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Arsenal Vs Watford PL Preview

Kickoff – 1330GMT

The first steps have been made in forgetting the awful form we’ve had recently, with our impressive 2-0 win against Milan in the San Siro, now we take on Watford in a bid to arrest our slide away from the top4.

This is looking to be an insurmountable task. Our neighbours sit in 4th spot, a massive 13 points better off than we are, with only 27 points left to play for. In realistic terms, we need to win our remaining games, and hope tottenham or Liverpool implode in order to sneak into the coveted Champions League spots.

Before we even begin to think about the implications of such an elaborate plan, we need to win a bloody game domestically first. That starts against the Hornets.

Watford have enjoyed a good recent run against us, beating us the last time we played at The Emirates. We also had the Troy Deeney episode, where the burly striker claimed it was our lack of – for want of a less savoury term – Jacobs, that meant we were easily steamrollered, rather than contentious decisions.

With this season going the way it is, Deeney is looking like he could be right, but we have a chance to right a wrong here too.

Watford’s new boss Javi Gracia is still seeking to find his best layout for his team, especially defensively. They won their last game, 1-0 against bottom side West Brom, but they were far from convincing. Indeed, before Deeney struck the sole goal of the game, West Brom could easily have been ahead. It is evident that the Hornets are far stronger in attack than in being watertight at the back, and if that lends itself to an open game, it also increases our chances too.

We’ll have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back after being cup-tied for the Europa League, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil looking to have found some form in our win over Milan, we could stretch Watford thinly across The Emirates turf. Alex Iwobi could come back into the side to rest Jack Wilshere, as Arsene Wenger will be loath to upset a winning side for the return leg on Thursday.

Granit Xhaka has played a large amount of consecutive games, but Aaron Ramsey is just coming back from injury, so it is tough to call which player will be rested, with Mohamed Elneny most likely coming in to replace. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an outside call for a midfield spot too.

Our Spaniards, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, both missed out the trip to Milan, and both are outside bets to make this game, with Bellerin a little more likely to return, given his less severe complaint. Laurent Koscielny could be rested too, but his performance against Milan’s attack spoke of a man returning to some form. Rob Holding stands by.

Watford boss Javi Gracia has an embarrassment of riches in attack. Troy Deeney will most likely lead the line, but Stefano Okaka and Andre Gray are both excellent options. Ricardo Peyreyra, Richarlison, Carillo and even Abdoulaye Doucoure are all threats from their respective positions too. If they want to funnel play wide and isolate our full-backs, they’ve got the personnel to do so. We’ve got to be switched on at the back.

This is something that’s been bereft in our play, minus our showing on Thursday. Jack Wilshere talked in the media about using the Milan performance as a barometer, that we must play like this every game. He’s spot on. We need that level, as we’ve shown that when we dip, we can’t skate by and pick up points.

So, let’s get another win and attempt to string together a run that we so badly need toward the end of the season. Redeem yourselves boys – oh yeah, and try and get Cech his 200th clean sheet? It’s been dragging on for far too long! #UTA

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Chambers, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Aubameyang

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 to The Arsenal

Watford Vs Arsenal Preview

The Premiership returns for us Gooners with a match that is far harder than it looks on paper.

Travelling to the home of Watford is a real test for our team, and our injury list means it is that little bit tougher.

Shkodran Mustafi is part of the trinity that has earned four clean sheets on the spin. The German has injured his hamstring during the international break and is set to be missing for at least 4-6 weeks. This means a shuffle that could have ramifications for our defensive record. Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny will be looking to either Rob Holding or Per Mertesacker to fill in. 

Then Arsene Wenger held his press conference and admitted that Laurent Koscielny is doubtful for the game. If the Frenchman does miss the game, we needn’t worry about the personnel coming in to replace him, but we should carry a little fear regarding the rhythm of our backline. A shuffle means this is sometimes lost and we cannot afford to be missing anything.

Especially with a resurgent Watford lining up against that. Marco Silva has overseen a large improvement, so much so that his side have only lost one game so far. Quite impressive. They sit just one point behind us too. They are the real deal, but they can be gotten at.

The solitary loss was a hammering against Man City. Watford’s defence is probably the weaker of the parts that compromises the team, and our attack can crack them, if they are on song. 

It is good news then, that Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil are both fit. Welbeck will probably be on the bench, but can Ozil get his place back in the team? Alex Iwobi has played so well since playing in the German’s stead, and if form sits above reputation, then Ozil will have to wait to get his place back. The probability is though, that Ozil will be back in.

