Isaac Success

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PL Preview: Watford v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has six away wins in a row, one off its club record
  • Watford has never failed to win any of its first 11 league games
  • The 12 PL meetings between these 2 clubs have featured 40 goals

Chelsea could equal its club record of seven successive away victories across all competitions as they visit Vicarage Road to take on Watford at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The Blues are in spectacular league form, winning four straight Premier League matches by a combined 11-3 scoreline, including two clean sheets and two four-goal performances. Frank Lampard‘s youth revolution necessitated by the transfer ban has been a smashing success, with young players like Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Fikayo Tomori all contributing to the results.

Watford, meanwhile, sits bottom of the league table thanks to the deadly combination of a leaky defense and a toothless attack, unable to put it together on both ends of the pitch at the same time. They have yet to win a Premier League match this season, and one more failure to secure three points would mark the first time in any league campaign that Watford failed to win any of its first 11 matches. The Hornets have improved defensively of late, conceding just one goal in their last three matches, but at the cost of the attacking threat, scoring just once in that span as well.

Injuries/suspensions

Watford: QUESTIONABLE – Isaac Success. OUT – Troy Deeney, Etienne Capoue, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley.

Chelsea: QUESTIONABLE – None. OUT – N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger (hip).


Projected lineups

Watford: Foster; Holebas, Dawson, Cathcart, Janmaat; Doucoure, Hughes; Deulofeu, Chalobah, Pereyra; Gray.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Alonso, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pulisic, Mount, Willian; Abraham.


What they’re saying

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores on current form: “It has been a lot of work, trying to get everybody together, to make sure the boys understand our predicament and the difficulties that can affect a team in this kind of situation, and to give them confidence and find solutions to problems.”

Chelsea boss Lampard on Watford’s situation: “I’m very much of the mindset that games become more dangerous with overconfidence. We must understand Watford and their quality. Last season their personnel was similar and they were getting big results, they made the FA Cup final. We cannot underestimate a team that will be hurting because they have not won for a while. They will have every ambition to win this game, so I’m even more focused on what we need to do.”


Prediction

These are two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to form. Chelsea should easily shake off the EFL Cup loss to Manchester United and run this Watford team ragged, with a 4-0 victory sending them back to London flying.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Watford

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  • Manchester City looking to bounce back after stunning loss to Norwich City
  • Watford enjoyed thrilling comeback draw last weekend v. Arsenal
  • Manchester City have won their last 11 meetings with Watford in all competitions, scoring at least twice in each match and 38 times in total. 
  • This will be the fourth managerial meeting between Pep Guardiola and Sanchez Flores but the first in England. Sanchez Flores won the first match as Atletico Madrid manager in February 2010 against Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Coming off the club’s first Premier League in 19 matches last weekend, Manchester City returns home to the friendly confines of the Etihad Stadium to face a team they’re quite familiar with in Watford. (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

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Man City of course obliterated Watford, 6-0, in the FA Cup final last May, but it’s a new Watford with Quique Sanchez Flores in charge. Watford as well looked the best it had all season in the second half of last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, though that very easily could have just been because Arsenal’s midfield was non-existent in that half.

In any case, it all shapes up to be an exciting match, especially if new Watford signing Ismalia Sarr can get a start and run at Man City’s makeshift backline. Then again, if Raheem Sterling is back to his usual clinical self, it could be a long afternoon again for the Hornets.

Injuries/suspensions

Manchester City: OUT – Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Leroy Sane (knee); QUESTIONABLE – Phil Foden (illness)

Watford: OUT – Craig Cathcart (muscle), Isaac Success (groin), Troy Deeney (knee)


Projected lineups

Manchester City: Ederson – Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko – Gundogan, Rodri, Silva – Sterling – Aguero, De Bruyne

Watford: Foster – Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas – Capoue, Cleverly, Dacoure – Pereyra, Sarr, Deulofeu

What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on striker Gabriel Jesus after his goal in mid-week v. Shakhtar Donetsk: “It’s difficult to find anywhere in the world a striker like Gabriel. The number nine for Brazil, his behaviour in training is outstanding and he has to fight with one of the best strikers I have ever seen in my life in Aguero [for a place in the side]. I will not find a player like Gabriel. To sub Sergio you have to have a top player. I am so delighted with the strikers. When Gabriel plays, he does absolutely everything. Like he did in Ukraine, not just for the goal, he fights and plays.”

Quique Sanchez Flores, on last week’s comeback v. Arsenal: “We have good feelings. We need to make sure we don’t go too much about this match as the next one is completely different. It is not a time to talk about how many shots or how many attempts we had. It is time to be realistic. We still need to change the dynamic – this is the first step and then change for the next opponent.”


