Arsenal travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday evening in fine spirits for a clash with Marco Silva’s impressive Watford outfit. A win for either side could see them sneak into the top four of the Premier League table. The Gunners could really do with the victory in order to strengthen their pursuit of league-leaders Manchester City whilst the Hornets will aim to continue their good form that has seen them snatch four points in the final few minutes in their last two games.
If they are to shock Arsene Wenger’s men, Watford will have to arrest their poor displays at home. The Hornets are yet to win at Vicarage Road during the 2017/18 campaign with all three of their league victories coming on the road. The Hertfordshire outfit have only picked up one point out of a possible 12 on offer and their last home game ended in a 6-0 drubbing against Manchester City. This run as a matter of fact, stretches all the way back to mid-April when the Hornets last earned victory at home with a 1-0 win over Swansea.
Their goal-scoring has been impressive though having found the net 13 times in only eight games in all competitions. It is their defending that has caused the most trouble; opponents have found the back 14 times in that period. The team did however manage to recover in their last Premier League clash as they rallied from 2-0 down to earn a point against West Bromwich Albion. They have also become the masters of the late goal; Watford have scored an astounding 35% of their league goals after the 80th minute. The Hornets currently sit 8th in the table and have only lost one league game all season so will need to summon all of their good form to overcome the Gunners.
Marco Silva though does have a few injury worries to contend with as his team prepare to host the Gunners. Isaac Success remains out with a knee injury and is joined by midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah on the treatment table. Defenders Younès Kaboul, Sebastian Prödl and Craig Cathcart are all out through respective knocks. Long-term absentee Tommie Hoban is unavailable due to a cruciate ligament tear. Mauro Zárate is also absent after he joined UAE outfit Al-Nasr on loan. Winger André Carrillo is set to have a late fitness test after returning from international duty.
Top goalscorer Richarlison is expected to be selected again to spearhead the Hornets’ attack.
The Gunners meanwhile head into the clash at Vicarage Road in positive form. After winning their last four games in all competitions, pressure has relieved somewhat on boss Arsene Wenger. The Londoners currently sit in 5th in the Premier League table and have impressed since their tricky start. The team have not lost a game since the 4-0 mauling against Liverpool at Anfield back in September. Wenger’s men have also not conceded a goal in their last four league games with the last clean sheet coming in their previous game; a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger’s men though will be aiming to notch their first away Premier League win of the season at the weekend having not earned victory on the road yet in 2017/18. Their last win on their travels was a 4-1 dispatching of Stoke City back in May. As a matter of fact, they have not scored in any of their last three away games in the Premier League and have only won three out of the last 11. They have also only shockingly taken only 15 points out of the last 45 available away from the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal again though have various walking wounded for the trip to Hertfordshire. Centre back Shkodran Mustafi was injured on international duty and is not expected to return until at least November. Calum Chambers is also out with a hip injury. However, Sead Kolašinac and Laurent Koscielny will have late fitness tests so could be available for selection. Mesut Özil and Danny Welbeck should be included in the match-day squad but Alexis Sanchez is doubtful following international duty. Jack Wilshere could be included on Saturday evening according to Wenger.
Key Facts to Consider:
Watford won the last game between the two 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal have a slightly better record (W14, D1, L11)
The Gunners won the last game 3-1 at Vicarage Road
Watford are yet to keep a clean sheet against the Londoners since 1988
There have been 34 goals scored in the last nine clashes between the two sides
Whilst Arsenal may find it difficult against a Watford side who have been in promising form in the early stages of the season, they should have too much quality for their hosts. The Hornet’s adverse home performances should return and they will struggle to find the net against the Gunners and there will surely be no more late shows for Marco Silva’s men.
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