Newcastle began in their 4-2-3-1 with Fabian Schar in the midfield. Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie played as traditional wingers with Allan on the right and Ritchie on the left.
The lads started much brighter and dominated the first ten minutes. They created a few chances, including a golden opportunity for Miguel Almiron, but were unable to put any away.
Watford responded well and started to threaten Newcastle. The Magpies had some critical defensive clearances, including a goal-line one from Jamaal Lascelles in the 16th minute.
Newcastle broke the stalemate in the 22nd minute through a corner. Matt Ritchie whipped in a cross that Federico Fernandez flicked toward the far post. Both Dwight Gayle and Fabian Schar made runs, but it was Gayle who got there first to tap the ball in for his third goal this season.
Newcastle almost doubled the lead in the 35th minute when Saint-Maximin was sent clear on the Watford goal. However, Ben Foster made an excellent save on the Frenchman’s low shot.
Watford had an opportunity to level the proceedings on a 42nd-minute set-piece. Will Hughes free-kick was sent into the box and pinballed off numerous players before being cleared to Miguel Almiron, whose counter-attack was ultimately thwarted by the Hornets.
Newcastle provided the necessary and take the lead at halftime. Watford had a few spells that put the Magpies under pressure.
It’s an important second half as Watford will look to regroup and are fighting for their Premier League lives. So we expect them to come out full of determination to try to get a result.
Bruce has to prepare the lads for what could be a difficult second half.