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Newcastle Desperate for First Win


Its not often a team will go ten games into a league campaign and still be waiting for their first win.  Unfortunately for Newcastle United fans, that’s exactly what has happened to their team this season.

The Magpies come into this match in 19th place in the Premier League and have just 3 points to their name. The only thing keeping them off the bottom is the fact Huddersfield Town have a worse goal difference.

This weekend, Newcastle welcome Watford to St James’ Park as they attempt to get their first win of the season.  Watford start the weekend in 7th place and a win could potentially move them as high as 5th in the league.

Newcastle picked up their third point of the season last weekend as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Southampton.  A draw away from home in the Premier League is a decent result but not good enough when you are still searching for your first win.

Trends show Newcastle have won just one of their last sixteen matches in all competitions.  It is a run which stretches back to last season and they are yet to pick a win in any competition this season.  Newcastle have lost each of their last five home Premier League matches and their 3 points have all come away.

Newcastle have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their five home Premier League matches this season and have scored just 3 goals themselves.

Watford travel north having picked up all 3 points in a home win against Huddersfield Town last weekend. The good 3-0 victory means Watford have won their last two Premier League games having been on a run of four league games without a win.

Between the 15th September and 20th October, Watford lost at home to Manchester United and Bournemouth plus Arsenal away.  They were also held to a draw at Fulham in the Premier League and lost at Tottenham Hotspur on a penalty shootout in the League Cup.

Overall away form is not good and trends show Watford have won only three of their last nineteen away matches in all competitions.  However, they have lost just one of the last four in the Premier League, picking up wins at Burnley and Wolves plus they have won each of their last five games against Newcastle.

Team news and Newcastle will be without Jamie Sterry and Florian Lejeune who are both injured.  Salomon Rondon is back to full fitness and will be hoping to start the match.

Watford have Tom Cleverley, Daryl Janmaat and Sebastian Prodl on the treatment table.  Troy Deeney remains a doubt which could mean a place in attack for Isaac Success who scored last weekend.

This is another game Newcastle fans will hope is the one which turns their dreadful start to the season around.  However, they are meeting Watford at the wrong time and it should be the Hornets who come away with maximum points from this match.

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Newcastle set to pick first of the season at Cardiff


In the Premier League’s early kick-off on Saturday, new boys Cardiff host Newcastle at the Cardiff City Stadium as both teams look to register their first points of the new campaign.

Cardiff kicked off life back in the Premier League with a 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth.Meanwhile, Newcastle suffered a 2-1 defeat at St James Park by Tottenham on the opening weekend of the top-flight campaign.

The opening day defeat means that dating back to their last spell in the top-flight in 2014 the Bluebirds have now suffered four consecutive defeats in the English top-flight.

The Welsh side will certainly need to improve if they are to avoid a quick return to the Championship this season. Neil Warnock’s side will also need to improve their home form, as in their last spell in the top-flight the Bluebirds lost four out of their last six home games in the Premier League.

Despite the visitors making a number of summer signings, the north east side just did not have the quality to compete with Spurs on the opening weekend of the season.

Quite concerning for Newcastle is the fact that they have now lost five of their last six games in the Premier League. The Magpies form on their travels in the Premier League last season was one of the major worries for Rafa Benitez and his side.

The visitors won just one of their last eight away games last season in the top-flight while losing four of their last five games on their top-flight travels. Scoring goals was a problem on their travels, as the Magpies score just three goals in their last five Premier League games away from St James Park last season.

Sportseconds predicts that Newcastle will record a victory in a high scoring clash to add to the concerns that Cardiff may be relegation fodder this season.

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Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0: Merino leaves it late to sink Eagles

Crystal Palace were denied their first away Premier League point of the season as Mikel Merino’s late header earned Newcastle United a 1-0 win at St James’ Park.

Fresh from a long-awaited maiden victory of the campaign against champions Chelsea last weekend, Roy Hodgson’s visitors had been the most threatening side in a game desperately lacking in quality and goal-mouth action on Saturday.

Wilfried Zaha was the Eagles’ most lively attacking outlet and should have scored after 40 minutes, instead heading wide from Andros Townsend’s cross.

