Arsenal v Watford preview: Do Gunners need to be at their best to avoid getting stung?

Arsenal welcome Watford to the Emirates Stadium this weekend which could well prove a big result for either side in their push for a place in Europe next season.

The Hornets are this term’s surprise package, picking up wins against Tottenham, while keeping the pace with the top of the table with four wins and a draw from their six league outings. They do find themselves coming into the match on the back of back-to-back defeats however, after losing to Man United last week in the division, before succumbing to Tottenham Hotspur in the cup on penalties in midweek.

We on the other hand come into the game in top form with six wins in all competitions since our opening losses to Chelsea and Man City at the beginning of the season, and will be challenging for the title should they be able to maintain that form until May, which will of course be a big challenge for any side.

Our current worries come from our defence, with question marks over the returns of Sokratis and Kolasinac, while Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson remain sidelined. Sead should be ready to return, but Holding may well have to step-up and partner Mustafi should the Greek centre-back not make it.

We have little to worry about in other areas of the field however, and we should be able to continue our run of wins, but I don’t expect to have the whole match go our way.

Predicted XI:

Bellerin  Mustafi  Holding  Monreal
Ramsey  Xhaka  Torreira
Ozil  Lacazette  Aubameyang

Our midfield and attack should have had adequate rest in midweek and be fighting fit for the encounter, and I expect goals. I’ll be going for a 3-1 win with Laca to continue his fine form with another goal.

Does Monreal need a rest when Sead is available? Is Holding ready to step-up if Sokratis is unavailable? Should Mkhitaryan be starting here?

Pat J


  1. gotanidea says:

    Because Arsenal will play at home, I predict Emery would use similar 4-2-3-1 line-up again:

    Bellerin . Mustafi . Holding . Monreal
    ………….Torreira ……. Xhaka
    Ozil …………..Ramsey …………..Aubameyang

    Mkhitaryan and Iwobi deserve to start, but I don’t think they would get their chance in the Watford match. Arsenal players should keep their composure, because they will play at home

    1. l says:

      I am enjoying the current push for places in the attacking department. With Welbeck Mhiki and Iwobi putting a shift when called upon. Players like Ozil and Auba need to taste the bench to up their hunger in the game.

      OT: I realized City and Chelsea struggled to beat New Castle with the same score lines as us yet some fans believed we beat a mediocre team. Chelsea drew against West Ham but our own fans believe we beat a mediocre team when we beat them. Why do we allow the press to determine our perception? Na wa o.

      1. mobella says:

        As I’m writing this, the same Westhram is leading Manu 1-0 and as I’m about to post the reply they are leading two-zero. As you say some football genius wannabe will always say we beat mediocre teams.

  2. Taiwo says:

    Özil remains my fear as he is our weak link and knowing Watford for what they are made of will enjoy bullying him but maybe he(Özil) will step up his game today.
    Gooners all the way.

    1. Goonster says:

      Ozil can play home games against small and midtable clubs. No worries there for me. But when it comes to Top 6 teams then i would prefer him to be a substitute to come on when we are losing a particular game, that is when we would need an all out attack.

  3. kev says:

    How Ozil and Auba start at the wings is beyond me.We have been lucky so far this season and long may it continue.I just hope when it runs out our loses wouldn’t be disgraceful because we’ve been terrible at the back.Last season most of our defensive problems were due to lack of concentration but this season the positioning of our defenders is beyond woeful.It’s so easy to cut through us and all the opposition needs to do is to take their chances.Emery playing players out of position is also not helping our cause in attack.We have wingers who can’t even beat their man and an overrated midfield.I feel like crying whenever I watch the team play.

    1. gotanidea says:

      I guess Emery is assessing Ozil’s and Aubameyang’s abilities. World class and versatile players should be able to perform well in several positions, at least Aubameyang scored and created assists from the left wing

      The defense is not the best in the league, but they do not get enough support from the attackers. Even the mighty Barcelona force their attackers to pressurize their opponents, similar to Emery’s high pressing plan

      As long as the wingers and the no 10 can track Watford’s runners and deep-lying playmaker, I believe Watford would not be able to do much in the upcoming game

  4. Innit says:

    We can get stung by any PL team
    Always need to be on our toes
    As usual any win will suit me

  5. ozziegunner says:

    Ozil into CM in place of Ramsey; Welbeck on the right in place of Ozil. If Ozil is not performing in midfield, then bring on Mhikataryan.

  6. Sue says:

    West Ham!!!!! 2-0 ?

    1. John Wick says:

      Yesssss! Hopefully it stays that way and we win, I’ll be a happy man all day ??

      1. Sue says:

        3-1… good old Arnautovic ?

        1. John Wick says:

          Happy days ? Mourinho meltdown later ? on to a real team now come on arsenal ?

          1. Sue says:

            Oh absolutely John ?

  7. John Ibrahim says:

    based on past arsenal fans theories……utd potential lost is probably due to their inadequate spending

    1. sanmi.marvellous says:

      @John Ibrahim.

      I understand and agree with you. But I am afraid you’re about to start a battle you might not be able to finish.
      Hope you have enough shock absorber for the looming attacks ?
      Lol !!!

    2. l says:

      ‘REALISTS’ will disagree with you.

  8. JJPawn says:

    Eventually, they have to play with some aggression rather than the game they are playing at the back conceding goals.

    As I have noted, Welbeck is important for this team…

    3412 would useful with 2 of the 4 focused on defense first clogging the middle. Use Welbeck and Iwobi both ways to make attacks and patrol the sides. Free Ozil. Auba and Laca need to play 90 min without too much defensive duties.


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