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Season 2018-19
Watford (a) Premier League


Saturday 29th December 2018, 3.00pm.

 Vicarage Road

Conditions: Costly

Admission: 30

Programme: 3.50


Newcastle United

1 - 1




29 mins Christian Atsu picked the ball up and turned neatly before laying the ball out to Matt Ritchie on the left wing. His cross was perfect for Rondon to power home an unstoppable close range header at the back post in front of the Rookery End. 1-0

Half time: Hornets 0 Magpies 1
82 mins 
Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu was given too much time to float a ball across from the Watford right to the unmarked
Abdoulaye Doucoure and the French forward was able to direct a header into the far corner of Martin Dubravka's goal. 1-1

Full time: Hornets 1 Magpies 1

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"It's frustrating. You have to give credit to our players because they're working so hard trying to do the things that we wanted them to do.

"I wouldn't say we had the game under control, but we had chances and were dangerous on the counter- attack so the difference for me is just the final pass. 

"We could have been in better positions and created a clear chance that we didn't have.

"We did well against a good team and they are where they are in the table because they have some good players and who play well. I'm happy with the effort and the work rate of everyone.

"I was very clear today with the way the team was performing is the way we can get the miracle done.

"This group of players were playing really well and doing really well. We have to realise that for us the key has to be the team effort: every player giving 100%. 

"In the first-half they did well but after their substitutions they had better players, at least on paper, and that happens in the Premier League.

"Obviously you are disappointed because it was a great effort from the team. We could have stopped the cross and defended a bit better - but overall I'm happy with the performance and effort. 

"The reaction after Liverpool has been quite positive.

On top scorer Rondon:

"He's doing well so we have to think he will be OK."

"For us, every player is important because you have to make substitutions in different games. You need fresh legs and you need the quality of everyone.

"I think if we make passes and crosses we will score some goals so hopefully we can do the same for him and for the other strikers."

On the absent Kenedy:

"It's a technical decision. I think the other players were training well and I wanted to give them a chance."

On transfers:

"I am happy with the performance today - I don't talk about the transfer window. Hopefully, we can do well against Manchester United."


They Said


Javi Gracia commented:

"I have to choose different players in this moment because we are playing every three or four days. I have to give the chances for all of my players. I have said many times that all my players deserve the chance to play as they work very well. We are a good squad not only a good team. 

"If I don't do it in this moment, when can I do it? It was the moment to change the players as some of them needed a rest. I have to prepare for all the games. Now you see the result you can say that
(I should not have made the changes), but I don't agree.

"It was a difficult game. We knew before the start that after conceding the goal it was even more difficult but we had the possession. We knew we would have the possession but it wasn't enough to control the game all the time.

"We created good chances in the beginning and when they scored their goal it was more difficult for us. We kept going, kept working and we scored one goal. Sometimes to have the possession is not the same as having control. 

"Today we knew Newcastle would defend well. They play on the counter attack well. It's nothing different to what we expected. At the end I am happy with my players. Maybe the game could have another different result, but I am happy with our behaviour and how are we were believing until the end.


NUFC 2018/19 to date - Home and Away:

H: Played 10, won 2, drawn 1, lost 7. GF 7, GA 15.
A: Played 10, won 2, drawn 5, lost 3. GF 8, GA 12.

Although we were successful here in the 2009/10 Championship season, Newcastle are still to win a top-flight game at Vicarage Road in nine attempts (including five in the Premier League).

Salomon Rondon now has six goals this season - five of them in the Premier League - and has found the net in each of his last three PL away games. 

NUFC are a Championship team playing in the Premier League, discuss.... 

29.12.2018 Watford 1 NUFC 1 
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez (Schar), Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden (Shelvey 79),
DiameAtsu, Perez, Rondon.

30.12.2016 NUFC 3 Nottingham Forest 1
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Lazaar), Hayden, Colback
(Diame), Atsu, Perez, Gayle (Mitrovic).

So that's seven players starting both games and one more starting in 2016 and coming on as sub in 2018. 13 of the 14 players featuring in 2016 are still technically on the books at SJP in 2018 - the sole exception being Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Paul Dummett completed a century of Premier League appearances for the club (90 starts + 10 as substitute).

