Arsenal will be hoping to build a platform based on their impressive win against AC Milan in the Europa league and avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in the Premier League when they host Watford at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger might well be pleased with the manner Arsenal won against AC Milan in midweek, but in Watford, they face a side who are looking for a double over the Gunners this season. More importantly, Wenger would want to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in the Premier League after losses to Spurs, Man City and Brighton in the past weeks.
Watford come into this game without a fight for relegation, meaning they have nothing much to lose with this tie. However, Watford have an impressive record against Arsenal at the Emirates, as they are hoping to become only the third side to win back-to-back Premier League games here.
Watford’s record of 4 wins in their last seven games at the Emirates might be a bother to Wenger, but that’s not the only concern for Arsenal over the weekend. They lie 13 points adrift of a top-four place, which looks highly unlikely now. On top of that, there are many injury concerns for Arsenal heading into this game.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal have some injury concerns heading into the Watford game. Hector Bellerin, since being benched for the Brighton clash and having missed the AC Milan game hasn’t yet recovered from the knee ligament problem, hence would be absent for the Watford game.
Nacho Monreal will also miss the game as he too is yet to recover from the injury he sustained during the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City. Alexandre Lacazette has returned to light training following his knee surgery in early February, but will not feature against Watford.
Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac both went off injured against AC Milan and will be assessed late before the game but remain doubtful. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be drafted back to the starting-XI after missing the Milan game through ineligibility.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3): Cech; Chambers, Koscielny, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles; Ramsey, Xhaka, Wilshere; Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Watford’s injury list dwarfs the Arsenal list, as the Hornets have a long list of players out injured and are unlikely to play any part against Arsenal. Cathcart, Chalobah, Deulofeu, Hoban, Holebas, Kabasele, Kaboul, Sinclair, Cleverley and Wagué, all feature on that list.
On the positive side, Cleverley has returned to training for the first time since getting injured in January but will be way short of featuring against Arsenal. Other than that there is nothing new to add to the Watford squad.
Watford’s problem away from home in 2018 are scoring goals. They are still searching for their second of 2018 and are hopeful Troy Deeney continues his brilliant run of form in front of goal. Deeney has been instrumental for Watford in their last two games, scoring the winner against West Brom and Everton in a 1-0 win against both sides at home.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1): Karnezis; Janmaat, Prodl, Mariappa, Zeegelaar; Doucoure, Capou; Carrillo, Pereyra, Richarlison; Deeney
- While Petr Cech’s search for a 200th clean sheet goes on, Arsenal have gone 11 games without keeping one in the Premier League, their longest run since 1988.
- Watford have won two of their last three games played at the Emirates in all competitions.
- Watford have only scored solitary away goal this year.
- Since beating Arsenal 2-1 last January, Watford have lost six games played in London.
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.66
2. Watford Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.675
1. Troy Deeney to score anytime @ 3.50
Player To Watch Out For
After signing for Arsenal in January amid much controversy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started life at the Emirates in style, scoring his debut goal against Everton in a 5-1 victory. Since then things have gone quiet for the pacey Gabonese striker, although he did score in Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton last weekend.
If the Gunners are to finish the rest of the season strongly, then Aubameyang needs to step up his game and get more involved against opposition teams. Against Watford, especially in a home tie, a ground is set for him to prove his worth to the Emirates faithful by scoring goals.
Arsenal 2-0 Watford
Arsenal, this season, have won all their nine games against teams outside the top six at the Emirates. Considering that, as well as Arsenal’s form at home this season, it will be tough for Watford to break their defence and score goals.
Additionally, Arsenal do not want to create unwanted history, especially in the Premier League. That, with Arsenal’s attacking quality would see them through the game as winners.