Friday, April 19, 2019

Prediction: Watford vs Arsenal

Verdict: Watford draw no bet

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Arsenal will attempt to bounce back from their woeful defeat at Everton and stay in the thick of the crowded race for a top-four finish as they return to Premier League action against Watford on Monday night.

Watford

Starting with the hosts, pulling off the most dramatic of late comebacks to pick up a 3-2 win over Wolves at Wembley last weekend and booking their spot in the final of this year’s FA Cup, the mood in Watford’s camp couldn’t be any higher. Winning three of their last four across all competitions and still dreaming of a late push for that lucrative seventh-place finish, a huge part of the Hornets’ continued success this season has come thanks to their performances at Vicarage Road. Enjoying a three-match winning run in front of their own supporters and picking up victories over the likes of Leicester and Everton, Javi Garcia’s side are yet to be beaten on home soil since Boxing Day. In what is becoming their most successful campaign in recent memory, another win for Watford on Monday would see them win four consecutive top-flight matches at Vicarage Road since 1986. One man to watch for Garcia’s side will be last weekend’s match winner, Gerard Deulofeu. Bagging a brace at Wembley last time out, the former Barcelona man now has six in his last eight across all competitions.

Team News

Watford will be without Jose Holebas, Domingos Quina and Tom Cleverley.

Holebas suffered a hamstring injury during the FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves, Quina has a shoulder injury and Cleverley a calf problem.

Arsenal

As for the visitors, coming off the back of a very impressive showing in their 2-0 win over Napoli in midweek, Arsenal will be dreaming of a Europa League semi-final next month. While Unai Emery’s side have now won four of their last five appearances across all competitions, the Gunners currently find themselves sat down in sixth and three points adrift of climbing back into the top four. If the former PSG boss is to see his side make a return to the Champions League this season then he will know that his team must improve on their struggles away from the Emirates. Suffering a 1-0 loss away at Goodison in their last performance on the road, Arsenal have won only two of their last 12 away matches in all competitions and have picked up just a single Premier League victory on their travels since the 25 of November. It is also worth noting that the Gunners have remarkably failed to pick up a single clean sheet away from the Emirates this season.

Team News

Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos begins a two-match ban for accumulating 10 bookings.

Granit Xhaka has a groin injury and will be assessed ahead of the game, while Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin remained sidelined.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford came from behind to beat Arsenal in the corresponding match last season, with Tom Cleverley scoring a stoppage-time winner.
  • Watford have won three successive home league games and haven’t lost at Vicarage Road since Boxing Day.
  • They last won four in a row at home in the same top-flight season back in December 1986.
  • Arsenal have won five of their past seven league matches but lost at Everton last time out.
  • The Gunners have won only two of their last 12 away matches in all competitions (D3, L7).

Conclusion

While Arsenal might be coming off the back of a 2-0 win over Napoli earlier in the week, it is hard not to look past Arsenal’s woeful record on the road. Picking up just a single victory away from the Emirates in 2019, coupled with Watford’s continued success at Vicarage Road, Javi Garcia’s side will be filled with confidence ahead of Monday’s contest. Booking their spot in the FA Cup final and winning their last three matches on home soil, Watford will prove to be an incredibly tough test for Unai Emery’s men.

Verdict: Watford draw no bet

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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