Prediction

Manchester City will be ultra focused this weekend to get back to winning ways, and even with a makeshift centerback duo, there’s still more than enough attacking firepower to demolish Watford. The Hornets looked better last week after making the coaching change during the international break, but this will be a step back for Watford.

Man City 3-0 Watford

Newcastle splits spoils with Watford

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Newcastle United overcame a second minute concession to draw wasteful Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes had Watford ahead, but Fabian Schar leveled the score line and both squads had to be bailed out by goalkeepers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.


Four things

  1. Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
  2. Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
  3. Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
  4. Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.

Man of the Match: Joelinton


Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Magpies very much grew into the game from that point, with Isaac Hayden particularly influential and dangerous. His 59th minute rip was parried out for a corner by Ben Foster.

Watford was content to counter in the final half hour, and Dubravka made a terrific intervention to deny Isaac Success but conceded a corner.

Yoshinori Muto was played through by Joelinton after a fine tackle by the forward, but the Japanese striker could not find his angle.

PL Friday Preview: West Ham, Watford looking to stay in top ten

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European competition next season may be out of reach, but a top-ten finish for West Ham and Watford is a distinct possibility as we head towards the home stretch of the regular season. This week of Premier League action is kicked off with a London derby between West Ham and Fulham and Watford visiting Cardiff City.

[READ: The 2 Robbies discuss Man City and Liverpool in the Champions League]

West Ham v. Fulham — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

One notable name that has been missing from West Ham’s lineup all season could finally be back in the gameday squad. Manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed that Argentine international Manuel Lanzini, along with Samir Nasri, could both feature in West Ham’s match against Fulham on Friday. The 26-year-old midfielder has been out ever since suffering a devastating ACL injury while in World Cup training camp with Argentina.

Whether he’s ready to go 90 minutes is unclear, but West Ham certainly needs him. The squad has lost five consecutive matches in all competitions, with just four goals scored. The strikers haven’t been able to finish very well recently, but the lack of a creative midfielder has really hurt the Irons in the most important sectors of the field.

Fulham meanwhile are in serious trouble with just 12 matches remaining. Fulham is eight points behind Cardiff City in the top spot outside of the relegation zone.

INJURIES: West Ham —  OUT: Jack Wilshere (ankle); PROBABLE: Samir Nasri (calf) | Fulham — OUT: None; PROBABLE: None


Cardiff City v. Watford — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Watford enacted a little bit of revenge last week after defeating former manager Marco Silva and Everton. This week, it’s arguably a tougher task.

Cardiff City supporters have helped will their team to three-straight victories, after the tragic plane crash carrying footballer Emiliano Sala. Cardiff has poked its head out of the relegation zone, and will be desperate for another home victory. Watford, meanwhile, is looking to solidify a place in the Premier League’s top ten.

Interestingly, all ten of Watford’s wins this season have come with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the starting eleven.

INJURIES: Cardiff City —  OUT: None; PROBABLE: None | Watford — OUT: Kiko Femenia (hamstring); PROBABLE: Roberto Pereyra (hamstring), Isaac Success (hamstring), Sebastian Prödl (hamstring and knee)

Hosts Watford snare late point v. Newcastle United

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  • Magpies claim 4 of 6 pts from Hornets
  • Super sub Doucoure scores
  • Dubravka makes several big saves
  • Rondon opens scoring

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Salomon Rondon traded goals as Watford came back to draw Newcastle United 1-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The point keeps Newcastle 15th with 18 points, while Watford is ninth with 28 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Isaac Success won an early dangerous free kick for Watford, but the wall did its job in the face of Gerard Deulofeu‘s effort.

Salomon Rondon had the ball in the goal but was defied by a tight offside call before a chance at the other end; Deulofeu found himself 1v1 with Martin Dubravka in the 16th minute, but the Newcastle keeper made a fine block to keep the match scoreless.

Newcastle took the lead in the 29th minute, as Christian Atsu slid Matt Ritchie down the left wing and Rondon headed the Scot’s cross past Ben Foster for 1-0.

Rondon had another in the goal, but was offside again. He’d have a hat trick if not for the arcane rule.

Dubravka saved a Success rip from distance as the Hornets looked to get it level before the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Mohamed Diame gave away a free kick on the edge of the 18 in the 46th minute, but Roberto Pereyra‘s hit was blocked by the wall.

Doucoure gave the hosts a goal in the 82nd minute, as Deulofeu’s cross was headed past Dubravka.

Rondon laid the ball down for a DeAndre Yedlin shot in the final five minutes, but the American’s vicious effort was off frame.

Doucoure and Success both missed chances to win it late for the hosts, who next travel to Bournemouth. Newcastle hosts Manchester United in its next fixture.