We are sitting outside the top4 on goal difference. We have recovered from the Liverpool debacle, but a mere recovery isn’t enough. Top sides go on and continue to build momentum, and that is something we must do.

This game looks to be a tight one, and very much in the category of those types of game that is won even under duress. It is said to be the mark of a true team, so the result could either fill us with confidence or remind us of our frailty. 

Watford won the last fixture between us, and it was at The Emirates. In fact, they have won two from the last five games against Arsenal. They have real talent in Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra, Etienne Capoue and especially the young Brazilian Richarlison, so it is lucky that we have the ever-reliable Nacho Monreal still fit and firing. Anything is possible with the Spaniard in the team.

Now the international games are over for a while, the games for our side will come thick and fast. We have a midweek game and a Premier League game every week until after our game versus Manchester City on the 5th of November. Seven games in just 24 days. 

Our squad must be looked after. Every injury could cause huge ripples. Time to bust out the cotton wool. 

Good thing Jack Wilshere is fit….

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Watford Vs Arsenal Preview

The Premiership returns for us Gooners with a match that is far harder than it looks on paper.

Travelling to the home of Watford is a real test for our team, and our injury list means it is that little bit tougher.

Shkodran Mustafi is part of the trinity that has earned four clean sheets on the spin. The German has injured his hamstring during the international break and is set to be missing for at least 4-6 weeks. This means a shuffle that could have ramifications for our defensive record. Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny will be looking to either Rob Holding or Per Mertesacker to fill in. 

Then Arsene Wenger held his press conference and admitted that Laurent Koscielny is doubtful for the game. If the Frenchman does miss the game, we needn’t worry about the personnel coming in to replace him, but we should carry a little fear regarding the rhythm of our backline. A shuffle means this is sometimes lost and we cannot afford to be missing anything.

Especially with a resurgent Watford lining up against that. Marco Silva has overseen a large improvement, so much so that his side have only lost one game so far. Quite impressive. They sit just one point behind us too. They are the real deal, but they can be gotten at.

The solitary loss was a hammering against Man City. Watford’s defence is probably the weaker of the parts that compromises the team, and our attack can crack them, if they are on song. 

It is good news then, that Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil are both fit. Welbeck will probably be on the bench, but can Ozil get his place back in the team? Alex Iwobi has played so well since playing in the German’s stead, and if form sits above reputation, then Ozil will have to wait to get his place back. The probability is though, that Ozil will be back in.

We are sitting outside the top4 on goal difference. We have recovered from the Liverpool debacle, but a mere recovery isn’t enough. Top sides go on and continue to build momentum, and that is something we must do.

This game looks to be a tight one, and very much in the category of those types of game that is won even under duress. It is said to be the mark of a true team, so the result could either fill us with confidence or remind us of our frailty. 

Watford won the last fixture between us, and it was at The Emirates. In fact, they have won two from the last five games against Arsenal. They have real talent in Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra, Etienne Capoue and especially the young Brazilian Richarlison, so it is lucky that we have the ever-reliable Nacho Monreal still fit and firing. Anything is possible with the Spaniard in the team.

Now the international games are over for a while, the games for our side will come thick and fast. We have a midweek game and a Premier League game every week until after our game versus Manchester City on the 5th of November. Seven games in just 24 days. 

Our squad must be looked after. Every injury could cause huge ripples. Time to bust out the cotton wool. 

Good thing Jack Wilshere is fit….

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Arsenal 1-2 Watford – 5 Lessons to Learn

Yet again, we have been burned by our inability to start strongly.

Or rather our refusal to. We have seen the destruction our team can cause when we go at teams from the first whistle, yet we continue to hold back and invite pressure. We allow teams to breathe, to dictate – and the result is there for all to see.

This result though, is probably our worst this season. Watford were on the back of seven winless games. They were a lame dog, turning up to the home of title-chasing Arsenal. They would have been expecting an onslaught, to sit back and soak up the pressure, and hopefully pose a problem on the break.

Instead, our lack of impetus meant that the Hornets were given the freedom of The Emirates. Within ten minutes, they had grabbed the lead. 

A free-kick given away needlessly by Gabriel meant that Younes Kaboul was given license to swing away with his boot. It knicked a deflection from Aaron Ramsey and it spun away from Cech’s despairing dive. 

Watford had grabbed the initiative, as it seemed to all and sundry as if Arsenal really didn’t want to. Then, three minutes later saw Watford double their lead.

