Struggling Premier League teams Newcastle and Watford will meet for a huge relegation six-pointer at St. James’ Park on Saturday. Can either team return to winning ways?
Newcastle United FC vs. Watford FC
Saturday, January 15, 2022 – 10:00 AM EST at St. James’ Park
Watford is now priced at -250 with DraftKings to be relegated at the end of the season after losing its last six Premier League games. That has seen the Hornets fall to 17th in the table, leaving them just above the drop zone.
However, 18th placed Burnley has played one game fewer than Watford, so the Hornets could soon fall into the relegation zone. It suffered a seventh consecutive defeat when it faced Leicester in the FA Cup last weekend. João Pedro was on target, but it finished 4-1 to Leicester.
Watford is missing several important players due to injuries at the Africa Cup of Nations, and its prospects look grim. It has already fired one manager this season, and replacement Claudio Ranieri has been unable to turn things around. The Italian coach is now the favorite to be the next Premier League manager to face the ax.
Newcastle Needs Reinforcements
Newcastle became the world’s richest sports club when Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund purchased it in October. It quickly fired manager Steve Bruce, but replacement Eddie Howe was still left with the same squad, which has suffered from a chronic lack of investment over the past couple of years.
It is currently 19th in the table, with just one win, eight draws, and 10 defeats from 19 games so far this season. The Magpies have the joint-worst defensive record in the league and the third-worst attacking record. However, they are just two points behind Watford, and they could turn things around in the second half of the season if the new owners continue splashing the cash.
They have already spent £12 million ($16.4 million) on England’s right-back Kieran Trippier, who could make his Premier League debut for the club on Saturday.
He made his first appearance in a Newcastle shirt last weekend when the Magpies suffered a shocking 1-0 home defeat to League One team Cambridge United. That was highly embarrassing for everyone at the club, and they need to turn things around quickly.
Newcastle’s best striker, Callum Wilson, is out with a long-term calf injury. Tricky winger Allan Saint-Maximin could partner Joelinton in an attack. Chris Wood is also on the verge of signing from Burnley for £25 million ($34 million), so he may be able to go straight into Javier Manquillo is suspended, while Isaac Hayden, Federico Fernández, and Jamal Lewis are injured, leaving the defense seriously depleted.
Howe will hope that Ciaran Clark tests negative for Covid-19 in time to return for this game. Newcastle has no injury concerns in midfield. Watford has a huge list of absentees to contend with. Ismaïla Sarr, Nicolas Nkoulou, Peter Etebo are all injured, as is goalkeeper Ben Foster. Star striker Emmanuel Dennis is doubtful with a minor injury, and defenders Christian Kabasele and Kiko Femenía may also miss out.
William Troost-Ekong, Adam Masina, and Imran Louza are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations, so Ranieri has very few options at his disposal. Watford is on a downward spiral, whereas Newcastle could be rejuvenated by the arrivals of Trippier and Wood, so a home win looks like an interesting bet.
EPL Pick: Newcastle to win (+105) with DraftKings
EPL Pick: Both teams to score (-152) with Bet365
EPL Pick: Allan Saint-Maximin to score (+240) with FanDuel