Magpies @ Vicarage Road - all-time:

2018/19 Drew 1-1 Rondon
2017/18 Lost 1-2 Perez
2015/16 Lost 1-2 Lascelles
2015/16 Lost 0-1 (FAC)
2009/10 Won 2-1 Coloccini, Carroll
2006/07 Drew 1-1 Dyer
2006/07 Drew 2-2 (5-4 pens) Sibierski, Parker (LC)
1999/00 Drew 1-1 Dabizas
1992/93 Lost 0-1
1991/92 Drew 2-2 Kelly, Hunt
1990/91 Won 2-1 Anderson, Quinn
1989/90 Drew 0-0
1988/89 Lost 0-1 (FAC)
1988/89 Drew 2-2 Brock, Mirandinha (FAC)
1988/89 Lost 1-2 McDonald (FMC)
1987/88 Drew 1-1 Anderson
1986/87 Lost 0-1
1985/86 Lost 1-4 OG
1984/85 Drew 3-3 Beardsley, Wharton, McDonald
1981/82 Won 3-2 Varadi, Todd 2
1980/81 Drew 0-0
1979/80 Lost 0-2
1978/79 Lost 1-2 Pearson (FLC)
1923/24 Won 1-0 Seymour (FAC)

NUFC's year ending results - last 20:

2018/19 Watford (a) drew 1-1
2017/18 Brighton (h) drew 0-0
2016/17 Nottingham Forest (h) won 3-1
2015/16 West Bromwich Albion (a) lost 0-1
2014/15 Everton (h) won 3-2
2013/14 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2012/13 Arsenal (a) lost 3-7
2011/12 Liverpool (a) lost 1-3
2010/11 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2009/10 Derby County (h) drew 0-0
2008/09 Liverpool (h) lost 1-5
2007/08 Chelsea (a) lost 1-2
2006/07 Everton (a) lost 0-3
2005/06 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2003/04 Blackburn (h) lost 0-1
2002/03 Spurs (h) won 2-1
2001/02 Chelsea (h) lost 1-2
2000/01 Manchester United (h) drew 1-1
1999/00 Leicester City (a) won 2-1




A defensive lapse with eight minutes remaining denied Newcastle what would have been an excellent win over Watford, as they concluded their 2018 fixture programme at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

It was a tale of two headers: Salomon Rondon's close range effort giving his side an interval lead, only for Abdoulaye Doucoure to reply in similar fashion from slightly further out in the closing stages. 

What initially looked like a good away point against the Hornets however was quickly tarnished by added time winners for fellow strugglers Cardiff City and Fulham, leaving Rafa's side just four points off the relegation zone and eight ahead of basement side Huddersfield Town.

Christian Atsu, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon were all recalled after missing the Boxing Day trip to Anfield, Yoshinori Muto and Joselu dropped back down to the bench and both Kenedy and Shaun Longstaff were omitted from the matchday squad.

Playing on a ground where they had never recorded a top-flight victory and in bizarre warm weather (12 degrees), the Magpies were second best in the opening stages; Martin Dubrakva applauded by the Toon contingent behind his goal after denying Gerard Deulofeu with his feet in the 16th minute.

At the other end, Rondon had one effort ruled out for offside and another in similar circumstances after the Venezuelan had given his side a 29th minute lead. 

That came when Matt Ritchie's left wing cross was played to the far post, Rondon getting ahead of his marker to head in a fifth Premier League goal of the season from close range.

The goal visibly boosted United's confidence and they began to assert themselves in midfield, Isaac Hayden and Mo Diame both showing some welcome solidity as the visitors began to dictate the tempo better. Aside from the assist for the goal, Matt Ritchie also had his best game for a while.  

A hip problem meant that Federico Fernandez was unable to continue and Fabian Schar took his place for the second half, United seeking a second goal rather than trying to close out the game. 

Rondon remained the focus of the attack and at times was almost single-handedly occupying the Hornets defence, receiving good support from Christian Atsu - whose energetic display was in total contrast to the fitful contribution of Perez throughout. 

There was a first sighting of Jonjo Shelvey in six games when he appeared from the bench, but the midfielder looked less than fully fit and in no mood to take any risks.  

Having spent most of the game on his backside in pathetic attempts to win free kicks, Isaac Success was joined by Troy Deeney and Doucoure as the Hornets belatedly swarmed forward.

However their equaliser was still slightly unexpected, with just eight minutes left when Doucoure was allowed far too much room head past Dubravka following Deulofeu's centre from the right. Replays showed Schar remonstrating with Shelvey for failing to follow the goalscorer's run into the area.

Both sides had chances to claim the victory; Rondon laying the ball off for DeAndre Yedlin to blast just wide before Doucoure missed the target at the other end when well placed and Dubravka denied Success at the end of time added on.

United remained 15th in the Premier League but results elsewhere made the table look worse than at the start of the day, Sunday's four games further muddling the picture at the bottom:


Team P W D L GD Pts
13 Brighton 20 7 4 9 -5 25
14 Crystal Palace 20 5 4 11 -9 19
15 Newcastle 20 4 6 10 -12 18
16 Cardiff City 20 5 3 12 -19 18
17 Southampton 20 3 6 11 -17 15
18 Burnley 20 4 3 13 -22 15
19 Fulham 20 3 5 12 -25 14
20 Huddersfield Town 20 2 4 14 -23 10


Page last updated 31 December, 2018