Arsenal take on Watford at the Emirates in a crucial encounter on Saturday, with a win possibly taking the Gunners up to fourth on the Premier League table.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery will want the team’s winning run going and will be expecting all three points against Watford when the Hornets visit the Emirates. A win could result in Arsenal displacing Watford from the fourth spot they currently occupy and would mark a successful turnaround for Emery & co. after losing the opening two games of the season.
Emery made significant changes to his starting lineup for Arsenal’s midweek Carabao Cup clash. Many of those starters are set to be replaced by Premier League regulars. A more notable change from that lineup would be Danny Welbeck who is set to return to the bench despite his brace against Brentford.
Emery, over the last few times he spoke to the press has been stressing on the idea of keeping the group closer, together as much as possible, with the prospect of playing so many games in the season. But, nowhere during his customary pre-match press conference did he mention any specific team changes for the Watford game, only focusing on the challenges that the visitors will pose for Arsenal.
“We’re going to continue working on our ideas with our work every day and also the focus is only on the match tomorrow against Watford. Each game is very difficult, and we are also looking at our game against Brentford on Wednesday for this game.”
“Against Watford is the same, we will have the same focus, the same ideas and the same preparation so we can give the best performance. We are working in this direction.”
Emery though, should ring in the changes once again, starting with Petr Cech, who should come back in the side in place of Bernd Leno, who started against Brentford. While the German has been solid enough, Cech’s heroics last weekend against Everton mean the veteran goalkeeper will be a sure starter against Watford.
In defence, Hector Bellerin is likely to replace Stephan Lichtsteiner, despite the Swiss international being solid on the right side of the Arsenal defence. On the opposite flank, Emery does not have any other option but to start Nacho Monreal, with Sead Kolasinac still unavailable.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns from injury, as it turned out he had only suffered a dead leg instead of any severe damage. The Greek will, hence feature from the start and will likely be partnered by Shkodran Mustafi.
Lucas Torreira is set to return to the side as well, replacing Matteo Guendouzi in midfield, with Granit Xhaka the other returnee who is expected to form a partnership with the Uruguayan and replace Mohamed Elneny.
Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang are all set for a return to the starting lineup as well, replacing Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Emile Smith Rowe. Up front, Danny Welbeck who scored two goals against Brentford is expected to be replaced by Alexandre Lacazette who is set to continue his role as Arsenal’s central striker.