On April second, Watford travel to Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal. The Hornets will be looking to put the final nail in the coffin on Arsenal’s title challenge. After a disastrous month of March, the Gunners will look to turn their form around in April. They still have title aspirations, but they’re hanging by a thread. Currently 11 points off top with a game in hand, Arsene Wenger’s men can’t afford to drop any more points if they want to win the league.
Arsenal will be missing quite a few players through injury, but their one piece of good news is that Petr Cech should be fit to play after about a month out with a calf injury. They will be without the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Aaron Ramsey who are all out with varying injuries. The sliver of good news there is that both Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are back in full training, while Aaron Ramsey should be back in the team next week.
Watford have most of their squad fit for the match with only three injury question marks. Both Valon Behrami and Sebastian Prodl have illnesses that could keep them out, while Joel Ekstrand has a hamstring injury. All three of them will undergo late fitness tests.
- Arsenal had their six match winning streak against Watford broken last month when the Hornets knocked them out of the FA Cup 2-1.
- Watford will look to keep things tight at the back as they have the best defensive record outside of the top seven, but the joint third worst scoring record in the league.
- Arsenal have really struggled to score at times this year, and have actually scored only 19 league goals at home, fewer than 19th placed Newcastle United.
- They do have the second best home defensive record in the league though with only 10 goals conceded in 14 games.
Arsenal: Danny Welbeck
After missing nearly an entire year through injury, not much was expected of Danny Welbeck this season. Instead of easing his way back into the first team, he’s become a guaranteed starter, scoring four goals in nine appearances (only five of which were starts). The Gunners have benefitted from having Welbeck’s mobility up top and his ability to interchange with other forward players to create a more fluid front four. The Englishman has made himself one of the more important players in this current iteration of the Arsenal team, and will hope to continue his good run.
Watford: Odion Ighalo
Watford have relied on a rigid defensive 4-4-2 for their success this season, and the strike partnership of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney has flourished. In the FA Cup victory over Arsenal, it was Ighalo’s opening goal that led Watford on to their eventually 2-1 win. The goal was created when the Nigerian brilliantly pinned and turned Gabriel. Only Aguero, Kane, Vardy, and Lukaku have scored more non penalty goals than the Nigerian this season, and he’ll hope to add to hiss tally this weekend.
Arsenal are desperate for a result here, so they’ll probably get it. They’ve looked better with the front four of Welbeck, Iwobi, Ozil, and Alexis, and in the past few seasons, they’ve got results they desperately need more often than not.
Prediction: 2-1 Arsenal win