Emirates Stadium - Premier League
Arsenal host Watford at the Emirates on Sunday, with the Gunners looking to build on the high from their win over AC Milan on Thursday night. That victory halted a run of four straight defeats for Arsene Wenger’s side, which should still serve as some form of optimism for the visiting Hornets.
There’s further cause for optimism for Watford after their recent results against Arsenal. They’ve won the last two meetings between the sides 2-1, although the Gunners won seven of the eight games before that. The other result in that run was another 2-1 Watford win, which came at the Emirates in the FA Cup almost two years ago to the day.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to return to the starting XI after missing the trip to Milan. He is cup-tied in the Europa League, although Danny Welbeck was impressive in midweek and should retain his place in the side. Alexandre Lacazette is still out with a knee injury, although Nacho Monreal could be fit to play.
Javi Gracia is still battling with a lengthy injury list, and has doubts over as many as 11 players ahead of this tough trip to north London. Kiko Femenia is closest to being ready after an illness, with Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Tom Cleverley, Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Nathaniel Chalobah among the absentees.
Arsenal v Watford Preview and Predictions
If Wenger’s reign at the Emirates is hanging by the thread of his team’s Europa League campaign, then his players did him proud at the San Siro. Watford would’ve preferred it if Arsenal had slumped to another demoralising defeat, but they should take heart from their recent back-to-back wins over the Gunners.
Thursday’s result should see confidence flowing through Arsenal’s players once again after a dismal run, and they have some making up to do with their supporters after a pair of abject performances against Manchester City was followed by the loss at Brighton. The Gunners are now 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, so the Europa League is now integral to their season, if it wasn’t already before that is.
Arsenal are 8/15 for the win in this one, and they should have too much for Watford if they show the same application they did against Milan. The visitors are 6/1 to take all three points back to Hertfordshire, as they continue to look upwards in the Premier League table instead of down. The Hornets are four points off what’s likely to be a place in next season’s Europa League, and a draw at 4/1 wouldn’t be too bad given the circumstances.
Arsenal to win and both teams to score at 37/20
Despite an impressive defensive display at the San Siro, the Gunners remain suspect at the back and the likes of Troy Deeney will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet.
Watford to win 2-1 at 20/1
Or back the visitors to make it a hat-trick of 2-1 victories against Arsenal, with the odds increasing to 90/1 with Deeney as the first goalscorer.