BBC Pundit Mark Lawrenson has given his predictions for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures. He is going against his usual tendencies in predicting a 2-1 win for Newcastle against Watford.
Here is some of Lawro’s take on the match:
You can just picture the scene at St James’ Park – there will be a full house and, after signing Wood, they will all be expecting a really good performance and a win.
Newcastle need it, not just to improve their own situation but to keep Watford right in the relegation mix as well. The problem Eddie Howe’s men have there is that, defensively, we know they are all over the place.
I still think the Magpies will win, because Watford are leaking a lot of goals and losing a lot of games, but it might be a tense finish and Newcastle will need their fans as well as Wood to get them over the line.
Newcastle need a reaction after the embarrassing defeat against Cambridge in the FA Cup. The arrival of Chris Wood gives some hope that chances will be converted. The 30-year-old should slot straight into the starting eleven tomorrow.
The full scale of the Covid issue is unknown but Eddie Howe has confirmed there are still a few cases. We do know that Callum Wilson, Fede Fernandez, Isaac Hayden, and likely Jamal Lewis are ruled out through injury. Javier Manquillo will serve his suspension after picking up five bookings.
Martin Dubravka appeared to have picked up a knock when conceding the lone goal against Cambridge. The 32-year-old was not spotted in yesterday’s training images. With Karl Darlow missing the last two matchday squads, the keeper situation may be one to watch.
Howe should be able to field a strong side tomorrow with Jamaal Lascelles available after missing the weekend. Paul Dummett could also be an option either at center-back or left-back. He made the bench for the first time last weekend.
Watford are on a horrendous stretch of seven straight defeats including their own early FA Cup exit. They have made a few signings but also have some injuries and players away at the Africa Cup of Nations to contend with.
A 2-1 win will definitely be welcome despite the agony that would entail watching it. A win and Newcastle move out of the relegation places at least for this weekend. Watford have another six-pointer at Burnley scheduled for Tuesday and then again against Norwich on Friday.
Burnley’s match this weekend has been postponed so they’ll have a number of games in hand. Next week could be a monumental one for Newcastle United. A win tomorrow, some signings early in the week, and if other fixtures go our way, we could be in much better shape when we take on Leeds next Saturday.