Steve McClaren said, after this game, that trying to turn around Newcastle’s shocking form was “a little bit like a car crash.”
He isn’t kidding.
Right now it resembles a motorway pile-up, and one with a high likelihood of casualties.
They flirted with relegation last season, and but for Sunderland also dropping three points and conceding a goal more they would, right now, be bottom of the EPL having spent the kind of money in the transfer window that fans have been crying out for these last few years.
A statistic for you; Newcastle’s wingers did part of their job right in this match.
They attempted over 40 crosses between them.
Of those, a mere four found a man.
When Papas Cissie was taken off at half time you would have been forgiven for thinking he’d passed up a hatload of chances; in fact, the delivery into the box was shocking.
It remained shocking when he went off.
Newcastle, like Sunderland, were two down early in the match, with Igalho scoring twice in the first 28 minutes to put the away side in command. His performance was excellent, but it was Troy Deeney, Watford’s powerful striker and captain, who ran the show in this one, terrorising the Newcastle back line all day long.
It was one of their back line, the right back Daryl Janmaat, who got Newcastle their lifeline, scoring on 62 minutes, but there was never any real likelihood of it being more than a consolation goal; this is a team that looks utterly bereft at the moment and one wonders whether the disaster with which they’ve toyed these last few years – that of relegation – can be realistically avoided this time around. Their next two games are against Chelsea and Manchester City… not the sort of matches you want when you’re in the crisis zone already.
Watford, on the other hand, continue to impress in their first EPL season, sitting mid-table at the moment with half marks, nine points from their first six games.
That’s not a bad number at all, and if they can maintain that sort of form into the Festive period they will stand a very good chance of remaining a Premiership side whatever happens in the New Year. They have a decent squad, players committed to the cause, and they don’t lack firepower or inspiration.
They are, in short, a settled unit … and everything Newcastle isn’t.
Man of the Match:
Troy Deeney. He gets better with every game.