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Arsenal vs Watford Preview | Team News & Key Players

Arsenal are riding high after winning four straight Premier League matches and six straight matches overall. While they have not played particularly well in any of their Premier League matches, they have been getting results. They’ll look to continue that against Watford, but the Hornets have started well themselves. The Gunners will have to hope they find some continuity in Emery’s system for this match, or they could risk dropping points they need to be competitive in the fight for the top four.

After winning their first four matches, Watford have started cooling off, not winning any of their last three matches in all competitions. Still, they have started the season much better than expected and should believe that they can take points off Arsenal. The Gunners have looked quite vulnerable, so this could be the chance for them to get back on track.

Team News

Sead Kolasinac was on the bench against Brentford on Wednesday for the first time since his knee injury, but the Gunners are not at full strength. They are still without Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos, according to Physioroom.com.

Watford will be without Tom Cleverley, Stefan Okaka, Miguel Britos and Sebastian Prodl as they are all out with various injuries, according to Physioroom.com. They may also be without Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu as they are both doubts, according to Physioroom.com.

Key Players

Arsenal: Granit Xhaka

According to some research done by Michael Caley, Watford have won more open play turnovers in the opposition’s half than any other team this season. In other words, they’ve been doing a lot of pressing. Xhaka’s passing is vital to Arsenal’s ball progression and their ability to create chances, but he is not particularly press resistant. In fact, it’s one of his main weaknesses. Watford are likely going to go after him, knowing this weakness. It will be vital for the Gunners that he can avoid giving the ball away in dangerous positions and still just as effective at progressing the ball.

Watford: Roberto Pereyra

Watford’s pressing is probably their most interesting quality to far, but a big part of their success is they’ve got their talented attacking players to work together. Pereyra, Deeney and Andre Gray have all been playing better this season than they did last season and all have double-digit shots this season. None of them have put up spectacular numbers this season, but the three of them being solidly good has been enough. Pereyra is probably the most talented of the three and could cause the Gunners trouble by creating chances for the other two or for himself.


This seems to be the time where Arsenal’s luck runs out. They’ve been getting results, but they have not been playing well. This will likely not keep up and Watford are probably better than the other four teams in the four game run, though Everton is arguably as good.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Follow me on twitter @The_Jersey_Fitz.
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