Few changes are expected to the Arsenal side that beat Napoli as Unai Emery looks to keep the momentum going against Watford.
Arsenal pay a visit to Watford in the Premier League as Unai Emery eyes a return to the top-four with a win over the Hornets. The manager would also want to retain his side’s momentum which they sought in their fantastic win over Napoli just a few days back. But, in Watford, they face the familiar threat of an away game, an area which has not been Arsenal’s strongest suit this season.
Emery, however, will be looking to make a few changes to the midweek lineup, with replacements expected in defence and attack. Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka has returned to training, but it remains to be seen if Emery uses him immediately against Watford, for the Swiss could be an asset for their midweek away trip to Naples.
Sokratis is definitely out of the game as he starts to serve the first of his two-game suspension in the league. Shkodran Mustafi, therefore, is expected to keep his place in central defence with Laurent Koscielny set to make his return to the Premier League after a two-match absence. In central midfield, one man who is expected to start is Aaron Ramsey.
In the aftermath of Arsenal’s win over Napoli, Emery spoke at length about Ramsey and his career at the club. Citing his importance for the remainder of the campaign, Emery said that the Welshman is a key player for him.
“It was not easy for him after he signed [for Juventus] to finish thinking about his future, but his focus is to help us, and his attitude has been amazing towards each training session. He is available for each match, playing in different systems and different tactical positions for him.”
Bernd Leno is set to return to the lineup after Petr Cech took over in the Europa League tie. Emery will continue using a three-man defensive unit at the back, but with Sokratis absent through suspension, Koscielny will come into the side to replace the Greek. Partnering him would be Mustafi and Nacho Monreal.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has established himself as Arsenal’s current right wing-back and should continue against Watford. Sead Kolasinac is the only option to play a wing-back role on the opposite flank and should keep his place there.
Ramsey’s impressive form means he will continue in central midfield, while Emery could let Lucas Torreira keep his place after impressing against Napoli. Torreira is also coming back from a three-match domestic ban and should start ahead of Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi.
There could be changes to Arsenal’s attacking three, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette expected to be benched in a bid to keep them fresh for the Napoli clash. Taking their places would be Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, both of whom will play in support of central striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.