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    Watford vs Newcastle United Preview. Magpies Could Face Familiar Foe in Vital Watford Clash.

    By Ryan Carter. Twitter: @TheRyanJCarter

    Newcastle United will be hoping to claim a vital win over Watford, as the two teams prepare to lock horns for the third time this season but this time the Magpies may be met with a familiar foe.

    Having lost to the Hornets in both the Premier League and the FA Cup this season, Steve McClaren’s men will be hoping to make it third time lucky, this time with the help of some new signings.

    But Quique Flores has made some signings of his own in the January transfer window, including a man who has been a constant thorn in the Toon Army’s side in recent years, Costel Pantilimon.

    The Romanian goalkeeper has played a key role in heaping Derby Day heartache onto the Geordie faithful since signing for Sunderland in 2014, having kept Newcastle from scoring every time he has faced them.

    Despite this impressive record, the 6ft 8 shot-stopper is still not guaranteed to start against the Magpies this weekend, due to the quality Watford already boast between the sticks.

    Heurelho Gomes has been the Hornet’s first choice goalkeeper throughout the first half of this season and during that time, the Brazilian has kept eight clean sheets.

    As only Joe Hart, Petr Cech and rising star Jack Butland have tallied more clean sheets than Gomes this Premier League campaign, it would be harsh for Flores to drop the reliable ‘keeper.

    But Newcastle won’t care who they face in goal ahead of the Saturday fixture, as the Toon Army have found their shooting boots since their last defeat at the hands of Watford.

    Since the Hornets knocked the Magpies out of the FA Cup earlier this month, Newcastle have scored five goals in their last two games and have not tasted defeat since.

    Meanwhile, Flores’ side have lost both their league games since their cup victory, without scoring a single goal over that time.

    In fact, Watford have not recorded a win in any of their last five league games, having lost four in a row following their 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Boxing Day.

    Injuries have proved to be a major problem for Newcastle this season, and that problem has grown even bigger heading into this fixture, as McClaren has only four senior defenders fit for the game.

    The Magpies Head Coach can call upon Daryl Janmaat, Fabricio Coloccini, Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba ahead of their trip to Hertfordshire.

    But Massadio Haidara, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett, Kevin Mbabu and even makeshift defender Jack Colback have all been ruled out.

    Papiss Cisse, Vurnon Anita, Siem de Jong, Gabriel Obertan and Tim Krul make up the rest of Newcastle’s players carrying knocks which are likely to keep them out of action this weekend.

    As far as Watford are concerned, the hosts only have two injury concerns to worry about in the shape of Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand, who are both likely to be ruled out.

    Flores however will be able to hand a debut to his newest signing as Hornets Boss, Nordin Amrabat.

    This game will prove to be very important for both sets of players’ Premier League survival hopes, even at this stage of the season.

    If Watford make it three wins in three against the Magpies this season, it will put an end to their losing run and encourage them to look up the table instead of down towards the bottom.

    As for Newcastle, a win would see them climb out of the bottom three and achieve back-to-back wins which will prove vital in their battle against the drop.

    Watford are in a bad way at the moment and Jonjo Shelvey’s arrival seems to have brought new life into the Toon Army, who now seem much more confident on the pitch.

    However, Newcastle’s frailties at the back could prove costly, especially when the home side have the deadly strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo at their disposal.

    This game is likely to be very open, with plenty of chances being created and the game will be won by whichever team can best take the chances that fall their way.

    Score Prediction: Watford 2-2 Newcastle United.

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    Item Reviewed: Watford vs Newcastle United Preview. Magpies Could Face Familiar Foe in Vital Watford Clash. Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ryan Carter
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