After a rough start to the 2016/17 Premier League season, Arsenal travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford.

Arsenal began the season with a shambolic 4-3 home defeat to Liverpool. They followed it with a drab and goalless affair against defending champions Leicester City at the KC Stadium.

Due to a number of injury concerns and lack of new signings, Arsene Wenger’s side find themselves in a heap of bother, languishing in 13th position. A win against Watford could see the Gunners move into the top half as they look to re-establish their title credentials.

Their opponents on Saturday are in dire need of a win as well. A draw and a loss from their first two games was not the start Walter Mazzarri expected from his Watford side, and will be looking to turn the fortunes around for his side.

Strikers Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo haven’t scored so far, and Etienne Capoue has had to chip in with the goals. Thus, the weekend’s game against Arsenal could be the perfect time for the two forwards to open their accounts for the season.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Francis Coquelin of Arsenal moves the ball away from Troy Deeney of Watford during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road on October 17, 2015 in Watford, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Francis Coquelin of Arsenal moves the ball away from Troy Deeney of Watford during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road on October 17, 2015 in Watford, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Possible Lineups

After not starting in the first two games of the season due to an extended break after Euro 2016, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud are expected to return to the side. Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez have both struggled playing as out-and-out number nines, and Wenger is hopeful that Giroud will regain his touch and start finding the back of the net regularly.

Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla are expected to form a midfield pivot, with Francis Coquelin on the bench. Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding impressed last time around against Leicester, and are likely to start as centre-backs.

Etienne Capoue has been in sublime form for the Hornets and will be one their key players in the game. Despite going into the contest as clear underdogs, Watford can be optimistic due to Arsenal’s recent struggles. Strikers Deeney and Ighalo will be looking to wreak havoc in the Gunners penalty area, keeping the defenders on their toes.

Ars Wat

The midfield battle is bound to play a key role in this game. Xhaka and Cazorla have not spent too many minutes as a pair on the field, and their lack of experience in playing together may work against Arsene Wenger’s side.

On the other hand, Capoue, Behrami and Guediora have looked as a settled trio at the heart of midfield and will be looking to overpower Arsenal’s midfield. However, given Mesut Ozil’s ability to constantly switch positions with the players around him, Behrami is likely to be caught off guard.

Sanchez and Chamberlain would provide much needed width for Arsenal and with Hector Bellerin playing on the overlap, a number of attacks can be expected from the right flank.

Marrazzi’s side are expected to play a containing brand of football and hit Arsenal on the break with the help of their wing-backs. Capoue, too, has been vital in his box-to-box role and would be closely tracked down by Xhaka. All in all, it could turn out to be a feisty affair.

Key Stats

  • Watford have lost all six of their games against Arsenal in the Premier League, although they did beat the Gunners last season in an FA Cup quarter final match (2-1).
  • Indeed, Watford haven’t beaten Arsenal in league competition since a 1-0 win in April 1988, courtesy a goal from Rick Holden.
  • Etienne Capoue has scored in both of Watford’s Premier League games this season – no Watford player has scored in each of their opening three top-flight matches within a season.
  • Arsenal have collected one point from their opening two Premier League matches of 2016-17; their lowest tally at this stage since 2011-12 (also one point).
  • The Gunners’ lowest points tally after three Premier League matches in a season is one point, also set in 2011-12. They finished that season in third place
  • Arsenal have been drawing at both half time and full time in their last 4 away matches.

Player to watch out for

Olivier Giroud

Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud reacts during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on August 20, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud reacts during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on August 20, 2016. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

The much maligned Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud goes into this game with a point to prove. He ended last season as the club’s leading goal scorer, but went on a barren spell where he failed to find the back of the net for 14 games in a row.

Also, with the recent arrival of striker Lucas Perez from Deportivo, a couple of bad games may see Giroud relegated to the sidelines. He will be looking to make amends for the ghosts of last season by putting in a spirited performance against Watford on Saturday.

Prediction

Watford 1-1 Arsenal

Arsenal go into the game as clear favourites, but their recent performances suggest that it will be far from easy to get the job done. Wenger seems to have settled on his defence, but going forward, he is still looking for his best possible bunch of players.

Meanwhile, Watford impressed for most parts of the game against Chelsea and were unlucky to come out of the game without any points. However, with a little more organisation, Mazzarri’s side may push the Gunners to the limit and pull off a draw.

Betting Odds

Another game which could see cards flying out. Watford have seen 7 cards in total over 2 matches while Arsenal have received 5. That means an average probability of 6 cards which is surely way over the line of 3.5 cards being provided by bet365.

Watford have seen the arrival of their club record signing while Arsenal, even though, being close to securing a striker and defender, both would be unavailable for selection for this weekend.

Watford have been in good shape in the two matches thus far and Arsenal’s defensive frailties could result in an unlikely Watford triumph which would mean Arsenal would open their account with just 1 point from 3 matches.

Favourable Bets:
1. O3.5 cards @ 1.80
2. Arsenal Clean sheet – no @ 1.57
3. Both Teams To Score – Yes @ 1.90

Underdog Bets:
1. Watford Draw No Bet @ 4.00
2. Full Time Draw @ 3.75

Leave A Comment...

*