BY JOHN PAYNE
COMETH the hour, cometh the man. In a post-lockdown world where the sides at the bottom have hardly been able to register a point, a moment of sheer class from Danny Welbeck may well prove pivotal for Watford.
That wonderful overhead kick against Norwich in midweek was the 29-year-old’s first league goal in almost two years and the personal importance goes without saying.
‘I’m pleased for Danny but I know he will just see this as a step in the right direction for himself having had a frustrating time with injury,’ said Hornets boss Nigel Pearson.
But it was at least as important to his club – Watford the first team among the bottom four to register a win since the restart, albeit against the rock-bottom side – and means victory over Newcastle tomorrow will almost certainly keep them up.
Graeme Souness often makes the point about how sides with nothing to play for are the ones you want to play at this stage of the season.
But does that really apply to the Magpies at the moment, at a time when manager Steve Bruce seems to be getting every last drop out of a rather eclectic group of players?
If ever a manager was able to show incoming owners he was in tune with his players, it would be Bruce given the mostly impressive way the Toon have returned to action.
At the heart of that has been French winger Allan Saint-Maximin, the man Bruce describes without too much modesty as ‘the signing of the season’. He has a point, however.
You can’t help feeling the £16million summer buy from Nice would not look out of place at any Premier League club, a maverick talent they have not seen on Tyneside since the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle and David Ginola.
‘He’s like a kid in the playground with a ball,’ said Bruce of his star man, who he will be hoping is fit for the trip to Vicarage Road after missing Wednesday’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City through injury.
With Miguel Almiron and Jamaal Lascelles also on the sidelines, there was no way back after conceding two early goals and they were a shadow of the side that had gone six Premier League games without defeat, four of them since the restart.