Watford vs Arsenal: Match Preview
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Benjamin White of Arsenal and Joshua King of Watford in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 7, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Club Form

Arsenal haven't lost in the league since New Year's Day where they were edged by Manchester City in the closing stages at the Emirates Stadium. Meanwhile the hosts come into this one sitting in the relegation zone and without a win since their shock hammering of Manchester United back in November. With top four firmly in their sights, Arsenal will be expecting nothing but a win here and they have the form to back it up this month, with their league double over Wolves and their solid performance against Brentford.

Team News

Watford have the boost of Kiko Femenia returning to contention for a starting spot from his injury, however, two of their top players in Ismaila Sarr and William Troost-Ekong being unavailable with muscle strains, central defender Nicolas Nkoulou is not too far from a return to training but is not featuring this game.

For Arsenal, youngster Emile Smith-Rowe is back in the team returning following a recovery from Covid-19, a huge boost for the Gunners, having their top scorer back. 

Kieran Tierney pulled up holding his thigh in the victory at Wolves last time out and was substituted, giving Arsenal fans a scare with his injury history, but he was pictured back in first team training, so he is expected to retain his starting spot in the team.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is doubtful for the weekend, recovering from a thigh injury, he picked up an injury in his other leg during this so the Japanese international could miss out again for the visitors.

Mikel Arteta will be dealing with somewhat of a selection headache when it comes to choosing who to play in the attacking options, Alexandre Lacazette will be expected to lead the line, with Martin Odegaard behind him. The real issue will come from who to play in the wide options, Gabriel Martinelli will be available again from suspension and had some fine form despite his two quick fire yellow cards. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe also have some fine form, both getting on the score sheet against Brentford, and Nicolas Pépé has come back from the AFCON a different player, coming off the bench last time out to score the equalising goal against Wolves with a slick turn.

Goalscoring Form 

For Arsenal they have not been shy of hitting the back of the net recently, while Watford have been struggling to find the net, having only scored three times so far in the new year. Emile Smith-Rowe is one goal away from becoming the first Arsenal player aged twenty-one or under to reach double figures since Nicolas Anelka.

Defensively, Watford have been solid, keeping three clean sheets in their last six games, while for Arsenal despite some solid defensive work themselves, they have only kept two clean sheets in the new year.

Ben White has been ever present for Arsenal since joining, he has proved a lot of people wrong, the price tag on him was questioned by many, but he has certainly lived up to the price tag on him especially this month, part of an Arsenal team who were the first team to deny Liverpool scoring at Anfield this season, and it certainly was not for lack of Liverpool trying. 

The Arsenal defence will have to be at the top of their game tomorrow, despite the recent form the of the hosts, they certainly have the potential to cause an upset as the league saw against Manchester United back in November, they are a team who can hit on the counter attack, the boost for Arsenal is the absence of Ismaila Sarr but there is still the threat of Watford's top scorer Emmanuel Dennis who has scored nine times for them this season.

 

 

 

VAVEL Logo