Buoyed by a much-needed win last time out, Watford will be looking to climb clear of the Premier League relegation zone when they host Newcastle United at lunchtime.
The Hornets beat bottom side Norwich City in midweek and are four points above the drop, while Newcastle – thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City – are jostling for position in mid-table.
Nigel Pearson praised the “strength” of his Watford side to dig deep against doomed Norwich and pick up all three points in a vital 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.
That win, which came courtesy of Danny Welbeck’s spectacular overhead kick, ended the Hornets’ six-game wait for a victory in the Premier League.
After beating Liverpool 3-0 at the end of February to claim one of the shock results of this or any other top-flight campaign, Watford accrued one point from the next 15 available.
It was a run that left Pearson’s men at serious risk of dropping into the Championship, but the win over Norwich gives them a healthy four-point buffer on the two sides below them.
However, Aston Villa and Bournemouth do still have a game in hand to play on Thursday, against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.
Watford still have work to do if they are to stay afloat, and with Manchester City and Arsenal to face in their last two games they could do with a victory on Saturday.
There is perhaps no kinder fixture for Watford than the visit of Newcastle, either, with United stuck in mid-table and possibly already thinking of their shortened summer break.
Steve Bruce’s men won three games in a row either side of the coronavirus-enforced hiatus to ensure that relegation would not be a concern for them this season.
Results since then have been largely mixed, with a 4-1 away win at Bournemouth coming a week before a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Man City, summing up their inconsistent nature.
United were truly dreadful at the Etihad Stadium and could have lost by even more in the end, with the Magpies struggling to adapt to a five-at-the-back system.
Bruce was without Allan Saint-Maximin, in fairness, while Jamaal Lascelles, Andy Carroll and Isaac Hayden were also absent from the matchday squad due to injury.
Still, there can be no excuse for the type of display produced by the Toon and they have to quickly pick themselves up for this trip to Hertfordshire.
Watford possible XI: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Capoue, Hughes, Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck, Deeney.
Newcastle possible XI: Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Rose, Ritchie, Longstaff, Shelvey, Joelinton, Almiron, Gayle.