Premier League

Newcastle United-Watford Preview

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce expressed his desire to keep Allan Saint-Maximin ahead of their visit to Watford on Saturday.

Newcastle battled to a credible 1-1 draw with Leeds United last time out but occupy 18th after collecting just two points in their opening five games.

The Magpies could become the first team in the competition to not win any of their first six in as many campaign but Bruce found time to talk about Saint-Maximin, who has recorded goal involvements in his last three top-flight games for the first time ever.

"I haven't even had that conversation and I don't want to have that conversation as you can imagine," Bruce said on Friday. "We don't want to lose our best players at all. Allan is staying fit, he's staying well."

Bruce also continued to stoke the fire with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who he has experienced a tumultuous relationship with throughout his time at St. James' Park.

"I never have dialogue with the owner," Bruce said when asked if he had any communication with Ashley. "My dialogue and my remit is to deal with Lee and that's what I do in the running of the club, of the day to day business, and that's the way it is. There's nothing new in that.

Watford, who sit in an impressive 11th currently, have a daunting fixture list in the coming weeks with four of the 'Big Six' in store before the end of November.

However, Hornets head coach Xisco Munoz is backing his side, who have won four of their last 14 top-flight home matches, as long as they can maintain their concentration.

"In the Premier League it is a step up, and we know that even just half a mistake can lead to conceding a soft goal," Munoz said. "We are learning and we have big respect for all of our opponents, and Newcastle have a good team and manager."

Watford – Ismaila Sarr

As well as being Watford's top scorer in the Premier League with three goals this season, Sarr has created the most chances (9), had the most shots (13) and completed the most dribbles (16) of any player for the Hornets this term.

Newcastle United – Allan Saint-Maximin

Saint-Maximin has been directly involved in three goals in his last three Premier League games for Newcastle (2 goals, 1 assist), as many as in his previous 12 for the Magpies.

- Newcastle won 2-0 at Fulham on the final day last season – they've not won consecutive Premier League matches against promoted sides since November 2015, while they haven't done so away from home since winning all three such games in 2013-14.

- Newcastle have faced more shots than any other side in the Premier League this season (93), and also have the highest xG against total in the competition this term (11.95).

- Just one of Watford's 21 corners in the Premier League this season has led to a chance, fewer than any other side in the competition. Meanwhile, only Manchester United (8), Brighton (10) and Liverpool (12) have had more corners leading to an attempt than Newcastle (7).

- Watford have won 13 of their last 15 home league games (L2), losing their last such match at Vicarage Road 2-0 against Wolves. They've not lost back-to-back home league games since November 2019.

- Watford have won five of their 12 Premier League meetings with Newcastle (D4 L3) – no side have they beaten more in the competition. Indeed, their 19 points against the Magpies is more than they've earned against any other opponent in the Premier League.

Updated September 24, 2021