Etienne Capoue was bossing the centre of the park, and his drive toward Arsenal’s box was unhindered. He let fly and was denied by Cech, but he could only parry to Troy Deeney, who was waiting with intent three yards out. 

Two goals to the good – and the only positive that could be grabbed was that it had happened so early in the game it allowed the Gunners plenty of time to get back into the game.

Instead, the rest of the half comprised of Watford going close to extending their lead. 

This was insipid stuff from the home side. The half time whistle blew, and boos rang out from the stands. It was deserved.

The second half saw the expected and needed revival from Arsenal. Whatever Arsene had said in the dressing room worked, as the gears clicked and Watford were camped in their own third.

Chances for Alex Iwobi and second half sub Theo Walcott were saved, and Mesut Ozil was also denied by Gomes in the Watford goal. 

Where were these players in the first half? Where was this vibrancy we can just choose to flick on and off? Why turn it off in the first place?

Arsenal did grab a goal, as Alexis crossed for Iwobi to put away the chance, but we would not grab an equaliser. Lucas Perez – who also came on in the second half for Francis Coquelin – was denied by the crossbar.

We now sit nine points behind Chelsea, and we play them in the weekend. If we play anything like this, then our title hopes are over before they have even began. As it stands, we are on the periphery. Win or bust at The Bridge.

There was plenty to ruminate on in this game, but here are five lessons we must learn from:

Coquelin and Ramsey do not work together still

Coquelin was hooked early, and that speaks volumes. It may be due to putting in extra attacking resources with Lucas, but Coquelin had a rare off-day where he didn’t do what he normally does, and that is to provide an extra line of defence. Then there is the partnership with Ramsey. It was devoid of pace, and the duo does not take it in tandem to attack and defend. The chemistry just isn’t there. Ramsey needs the right partner to allow his best play – but more often than not he is found wanting. Coquelin does the defensive work well – normally – but is severely limited everywhere else. He is a great squad option, but in terms of central midfield – we need an overhaul. 

Gabriel has not evolved

The Brazilian is still the athletic but slow to react defender that we bought two years ago. He was rash then and he still is which is a massive weakness in this league. He can duke it out with the most physical strikers in the Premiership, but when it comes to defensive nous, positioning and using your head? Gabriel is found wanting.

Lucas and Theo need to start 

The Spaniard has capitalised on every rare occasion he has taken to the field. Theo offers us something no one else does in our team. It is clear our attack needs a bit of a lift, and these two deserve a run in the side. 

Bench Ozil and Alexis




















Before you lynch me, please read what I have to say. These two players are capable of destroying anyone in European football almost single-handedly. So when they put in performances of which we have just witnessed, it is clear something is missing. Both were rested in the weekend, so fatigue is not an issue. It may have been just a bad game, but when Lucas, Theo and Welbeck are pushing for games as hard as they are right now, then maybe a wake-up call is needed. If a starting berth is guaranteed, then maybe displays will dip every now and then by 5%. Alexis has done more than most this season, so this latest game and his efforts really do seem far worse by comparison. Mesut Ozil flitted and passed and looked for openings, but where is that player that eviscerates defences with a single pass? Where have his goals gone? It is time to play players on form.

Cech back on form

Cech kept the scoreline in the first half to a level where thousands of Gooners did not spontaneously combust. If it weren’t for the Gunners keeper, Watford would have strolled to the dressing room leading by four goals. Can you imagine? Cech’s save from Sebastian Prodl’s header was spectacular, and his denial of Daryl Janmaat was vital. He may be awful at stopping spot kicks, but Cech’s mastery in between the sticks should not be ignored. He never lost it. 

There was more to dwell on, but we lost and I feel it is best to not focus too much. There is need for change in the team though. With Ramsey injured, it means Oxlade-Chamberlain will be in the centre of midfield. He has shown massive improvement this season, and his dynamism may prove to be the shot in the arm we need.

Up next – top of the league Chelsea. I hate football. 

Arsenal Vs Watford – The Warm-Up

The last week has been dominated by FA Cup matters, but today sees a return to the bread and butter of our season, as Watford visit The Emirates in our next Premier League match tonight.

Our last match was a satisfying one to say the least. An emphatic 5-0 scoreline, a return to fitness and form for two of our foremost attackers and the defeat of a team who had developed the knack for dumping us out of competitions meant that it was smiles all round – even for the absent Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners gaffer will again be missing from the dugout as this is his second match of four that he will miss through his four match touchline ban. His absence didn’t seem to affect his players though, even though Wenger will have done all of the preparation for the game before kickoff. 

