Georginio Wijnaldum a bright spot for Newcastle at Watford
Another trip to Vicarage Road for Newcastle United, another defeat for the much maligned Magpies.
Positive recent signs that Newcastle can climb out of the relegation zone with time to spare before the relegation scrap counted for nothing as the Hornets stung Steve McClaren's side for a third time this season.
The usual failings were on show again as Newcastle teased their fans into believing they could get something out of the contest before collapsing at the start of the second half. McClaren's men did finish the game strongly and could have snatched a point, but they made life hard for themselves yet again. It's now 12 defeats in the Premier League for the former England chief, with Newcastle set to start February in the relegation zone.
There could be trouble ahead in 2016 if Newcastle are not careful, but the worrying thing is that the Magpies don't seem capable of stringing an unbeaten run together for longer than three games. With just 15 games remaining that could be a huge problem as the season starts to hit the business end.
The lack of a proven striker has haunted Newcastle all season and the issue was there for all to see at Vicarage Road. Even when the Magpies get the ball into good positions, they don't seem to have anybody capable of reading a pass or a cross before applying the finishing touch.
A short break will follow before the trip to Everton at the start of next month, but between now and then Newcastle have a bit of time to finally bring in a new face. That wait will be tense enough for Newcastle fans but the prospect of not getting anybody in at all is daunting.
McClaren did not look flustered after the game and that might be a good sign with a new player possibly around the corner. However, another miserable away day for Newcastle means that's not much of a consolation.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Rob Elliot, 8 -- Kept Watford at bay in both halves as calls for the player of the season award grow among fans used to seeing the goalkeeper repeatedly bail his team out.
DF Daryl Janmaat, 7 -- Offers so much going forward and put in a few crosses that somebody should have taken advantage of.
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DF Fabricio Coloccini, 6 -- Did not build on recent good displays against Manchester United and West Ham before being hauled off before the end.
DF Jamaal Lascelles, 7 -- It comes to something when a rookie centre-back playing his first Premier League season is you main goal threat.
DF Chancel Mbemba, 6 -- Ended the game on a bit of a tightrope after picking up a needless yellow card for a bad foul. Much better in the middle of defence.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 5 -- Made some cutting runs but seemed to grow tired of his teammates after they failed to convert chances.
MF Jonjo Shelvey, 7 -- A decent display from a player who is new to life at Newcastle, at least looked like he was trying to get the team motivated.
MF Henri Saivet, 5 -- Had a lot of the ball in the first half hour but his performance tailed off after a bright start.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- If Newcastle do stay up they can be thankful to their best outfield player in Wijnaldum, who again put in a good shift.
MF Rolando Aarons, 5 -- Has had a much storied start to his Newcastle career after good displays and notable injuries, but didn't shine at Watford.
FW Aleksandar Mitrovic 5 -- His hold-up play was good in the last two games but didn't take his chances here and offered little presence up top.
FW Ayoze Perez, 5 -- Replaced Saivet in the 59th minute. Had a couple of glimpses of goal but didn't even threaten the keeper.
MF Yoan Gouffran, 4 -- On for Aarons in the 59th minute. Came on to play in defensive midfield but didn't get a grip of the game.
FW Manu Riviere, NR -- Came on for Coloccini in the 88th minute. Sent a later header flying wide in late cameo.
Lee Ryder is the chief sports writer for the Newcastle Chronicle, and follows Newcastle from academy to first team. Follow him on Twitter: @lee_ryder.