Watford have been one of the most intriguing clubs to watch to this point in the Premier League campaign, punching well above their weight for most of the season.
But over the past month, reality has started to set in at Vicarage Road as Quique Sanchez Flores' side have started to look like the promoted club they are. The Hornets look to stop a four-match losing streak in league play as they host Newcastle United on Saturday.
The club's last positive result came in a 2-2 draw on Boxing Day with defending champions Chelsea, since then the Hornets have lost to Tottenham, Manchester City, Southampton and Swansea City on the trot. The most recent defeat - a 1-0 loss to Swansea on the strength of a 27th-minute winner from Ashley Williams - helped pull the Swans out of the relegation zone.
The Hornets (8-5-9) have largely relied on forwards Odion Ighalo, who trails only Leicester City's Jamie Vardy and Everton's Romelu Lukaku, for top scoring honors, and Troy Deeney for offence. But when that pair is out of form, the Hornets have supreme difficulty finding the back of the net.
The club is also quite inefficient in the final third. They have hit the target with just 29.8 percent of their shots, and only Chelsea and Liverpool have been less accurate.
The Hornets also have a difficult time securing results if they are trailing at intermission. Flores' men are a plus-6 in goal difference in the opening 45 minutes, but that figure reverses to minus-6 in the second half.
"The result was not the best, the way we played wasn't either, but to get back playing and get my fitness is good. It wasn't that long ago, but you don't have the game rhythm so it was nice to feel that again," defender Nathan Ake said.
"We've lost four times in a row but we're in a good position. We want to get back to winning ways and Saturday will be a good opportunity to do that."
Newcastle United (5-6-11) finally have a little bit of momentum heading into Saturday as the Tyneside club are aiming for a second consecutive win following their 2-1 victory over West Ham United last week as Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum found the back of the net in the opening quarter-hour.
Scoring goals, especially away from home, has been a problem for the Magpies all season. The club have netted a mere five goals on their travels and been shut out in six of their 10 away league matches this season.
Going back to last season, Newcastle are 2-1-13 in their last 16 contests outside St James' Park, having been outscored 37-6.
Perez knows not to overlook a tough Watford side despite their recent dip in form.
"Against Watford, it's going to be hard game, a tough game at their stadium," Perez said. "We went there a couple of weeks ago and we know them. Now we must work to improve on that result, and try to get the points."
Watford beat Newcastle 2-1 in the reverse fixture in September as Ighalo scored twice inside the first half-hour. Daryl Janmaat scored just past the hour mark to cut the deficit but the Magpies couldn't find an equaliser.
These squads also met earlier this month in the FA Cup, with Watford knocking out the Magpies with a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road.
Deeney scored the game's only goal just before halftime, rounding goalkeeper Rob Elliott to easily slot home after a horrific back pass by Wijnaldum.