24 min Time for a drinks break.
Erm, as I was saying. Newcastle have taken the lead through Dwight Gayle. Ritchie’s right-wing corner was headed dangerously across goal by the unmarked Fernandez, and Gayle ran the ball into the net from a yard.
21 min Watford have livened up after a sluggish start, and it’s a more even game as a result.
18 min “Derby County 2007-08 aside, which are the worst promoted teams have you seen in the Premier League?” says Digvijay Yadav. “I’d say this Norwich team are right up there. And for some reason I get the feeling Leeds will stay up for a long time.”
I think that’s a bit harsh – they had so many injuries early in the season and never really recovered. Sunderland 2005-06 were very poor, from memory, and Swindon 1993-94, though kinda charming, were hopeless in defence.
16 min: Welbeck hits the post! Watford almost take the lead with their first chance. Kiko Femenia’s cross from the right cleared everyone in the middle and reached Welbeck beyond the far post. He sidefooted a volley into the ground that bounced up to beat Dubravka, hit the inside of the post and spin across the goalline. It was about to go over the line when the alert Lascelles hooked it clear.
13 min There’s been an early goal at Carrow Road. You won’t believe the score!
11 min: Good save from Foster! Shelvey’s corner was flicked on at the near post, by Deeney I think, and half-volleyed towards goal from close range by Almiron. Foster moved smartly across his line to make an excellent block.
10 min Newcastle win the first corner on the left. They have dominated possession to an almost Guardiolan extent in the first 10 minutes.
6 min It’s been a decent start from Newcastle, whose confidence doesn’t seem to be have been unaffected by their pasting at the Etihad.
3 min Saint-Maximin’s cross flashes past Almiron on the six-yard line. Almiron was fractionally offside but it was a terrific ball in.
3 min There’s a VAR check for a possible red card after Sarr caught Rose in the face with his elbow. It wasn’t deliberate, and VAR decides Sarr is not guilty.
1 min Peep peep! Watford kick off from right to left.
A bit of pre-match reading
Some really sad news from earlier Jack Charlton, who managed Newcastle in the 1984-85 season, has died at the age of 85. This is a brilliantly written tribute from Paul Doyle, focussing on Charlton’s extraordinary success with Ireland.
Watford (4-2-3-1) Foster; Kiko Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina; Capoue, Hughes; Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck; Deeney.
Substitutes: Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1) Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Schar, Shelvey; Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Ritchie; Gayle.
Substitutes: Joelinton, Muro, Krafth, Yedlin, Lazaro, Darlow, Atsu, Bentaleb, M Longstaff.
Referee Craig Pawson.
Breaking news: 35 is the new 40. Not in terms of ageing, where 40 stubbornly remains the old 40, but avoiding relegation. Once upon a time, a 35-point season meant a ticket to the second-tier, but in each of the last three seasons it has been enough to stay up. The struggles of Bournemouth and Aston Villa mean that 2019-20 is likely to be no different.
If Watford beat Newcastle today they will move to 34 points, and the great escape will almost be complete. Watford have been so solid under Nigel Pearson that it’s easy to forget the state they were in when he took over. They had eight points from 15 games and were seven points from safety.
If they do stay up, it will thanks to their form at Vicarage Road. The 2-1 win over Norwich on Wednesday was their fifth in 10 home games under Pearson. And if they make it six in 11 today, they will be tantalisingly close to the magical 35-point mark.
Kick off 12.30pm.
Source: The Guardian |NewsColony