Arsenal vs Watford Preview: Decisive week for the Gunners starts off at home to the Hornets in the Premier League

Arsenal vs Watford Preview: Decisive week for the Gunners starts off at home to the Hornets in the Premier League

Arsenal will be aiming to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea on Tuesday night with a win against Watford at the Emirates.

matt_sheppard
Matthew Sheppard

By Saturday afternoon, if results go Arsenal’s way, then they could find themselves two points off Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.

Arsenal though, must make sure they see off a Watford side, who haven’t won a league game since December 10th, on Tuesday night at the Emirates.

Big week for Wenger

Arsene Wenger made wholesale changes at the weekend as Arsenal cruised into the 5th Round of the FA Cup, with an emphatic 5-0 victory away at Southampton. Wenger though is expected to bring in first team regulars ahead of Tuesday’s game.

Wenger is also currently serving a four game touchline ban following an incident with fourth official, Anthony Taylor in the home win over Burnley, where the Arsenal boss pushed Taylor in the heat of the moment. Tuesday night will be Wenger’s second of the four game ban.

This is the start of a massive week for Arsenal, where they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this Saturday lunchtime, in what is set to be their biggest game of the season so far. Though first, the Gunners need to do the business against Watford on Tuesday.

Sanchez on fire

Since Arsenal suffered back-to-back defeats away to Everton and Manchester City back in December, the response has been near perfect from the Gunners. Four wins and a draw since those defeats has seen Arsenal rise to 2nd in the league, hot on leaders Chelsea’s tails.

Though Arsenal owe a lot to star man Alexis Sanchez for their current form. The Chilean is the joint top goal scorer in the league with 15, along with Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

Sanchez has scored in each of Arsenal’s last three league games, including the vital last minute penalty at home to Burnley last time out. It’s not just the quantity of Sanchez’s goals, but it’s the manner of them, coming at crucial moments in games to all but win games for the Gunners.

The Chilean also scored one and assisted one for Mesut Ozil when the two sides met earlier this season in the league at Vicarage Road, where Arsenal recorded a 3-1 victory.

If Arsenal are to make it six home wins in a row on Tuesday night, then they will need Sanchez to be his usual, energetic self, as the Gunners have become so heavily reliant on the Chilean.

Sanchez celebrating his last gasp winner against Burnley last time out in the league. (Image by Getty Images/Stuart MacFarlane)
Sanchez celebrating his last gasp winner against Burnley last time out in the league. (Image by Getty Images/Stuart MacFarlane)

Watford stuck in a rot

The Hornets head to the Emirates this Tuesday hoping to put an end to their woeful run of results recently in the league, where they last picked three points up back on December 10th.

Ever since star man Roberto Pereyra was ruled out for the majority of the season with a bad knee injury, Watford have declined massively. Performances offensively and defensively have been pretty poor, their most recent disappointment came at the hands of Millwall, where they exited the FA Cup in a shock defeat on Sunday.

Star strikers, Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have miserably failed to recapture the form of last season, which saw them rated as one of the most deadly duos in the league. Ighalo’s future has been thrown into doubt recently, with talks of a move to China escalating.

Deeney looks dejected as his and Watford's form has been pretty grim. (Image by Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths)
Deeney looks dejected as his and Watford's form has been pretty grim. (Image by Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths)

Walter Mazzari’s side had such a flying start to the season, which saw them record a famous win over Manchester United in September and saw them sit very comfortably in the top half of the league.

Since then, it’s been pretty bleak for the Hornets as they continue to slide down the table, and look precariously over their shoulders at the teams below them.

Team News

Arsenal will be glad to welcome back star men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to the starting XI on Tuesday night. Ozil was rested against Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday and Sanchez played a cameo role off the bench.

Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny will also return to the squad for the Gunners after they were also all rested on Saturday.

Petr Cech should also return between the sticks after David Ospina featured yet again in a domestic cup competition for the Gunners at the weekend.

Granit Xhaka will still be absent from the squad as he serves his second of his four match ban following his red card against Burnley. Whilst, Mohamed Elneny is also still unavailable as his Egypt side have reached the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

As for Watford, they might be tempted to hand new signings M’Baye Niang and Mauro Zarate debuts at the Emirates.

The Hornets also hope to have key midfielder Valon Behrami back following a back injury.

Though, Watford will be without Costel Pantilimon through injury and also defender Jose Holebas misses out through suspension. 

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