Watford-Newcastle United Preview
It's only five matches into the campaign, but things are becoming dire for Newcastle United as they aim for their first win against Watford on Saturday at St. James' Park.
Steve McClaren's side is coming off another poor showing on Monday against West Ham United, conceding a brace to Dimitri Payet that doomed the Magpies to a 2-0 defeat that also extended their scoreless spell to 402 minutes.
The Magpies (0-3-2) have had remarkable difficulty finding the back of the net this season - the Tyneside club's only goals came in their season-opening 2-2 draw versus Southampton - and Newcastle have never been held scoreless in five straight matches.
The club have also been woeful defensively, having faced 93 shots. Only Crystal Palace and Sunderland have faced more, while the Magpies' 31 shots on target allowed are third-most in the Premier League.
Newcastle come into the clash at the foot of the table with just two points, but Massadio Haidara has called for his teammates to respond in proper fashion in front of the home crowd.
"We are all disappointed because we didn't play very well (at West Ham)," he told the club's official television channel. "We have to react on Saturday because we need the points. We are not in a good position and need to leave there as soon as possible."
"It is good that the next game is so quick, because it means we have to forget about it straight away and focus everything on Saturday and Watford. "It is a very important game and we have to be ready. We have to take points and that starts on Saturday. We have a few days to work and to find a way to win."
After opening the season with three consecutive draws and a defeat, Watford (1-3-1) finally earned their first win since earning promotion with a 1-0 result over Swansea City at Vicarage Road on Saturday courtesy of a 59th-minute goal from Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo.
The Hornets aim for two straight Premier League wins for just the second time in club history, with the other coming with back-to-back victories in August 1999 over Liverpool and Bradford. Watford, though, have also lost 30 of their 40 away Premier League fixtures and outscored 84-23 in those games.
St James' Park is a difficult place to get a result, but if the Hornets want to take at least a point, they will need to do better with possession. The club has been held to just 42 percent possession in their last two matches and have hit the target with just 26 percent of their shots this season, the lowest accuracy rate in the league.
"We try to prepare very well, it's a very tough opponent for us," Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores told the Watford Weekend Preview Show. "It's a big stadium, and they have a big supporter following, so we have to be ready as we know it will be a difficult match."
"Of course the crowd atmosphere will mean we are under high pressure, but it's very exciting to think about getting a win at the stadium," he said. "If we can make them silent and we can get a good result, then it'll be very good for the future.
These sides last met in the Championship in the 2009-10 season. Newcastle did the double over Watford that season, winning 2-0 at St. James' Park and 2-1 at Vicarage Road in February 2010.