The Premier League resumes this weekend after an unusually interesting round of international fixtures when Watford host one of the big boys in the league in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. The Hornets have been touch and go in the league so far, yet have been resilient and grinding out results, especially at Vicarage Road where they will look to pick up as many points as they can to ensure survival. Sánchez Flores’ team sit comfortably in mid-table with two wins, four draws and just two losses in eight games, have accrued half of their points in front of their supporters and go into this match on the back of an away draw at Bournemouth.
Arsenal turned on the style last weekend when Manchester United came to town and literally wiped the floor with Van Gaal’s men scoring three quickfire goals inside the first 20 minutes, winning the game 3-0 at full-time. The resounding victory lifted Arsenal higher up the table and closer to the summit as they are now placed just behind league leaders, only two points separating them and Manchester City. Their odds were also slashed to win the title with bookmakers such as https://sports.betway.com. Arsene Wenger, who talked at length about his legendary career at Arsenal and his future at the club in the annual Arsenal General Meeting. The Frenchman said,
“I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave.”
While this has been the strongest Arsenal have been in the last few years, the manager should be doing his utmost best in what could be his final two seasons at the club, to bring back the league title after not doing so for more than a decade now.
Watford would be boosted by the return of Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami from suspension, though there is still some issues over an injury to the midfield general. Ikechi Anya had to pull out of international duty with Scotland but should be fit for the game on Saturday. Jose Manuel Jurado remains out with a hamstring injury.
Arsene Wenger will be hoping that all his internationals come back fit and that they build on the performance against Manchester United. Defender Per Mertesacker could be fit for Saturday after missing out on the best part of September while Koscielny will require a late fitness test prior to the game.
- Watford have the lowest shot conversion rate (8.6%) and shooting accuracy (34.3%) figures in the Premier League this season.
- Alexis Sanchez has scored five times in his last two league appearances.
- Watford have only conceded three goals in their last six top-flight matches at Vicarage Road.
- The Gunners have won their last five meetings with the Hornets in all competitions, including all four previous Premier League clashes.
Key Men Comparison
Odion Ighalo (Watford) v Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Ighalo is absolutely key for Watford due to the simple and plain fact that he’s scored the last five goals for the Hornets in the Premier League. Sanchez Flores’ side have been fairly rock-solid at the back having conceded just three goals in the last six outings which suggests the problems lie on the other side where they have been equally stingy. They will need to score more than a goal to beat the top sides even at home and Arsenal certainly fall into that camp meaning Watford will have to improve their paltry shot conversion rate (8.6%) and shooting accuracy (34.3%) figures in the Premier League this season (lowest in the league).
Theo Walcott looks to be enjoying his football again in his preferred position, up top on his own, scoring and creating goals for the fun of it. The Englishman has been central to Arsenal’s explosive attacking play at times, scoring 12 and creating three in his last 14 Premier League starts. With Sanchez back doing what he does best, win games single-handedly, it seems Walcott has upped his game as well, playing at a level he was always expected to play, on a more regular basis, which is why he could be really influential on Saturday.
Arsenal are usually good on the road and enter into a crucial stage in the season. I’d expect them to win this one, quite comfortably, despite Watford’s resistance at home.
Watford 1-3 Arsenal