Wenger will have been given some headaches after the 5-0 FA Cup win, as he will have some big shouts from some of his players to start this game. 

Theo Walcott returned to the side in style with a treble, and we have played our best football with the England man in the team. Will two games in four days be too much for his calf? This workload will probably mean the other hero from the weekend – Danny Welbeck – will be rested. 

Mohamed Elneny’s Egypt have continued their AFCON adventure, so it means Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey are the only recognised central midfielders in stock -if you discount who comprised our engine room against Southampton.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ainslie Maitland-Niles were ever so effective together, but more than likely they will both be out of the side for the aforementioned midfielders. Lucas Perez was also in excellent form, but Olivier Giroud and Alexis will likely return to the team, as well as Mesut Ozil.

Laurent Koscielny was rested for the weekend, with a view to this crucial Premier League double header with Watford and Chelsea. Petr Cech will also come back into the team, and he will be facing his former side on Saturday. A return to his previous form would be a plus.

Watford are falling quickly down the table, and Hornets boss Walter Mazzarri has dumped some sandbags to lighten the load. Odion Ighallo has been sold for the ludicrous amount of £20m, and Adlene Guedioura is off to Hull City. They did bolster their side though, with a loan move for AC Milan attacker M’Baye Niang and Mauro Zarate who has had spells at Birmingham City and West Ham.

Watford are a real test, and we have seen the devastating effects that taking our foot off the pedal can incur. We cannot take this lightly with one eye on the Chelsea fixture. Dropped points here and the game at Stamford Bridge will matter little. Chelsea play Liverpool in midweek, and this carries a real possibility of dropped points for the League leaders. It is imperative we can close the gap if the chance arises. 

Arsenal are in deceptively good form though. We haven’t conceded from open play in seven home games, and Watford have not won in seven games home or away. This means on paper that this should be a home banker.

The problem is, we are Arsenal fans and that means we all know there are no such things. 

If we play well, then we should go into Saturday’s crunch match full of confidence. 

Predicted Lineup: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.

Predicted Scoreline: 3-0 to Arsenal. 

Watford 1-3 Arsenal: 5 Things We Learned

Mission accomplished.

This game was billed as a must win at a ridiculously early stage of the season, but with the early pacesetters 5pts ahead before kickoff, the gap could not be allowed to stretch.

So this meant that a win at Vicarage Road was vital, but with Watford playing so well against Chelsea one week previously, it was evident it wouldn’t be a cakewalk – even if Arsenal’s Premier League record against the Hornets is unblemished in the last 7games.

So, a vital victory, but what can we take from the game, other than maximum points? Here are some facts that were underlined during the game:
Xhaka is up to speed:

We had enjoyed mere whiffs of his class in his appearances thus far, but the Swiss battler put on a show for the travelling fans in this game. Full of running, tackles on point, and speedy, efficient distribution. Exactly what was advertised when we purchased him.


Alexis on fire






He may consider a new piece of equipment at the gym as a holiday, but Sanchez seems to be nearing full throttle after yet another action packed summer with Chile. He scored one, assisted another and earned the penalty after giving Nordin Amrabat a torrid time. Wonderful to witness.


We have missed Özil & Santi

Özil scored on his return, with a header that looked effortless. It wasn’t the finish that should draw the plaudits though. His run into the box was exquisite, and no defender was aware of his presence. The German ninja is so adept with his spacial awareness, that it allowed him a header unchallenged. Santi was the perfect foil for Xhaka, always a willing outlet to relieve pressure, and we look so much more capable with both of these men in the side.


Cech isn’t finished








People who doubted one of the finest keepers the League has ever seen, should feel fickle and foolish. The stopper was responsible for keeping the pressure off his team, as he stopped Watford grabbing a second goal which would’ve meant for a tense last section of the game. The becapped Czech will do it again this season too, and earn us his fair share of points.


Holding can be scarily good

Again, the 20yr old, in only his 3rd PL app, showed resilience beyond his years. He may yet be ousted by the incoming Mustafi, but if he is this good at 20, just imagine where he could be at 28? The sky is the limit.
Watford gave a good account of themselves, and if Cech wasn’t on form, or if the finishing was a little less errant, then they could have snatched a late draw – but that would have been undeserved. 

The first half showing from our team was welcome for two reasons. One, they showed that the intricate passing, and dynamic movement which is meant to be our forte, is still within our grasp when we need it. Secondly, it was great to see us finally go at a team in the first half, rather than be reactionary and leave it until the last 30mins.