The first half’s biggest talking point was a thundering challenge from Yohan Cabaye on DeAndre Yedlin, which could easily have seen the Frenchman receive his marching orders. Referee Stuart Attwell, however, deemed it worthy of only a caution.

Rafael Benitez’s side offered nothing in an attacking sense for much of the contest, with Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey’s shots from distance among their only chances of note.

But a late flurry of pressure saw Merino climb highest to head past Julian Speroni from a corner, his first Newcastle goal earning three much-needed points for the promoted side.

The result ends Newcastle’s winless of three games, while Palace remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with just three points from nine games.

Palace, clearly buoyed by last weekend’s 2-1 win over Antonio Conte’s title-holders, started in composed fashion and looked dangerous going forward in the opening 15 minutes, without truly threatening to penetrate the Newcastle backline.

They had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first real sight of goal, with Zaha’s deflected effort from an angle comfortably gathered by Rob Elliot.

Matt Ritchie then saw a weak half-volley deflected wide before Cabaye, returning to the club he left in 2014, incensed the home fans with a wild lunge on Yedlin and escaped with just a yellow card.

Christian Atsu created the hosts’ best opening of the half 10 minutes before the break, bustling past Joel Ward and crashing a fierce strike into the side netting.

Zaha then squandered a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring just moments before the interval. Townsend did well to make space down the right and clip a cross to the back post, but the Ivorian could only send his header tamely wide.

Zaha and Townsend continued to look sharp at the start of the second period, but the lack of an out-and-out attacker saw a number of good opportunities fizzle out.

Townsend took matters into his own hands midway through the second period, whipping a powerful left-foot strike just over Elliot’s crossbar.

Inexplicably, Newcastle’s first shot on target did not come until the 71st minute, when Diame’s curled shot was held by Speroni. Shelvey followed this soon after with a drive that was repelled by the previously underworked Palace goalkeeper.

Patrick van Aanholt was then just inches away from connecting with Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s low cross before the hosts grabbed their unlikely winner.

Merino, who had been introduced in the 55th minute for Isaac Hayden, repaid his manager’s faith with a towering header to secure all three points and get Newcastle’s faltering season back on track.

Key Opta stats:

– Rafael Benitez has never lost a home league game in English football against a coach who has also managed the English national team (W17 D4).
– Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last seven Premier League away games – their longest such run in the top-flight.
– Mikel Merino scored his first ever Premier League goal in what was his ninth appearance in the competition.
– The Magpies have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League games on home soil (W6 D3 L1).
– Crystal Palace failed to land a single shot on target in this match despite attempting 10 shots.
– It’s the second time the Eagles have failed to register a shot on target since Roy Hodgson took charge (also v Man City).

– Newcastle haven’t lost a home Premier League game against a side starting that day bottom since March 1998, winning seven and drawing five.

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Lascelles is Newcastle hero in victory over Swansea

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles saved a certain goal at one end before scoring his side’s winner in a 1-0 victory at Swansea City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Lascelles powered home a close-range header from Matt Ritchie’s corner in the 76th minute to give Newcastle their second successive victory after losing their first two games.

Just past the hour mark defender Lascelles made a last-ditch intervention as Swansea’s Tammy Abraham rounded Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot and shot goalwards only to see Lascelles move in and prevent a certain goal.

Swansea gave a debut to new loan signing from Bayern Munich Renato Sanches but the Portuguese midfielder faded.

Newcastle had the best chance before the break when striker Joselu’s flicked header was superbly saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

Alfie Mawson headed wide for the hosts before the break while Tom Carroll’s left-footed volley was well saved by Elliot shortly before Lascelles’s saving clearance.

Newcastle have six points to Swansea’s four.

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Newcastle manager Benitez recovering from surgery

LONDON- Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is recovering from surgery and could miss Sunday’s Premier League trip to Swansea City, British media reported on Thursday.

Fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno will stand in for the 57-year-old Spaniard at Friday’s regular pre-game news conference.

The BBC said Benitez had undergone a hospital procedure during last week’s international break to deal with an infection resulting from a hernia operation that he had more than two years ago.

The Newcastle Chronicle reported that the manager had attempted to return to Newcastle from the north-west on Thursday morning, but had turned back after suffering from pain while in the car.
(Alan Baldwin)