Newcastle hold key advantage over Watford ahead of relegation six-pointer

Newcastle have no first team representatives at AFCON 2021 this month as they aim to fight for Premier League survival, while Watford have four at the tournament

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  • 08:00, 14 Jan 2022
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Newcastle prepare to face Watford in a huge relegation six-pointer in the Premier League on Saturday at St. James’ Park, with just two points separating the sides.

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The Hornets have a game in hand on the Magpies but a win here for the hosts could see them leapfrog their opponents and out of the relegation zone, provided Burnley fail to beat Leicester on the same day.

Eddie Howe’s side have already spent big in the current January transfer window, meaning they will be boosted by the impressive signings of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood.

And while home advantage may also play it’s part for Newcastle, it isn’t the only potentially big deciding factor in this basement battle, with the Africa Cup of Nations also giving them an edge over their visitors.

Can Newcastle pick up their second win of the season against Watford? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Eddie Howe and Newcastle hold an advantage over their opponents this weekend
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Image:
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Both Newcastle and Watford have been in dire form this season, placing huge importance on the fixture as they battle to beat the drop.

But the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations has played perfectly into Eddie Howe’s hands for this clash especially, as Watford currently have four of their players on duty at the tournament.

By contrast, the Magpies do not have a single player on AFCON duty, giving them a clear advantage over their visiting opponents.

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Watford are already missing a number of players through injury ahead of this tie, but now the departures of other first team regulars in William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria), Imran Louza (Morocco) and Adam Masina (Morocco) have made matters worse for Claudio Ranieri.

To add to that, star man Ismaila Sarr had also departed for central Africa this month, although it seems as though he may not feature for Senegal after picking up a knee injury.

The absence of Watford's Ismaila Sarr is huge for Newcastle
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Image:
Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Either way, the Hornets are far weaker than they would have hoped to have been for this crucial fixture and Howe will be fully aware of the fact that they are there for the taking.

The quality and experience of both Trippier and Wood coming into the side could see them take full advantage of Watford’s sorry situation, but the Magpies will have to be better at working together as a team.

Newcastle have just spent big on Chris Wood from Burnley
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Image:
Newcastle United via Getty Image)

Beating the Hornets here can mean even more than just three points on the day, as it could kickstart the Magpies’ campaign and help them to gather some momentum and string a few results together.

And that really would give them the boost they so desperately need should they finally pull out of the relegation zone on Saturday.

Facing a weakened Watford team at home is the perfect scenario for them but without those four AFCON call-ups for the visitors, but it's up to Howe's men to make their advantage count.

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