Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United dropped a huge chance to move out of the bottom three when they fumbled a 1-0 lead at home to absence-riddled Watford in a loss truly damaging to their hopes of a Premier League stay.
The Saturday defeat started with the Magpies on the front foot and Allan Saint-Maximin put the hosts ahead with a pretty goal but that didn’t stop Watford from absolutely running the second half and claiming an 88th-minute equalizer through Joao Pedro.
Watford had 59 percent possession in the second half and took 9 of the frame’s 12 shot attempts, fully deserving of their away point.
Newcastle drops into 19th on the table with 12 points after Norwich City’s win over Everton, while Watford’s 14th point is one more than 17th-place Norwich.
Newcastle vs Watford final score, stats
Newcastle United 1-1 Watford
Scorers: Allan Saint-Maximin 49′, Pedro 88′
Shot attempts: Newcastle 12-18 Watford
Shots on goal: Newcastle 1-5 Watford
Possession: Newcastle 52-48 Watford
Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Watford
1. Howe gets it wrong: Eddie Howe has a lot of explaining to do after his team had no idea what to do with its second-half lead. Fair play to the attack, as the Magpies should’ve been ahead by plenty after 45 minutes but totally took their foot off the gas pedal following Saint-Maximin’s 49th-minute tally. Watford had nearly 60 percent of the ball in the second half and Howe didn’t make any subs until the 74th minute as his team was out-attempted 9-2 in the final 45 minutes as Joe Willock was an unused sub and Miguel Almiron only got four minutes on the pitch. They needed three points and got one, and there should be real questions about a manager who was relegated in his last period of a long, successful period at Bournemouth.
2. Watford should feel boosted: Missing a boatload of players, the Hornets weathered the early storm and hit halftime at 0-0. With names like Masina and Ismaila Sarr out of the picture, Watford could’ve been out of it early. But they kept fighting and even controlled the match once down 1-0. Pedro’s jump in front of Jamaal Lascelles to score the equalizer is the perfect story of this game and, if Watford stays up, their season.
3. Magpies need more: There is not a single righteous excuse available to Eddie Howe given that Watford was missing Sarr and he had Chris Wood ready to debut while Callum Wilson was out injured. Howe got his piece of magic from Saint-Maximin and still couldn’t manufacture a win. The Magpies need to chase down Watford, keep Burnley behind them, and now pass Norwich or hope Leeds or Everton fall off a cliff. That doesn’t seem like it’s happening unless Newcastle makes big changes. No one besides Saint-Maximin, Wood, and Trippier is safe.
Man of the Match: Edo Kayembe. A true disruptor, Kayembe made five clearances and had two interceptions while winning five duels. He also had two key passes.
Allan Saint-Maximin deserves better
How long will a man capable of the below put up with the team around him neither supplying invention nor answers?
Let’s hope he asks Eddie Howe some questions this week, because Allan Saint-Maximin is a special breed.
Hornets take invitation to draw
Joao Pedro’s rise to head home Kiko Femenia’s cross honestly feels more about Jamaal Lascelles checking out than it does anything else, but the Magpies center back would’ve been furious with the sight of his team dropping deeper and deeper and deeper until it was in his lap… after the Magpies seized a 1-0 lead at home.
Where was the killer instinct?