Arsene Wenger will want his Arsenal side to continue their recently found form as they face a tricky away fixture at Watford on Saturday.
Arsenal were in heaps of trouble in the beginning of their Premier League campaign. However, 10 points from the last four games have seen them catch up to the other title aspirants, with Arsene Wenger starting to see his players gain some form and morale ahead of some crucial matches.
Watford have been on a tear under Marco Silva. Only a solitary defeat in the 7 Premier League games to date, the manager seems to have settled in nicely and it looks like he has all the tools for success at Vicarage Road. But, they are in for a real test as Arsenal pay them a visit on Saturday.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Marco Silva will continue to be without several of his first-team players. But, there is good news on the injury front, with Sebastian Prodl and Younes Kaboul close to returning to full fitness. And while the duo will still be unavailable for the Arsenal game, Andre Carrillo could be available subject to a late fitness test.
Marco Silva could also ring in some changes to his lineup, with Andre Gray gunning to take the striker spot back in his grasp. If Carrillo is unavailable, we could see Stefano Okaka or Roberto Pereyra being deployed out wide or the manager might spring up a surprise with Daryl Janmaat on the right side of the attack.
Watford have played attractive football in the present Premier League campaign thus far and are likely to continue doing so on the back of their pivot of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has been one of the standout stars for the club.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Femenia, Kabasele, Kaboul, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Carrillo, Cleverley, Richarlison; Gray
Arsenal have their own share of injury concerns to worry about. Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny are a doubt. But, the duo, along with Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil all trained ahead of the clash and some of the aforementioned players are expected to be available for the game.
Shkodran Mustafi though, is out for a considerable time after suffering a thigh injury during the international break. Alexis Sanchez could also return to the bench, with the player expected to arrive late from international duty and with Wenger hinting that the Chilean might not be in the best frame of mind.
Fans have been wanting to see Jack Wilshere return to the fold on a regular basis and the English international has shown signs of the same. Arsene Wenger’s possession and passing style-based is something that Wilshere embodies and with so many injuries, the English midfielder might just get his chance on Saturday.
Mesut Ozil could start behind Lacazette. But, if the German is benched again by Wenger, we might see Wilshere being fielded in the advanced position with a pivot of Xhaka and Ramsey.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Cech; Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Wilshere; Lacazette
1. Each of the last six meetings between Watford and Arsenal have seen at least 3 goals.
2. Arsenal have not failed to trouble the scoreboard in any of their 10 meetings with Watford in all competitions.
3. Arsene Wenger has won eight of his 10 matchups against Watford in all competitions, losing the other two.
4. Watford have made their best start to a Premier League season after seven games.
5. Troy Deeney is without a goal in his last 13 appearances – his longest drought in the Premier League.
Player To Watch
We already touched upon the topic to an extent above. There is an air of expectancy around Jack Wilshere’s talent again. A fit Wilshere has shown just how good he is in the Europa League and the cup games so far. And with so many injuries to boot, Wenger might just opt to give him a start, perhaps in an advanced position.
The midfielder exudes class and excites onlookers. And on Saturday, he may have the chance to prove he is not just a talent but one Arsenal and perhaps even England can rely upon going forward. Watford are a tricky side and Wilshere will have to compete against the strength and tenacity of Doucoure and Capoue.
But, if he is up for it, we could see a Wilshere masterclass at Vicarage Road.
Watford 1-3 Arsenal
The Gunners have put together a small run. But, Watford have had their best start to a Premier League season. The match is sure to be an entertainer for the fans. But, Arsenal have a real chance of proving they are genuine title contenders with a win over Marco Silva’s side.
Despite the flurry of injuries to both sides, we should expect a high octane game and a good level of football on display at Vicarage Road. And it should be Arsenal who come out on top, convincingly. We are going for Arsenal to win by a two-goal margin, with Alexandre Lacazette to score and Jack Wilshere to shine.