There is still work to do, but we all know what we are capable of, and it was great to see us fizzing the ball around. First victory of the season, we are up and running. 

Watford Vs Arsenal – Match Preview

Two games into the season, and the voices of dissent can already be heard. 

Defeat in the first game of the season against Liverpool, followed by a hard fought goalless draw away to champions Leicester have seen Arsenal fail to register a win – and now trail the clubs at the top of the table by five points.

Victory over Watford therefore, is imperative, but the Hornets will be no pushover. 

Walter Mazzarri’s side pushed Antonio Conte’s Chelsea all the way last week, slipping to an agonising late 2-1 loss, and the Italian will ensure that the Gunners will have to up their game if they wish to gain maximum points.

In terms of team news, Arsene Wenger will continue to be without Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey, both injured in the first game of the season, adding to the already crocked Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck and Gabriel.

In terms of team changes, it is unclear whether Mesut Ozil will have acquired enough match fitness to start the game, after making a cameo in the stalemate at the King Power stadium last weekend, but he and Olivier Giroud have every chance of jumping straight into the team.
When asked about the duo, Wenger yesterday said he had a decision to make on whether Ozil starts, but that Giroud was a little behind in terms of fitness.

Joel Campbell is now on loan at Sporting Lisbon, and there are murmurs of Calum Chambers being allowed to acquire minutes elsewhere on loan also, so expect Rob Holding to continue alongside the imperious Laurent Koscielny.

Alexis Sanchez will be in the team in one position or another, be it the sole frontman, or on his more familiar wide role. The Chilean has lacked a cutting edge thus far, but as ever it is not through a lack of effort. Expect a big game from the South American.

Led by Quique Sanches Flores last season, they pushed us hard before succumbing in both games, as well as dumping us out of the FA Cup, with more or less the same squad they possess now.

Odion Ighallo will continue to lead the line, and is off the mark for the season after netting in their defeat at the hands of Gillingham in the EFL Cup. Etienne Capoue is enjoying a purple patch too, with two goals in two PL games, so whoever is on sentry duty in an Arsenal shirt will have to be fully aware of his position.

It is unclear whether new signings Roberto Pereyra and Daryl Janmaat will make their debuts for the Hornets, but whoever makes the team, what is underlined is that three points must be taken from Vicarage Road.

Jack Wilshere was the third substitute alongside Giroud and Ozil last week, and the England man will be keen to get more minutes today, but Mohamed Elneny, Santi Cazorla, Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin will be in pole position to play in his central midfield position. Plenty of options in the centre of the park, but a selection headache is exactly what top clubs need to navigate a gruelling season.

Wenger has some decisions to make before kickoff.

Predicted lineup: 

Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin, Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Giroud.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 Arsenal.

Arsenal Vs Watford – Match Preview

After an excruciating two week hiatus imposed on us by meaningless international friendlies, normal service resumes today with the return of Premiership football.

With the Premier League kicking back into gear, we also have a chance for a little revenge as Watford visit The Emirates – the scene for the Hornets ending Arsenal’s long unbeaten run in the FA Cup last month with a 2-1 victory.

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Continue reading Arsenal Vs Watford – Match Preview

Arsenal Vs Watford – FA Cup Quarter-Final Preview

Hang on, didn’t we play Hull in the FA Cup a week ago?

Yes, and thanks to fixture congestion and some scheduling from the FA, Arsenal once more dust themselves off to defend the Cup they have held since 2014. Tomorrow’s opponent? Quique Sanchez Flores’s Hornets side.

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Continue reading Arsenal Vs Watford – FA Cup Quarter-Final Preview

Arsenal 3-0 Watford – Testing Times but Class Prevails. A Match Review.

Another three goal winning margin – the last three league games have reaped the same dividend – not to mention another clean sheet doesn’t tell the whole story in what was an intriguing ninety minutes. The 3-0 win over Watford tells a captivating story but was partially written by the home side.

After the 5-2 hammering over an in-form Leicester City side and the fantastically pure 3-0 win over old adversaries Manchester United, hopes were high that another win was on the cards that would enable Arsenal to keep pace with top of the table Manchester City. What was a telling factor before the referee blew his whistle for kick-off was Watford’s impressive defensive record – they boasted the joint meanest amount of goals conceded.

Continue reading Arsenal 3-0 Watford – Testing Times but Class Prevails. A Match Review.