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Newcastle United 0-3 Watford - The worst performance of the Benitez era

Newcastle United sank further towards the relegation places after being hammered by Watford at St James' Park. 

Newcastle United v Watford - Premier League
This picture sums up Newcastle's day.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Newcastle started off pretty well, and both Joselu and Matt Ritchie were presented with half chances. First, Jacob Murphy burst down the left and cut the ball back for the Spaniard, who seemed to fall over his own feet. Ritchie then fired a shot wide from the right hand side.

Dwight Gayle looked dangerous early on, and he almost carved out a goalscoring opportunity for himself, but after taking an excellent touch in the Watford penalty area, he was closed down by a number of defenders and could not get his shot away.

The Hornets looked very good on the counter attack, and the warning shot was fired when the brilliant Richarlison forced Rob Elliot into a fine save.

Moments later though, Marvin Zeegelaar got down the left and his cut-back was finished by Will Hughes into the far corner. Very very poor defending from the Magpies. 0-1.

Newcastle United v Watford - Premier League
Will Hughes made it two goals in two games for the first time in his career.
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Almost instantly, it should have been two. Zeegelaar again found himself in acres of space and picked out the arriving Abdoulaye Doucoure, who somehow scuffed wide from six yards.

The Magpies struggled to get any sort of momentum going in the first half, but Joselu did force Hurelho Gomes into a decent save from his curling effort.

On the stroke of half-time, Newcastle went from being in the game, to ultimately being out of it. Zeegelaar was again given too much space down the left and his cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by DeAndre Yedlin. 0-2.

The players made their way back out for the second half, but it was much of the same, with Watford getting in behind the Newcastle defence far too easily. Florian Lejeune completely missed the ball, allowing Andre Gray in, but the striker bizarrely put his shot wide, with just the keeper to beat.

Again the French defender was guilty of mistiming his interception, and on this occasion Richarlison snuck in behind and laid the ball on a plate for Gray. Only for Javier Manquillo's intervention, it would have been three.

The former Burnley man did not have to wait too long to get his goal though. Richarlison was simply too hot to handle for the Toon defence and he provided the cross for Gray, who slid to finish past Elliot. Nobody seemed to be marking him whatsoever.

Newcastle had some attacks, and it seemed to be Jacob Murphy at the heart of everything. He played a beautiful pass into Joselu, who found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but totally messed up his finish again. That proved to be his last involvement.

Newcastle United v Watford - Premier League
Jacob Murphy was the only Newcastle player to emerge with credit.
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

His replacement, Aleksandar Mitrovic looked much more lively. First, he was played in by Jonjo Shelvey, but his attempted cut-back to Gayle was halted by Christian Kabasele. The Serbian then had a chance of his own, but once more the colossal Belgian did well to block Mitrovic's shot.

In between those two chances for Newcastle, they were lucky not to be four down. Gray again was played through, but only for poor finishing, he would have had at least a hat-rick.

A very very bad day for Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez. After a bright start to the season, they look bang up against it now. West Brom on Tuesday night will be tough, despite the fact that they are about to appoint Alan Pardew as manager (I have to find something to smile about after this game).