Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Prediction: Watford vs Arsenal

Prediction: Anytime goalscorer – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: 888Sport

Quique Sanchez Flores has a tough examination in his first game back in charge of Watford as Arsenal travel to Vicarage Road.

The Spaniard replaced compatriot Javi Gracia in Hertfordshire last week and will be aiming to get his second tenure off to the perfect start with a victory against another compatriot, Unai Emery.

Watford

On the face of things, it was extremely surprising to see Gracia depart Watford considering that only a few months ago, he had led them to an FA Cup final, albeit having been hammered by winners Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. However, the form table, and indeed the Premier League table, is not pretty reading for the Hornets. The team have only won two out of their last 13 games in Premier League action, with their 1-1 draw against Newcastle United last time out arresting a run of six consecutive losses. As a result, they now sit bottom of league with only one point out of their opening four matches having only managed to find the net twice.

Whilst Sanchez Flores was a somewhat surprise choice to take the reins at Vicarage Road, if his first spell is anything to go by, Watford should be safe this season. In his solitary year in charge, the now 54-year-old masterminded a 13th place finish in the league in what was their highest finish in the top flight since 1987. One aspect that he will have to improve though is their defending. The Hornets have not managed to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League since a 1-0 success against Everton in February.

Team News

Troy Deeney remains absent for Watford as he continues his recovery from a knee injury. Meanwhile, defender Craig Cathcart is also still ruled out with a thigh problem. Record signing, Ismaila Sarr, is yet to make his full debut for the club so will be hoping for a start on Sunday.

Arsenal

Despite their relatively positive start to the season, Emery’s Gunners are now two without a win following their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby before the international break. In honesty, they did have an excellent opportunity to claim the three points having dominated the majority of the match – an aspect that Emery and supporters alike may hold some regrets. Nonetheless, the team could potentially go third in the Premier League table with a victory, something that would be extremely positive at this point in the season. One aspect that they do need to work on though, like their opponents Watford, is their defensive discipline. Only West Ham United have conceded more goals than Arsenal’s six in the top half of the Premier League.

Supporters will also be hoping that they can also banish their awful form away from the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners have only won five out of their last 17 matches on foreign soil, something that they must improve on as they go to Vicarage Road.

Team News

Emery has been dealt a big blow to his task of getting Arsenal back into the Premier League top four with forward Alexandre Lacazette having been ruled out of action until at least the end of October. However, there is somewhat more positive news elsewhere, with Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Kostas Mavropanos all edging closer to returns. The trio will not quite be ready for this weekend’s match however. Joe Willock could be set to return to action at Vicarage Road.

Key Facts To Consider

  • Arsenal have a better all-time head-to-head record between the two sides (W17, D1, L12)
  • The Gunners won the last clash between the teams 1-0 in April
  • The Hornets have fallen to defeat in each of their last three games against Arsenal without scoring
  • Unai Emery has only ever managed to beat Quique Sanchez Flores once as a manager
  • Watford have not gone nine games without a win in the Premier League since 2007

Conclusion

New Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores will want to put down a marker in his first game back at Vicarage Road and there could well be a much improved Watford performance. The team will hopefully take inspiration from the Spaniard’s historical record against Unai Emery. Nonetheless, it will be tough against an Arsenal side aiming to get back to winning ways with plenty of attacking players able to hurt the hosts. Arsenal should collect the three points in Hertfordshire.

Prediction: Anytime goalscorer – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: 888Sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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