Critics agree to expect ‘tense’ Newcastle United against Watford

For some time now, January has been designated as the month that could be pivotal in the Premier League season at Newcastle United.

Of course, transfers were a big part of that, and the Magpies set out to reform their squad by bringing in Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid and Chris Wood from Burnley. However, perhaps most important are some of the crucial matches.

At the end of the month, they face 16th-placed Leeds United – who they hope can slip into the relegation zone if they win – as well as a six-point relegation with Watford on Saturday.

If Eddie Howe’s side beat the Hornets at the weekend, they’ll outsmart them and move out of the relegation zone and pundits support Newcastle to get the job done.

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This is what was said:

Mark Lawrence – BBC Sport

The BBC’s chief forecaster spoke positively of Newcastle’s new signings and said that despite their loss to Cambridge last weekend – and their faltering defense – Watford’s performance had been so poor that they could benefit.

“Chris Wood should go straight to the Newcastle side and I can see why he’d buy him.

“He is not a prolific goalscorer but he is a strong force up front and he will carry the ball.

Speaking of capturing the three points, Laurenson said:

“Newcastle need it, not only to improve their situation but to keep Watford right in the relegation mix as well.

“The problem that Eddie Howe’s guys have is that, defensively, we know they’re all over the place.

“I still think the Magpies will win, because Watford leak a lot of goals and lose a lot of games, but the end could be tense and Newcastle will need their fans as well as Wood to keep them on the goal line.”

Michael Owen – Pete Victor

Former Newcastle striker Michael Owen also backs the Magpies to victory here, saying St James ‘Park’ will be ready for this.

Once again, focus on how poorly Watford is in his rating.

“I feel sorry for Claudio Ranieri. It was a huge request to enter the club in the middle of the season and things are not going well. December was a disastrous month, with five defeats and no points.

The only positive is that a few of those came up against some of the higher echelons. Now they’ve got six matches they can score points in and these are the ones they’ll be judged on.

A win for Newcastle, and their season could start. I can’t see this for sure, but I think Newcastle will win this. 2-1 Newcastle.


Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight’s algorithm-based match prediction tool, which uses team ratings computed using predicted goals for and against and goals scored and conceded, makes Newcastle a top candidate.

However, it is not clear. As the host side, the Magpies are expected to win with a probability of 40%. Watford’s probability of winning is only 6% lower at 34%, while the probability of a tie is 26%. This makes the probability that Newcastle will not win the game at 60%, according to the algorithm.


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