Newcastle v Watford: Expect a clean sheet at St. James' Park

Steve Bruce's side have managed just two goals so far
Steve Bruce's side have managed just two goals so far

With two sides struggling for goals, it's fair to think that one of them will fire blanks, says Dave Tindall...

"'No' would have landed in two of Newcastle's three games and in three of Watford's four if you add in their EFL Cup game."

Newcastle v Watford
Saturday, 15:00

Magpies hope to build on Spurs win

The strange make-up of the early Premier League table shows Newcastle sat second bottom despite victory last weekend.

Steve Bruce was extremely put out by talk of a crisis after defeats to Arsenal (0-1) and Norwich (1-3) and put a stop to it - for the time being at least - with an excellent 1-0 win at Spurs.

The Magpies had the chance to build on that with a home EFL Cup win over Leicester in midweek but they lost on penalties after the game had ended 1-1.

However, Bruce made a host of changes for that cup tie, showing clearly where priorities lie.

Hornets prop up table

A poor finish to their Premier League campaign was rather overlooked last season as Watford gave the impression of a team on the up after reaching the FA Cup final.

But a trio of opening defeats, with just one goal scored and seven conceded, leaves them as the only team in the top-flight without a point.

The pressure on Javier Gracia eased in midweek as they cruised past Coventry in the EFL Cup so the Vicarage Road manager will hope that acts as a turning point after their dreadful start.

The defeats were home to Brighton, away to Everton and home to West Ham so it's not as if a punishing early fixture list can be offered up an an excuse.

Magpies favourites

Watford's current weaknesses explain the odds as much as anything.

Newcastle trade as 2.6413/8 favourites, with Watford 3.052/1 and The Draw the outsider of the three results at 3.3512/5.

The Magpies were boom or bust at home last season with eight wins (just two fewer than Man Utd), a single draw and 10 defeats so their odds aren't necessarily short.

Watford were 6-5-8 away from home in the previous campaign and although four of the losses came in their final five fixtures, those defeats were at Anfield, the Etihad, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

However, losing has become something of a habit and there certainly seems to be a hangover from last season's humiliating 6-0 defeat to Man City in the FA Cup final.

Watford have at least won won three of their last four games at St. James' Park so it's been a happy hunting ground.

But do you trust either right now? It's a leap of faith to do so at those prices.

Take 'No' on BTTS

This pair have managed just three goals between them in the Premier League so Unders would seem the obvious play and some may see the 1.845/6 as acceptable.

However, the other side of the coin is that Watford have shipped seven goals, the second most in the division.

On that evidence, Overs at 2.166/5 enters the equation.

The other interesting Watford stat is that they have an expected goals (xG) figure of 4.27 (they've netted just one). That's higher than Arsenal and Leicester.

However, from 42 shots, they've converted just 2.4%. Confidence in front of goal is low.

In that sense, I like the odds-against price of 2.1211/10 of 'No' on Both teams to Score.

'No' would have landed in two of Newcastle's three games and in three of Watford's four if you add in their EFL Cup game.

Go back to their three meetings last year and, once again, 'No' lands twice.

Doubts over scorers

The one Watford goalscorer in the PL this season is Andre Gray.

He gets a few but the vast majority are at home. You'll need to go back to September, 2018 to find his last away goal in the Premier League although note that he scored at Newcastle in January's FA Cup clash.

Not for me though.

Newcastle's new striker Joelinton?

We don't really know what he'll become yet but scoring the winner at Spurs was a big confidence booster.

And a home game against a leaky defence is an obvious opportunity to grab another.

However, seven of his 11 goals (yep, that's all he managed) for Hoffenheim last season came on the road so he's a better bet in away games.

Those doubts over Gray and Joelinton help support the 'no' option on BTTS.

Opta stat

This will be Newcastle manager Steve Bruce's first Premier League meeting with Watford. He lost his last match against them in all competitions, going down 0-1 at home with Hull in April 2013 in the Championship.

Staked: 7.50pts
Returned: 5.35pts
P/L: -2.15pts

2pts Both Teams to Score 'No' at 2.1211/10

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