Should Arsenal play the same starting XI against Watford?

Following Thursday night’s impressive 2-0 win over Napoli in the Europa League you have to think, despite all previous evidence, that we can kick on and get a positive result away to Watford in the Premier League Monday evening.

Watford will themselves still be on a high following their remarkable 3-2 comeback win over Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final which is a shame for us, would have been far better if they were despondent but alas, that is the nature of football emotions.

We know our away form is horrible and for me, it is mainly a mental thing, how else can the loss to Everton be explained, but the tactics and team selection of the manager do leave a lot to be desired on occasions.

Now, against Napoli Emery got the team selection spot on and I understand the concept of team rotation and horses for courses but the balance he got last night was perfect, he had tough tackling from Torreira, sublime passing from Ozil, driving runs from Ramsey, strong defence, attackers tracking back and so on, in better words, he has the team already to play Watford and he really does not need to make any real changes.

Watford are a physical team and so he may well think about dropping Ozil again, I hope not, because for me, that may upset the balance of the team, I understand the logic of not having a luxury player in a likely physical game but you need that sort of player to undo the rough and tumble play, to split open a defence, having hard tacklers that lack that killer pass does us no good either and you can end up with too many strong players in the middle of the park blunting your creativity.

So, I am hoping that Emery sticks with the same team or very close to it that beat Napoli, if he does that then I am positive we will get all three points against Watford.


  1. We need intensity in the middle, so I’d rest some midfielders and use the fresh ones if I were Emery:

    …………………………. Leno
    ………….. Sokratis . Koscielny . Monreal
    Maitland-Niles . Torreira . Xhaka . Kolasinac
    …………………………. Suarez
    …..Aubameyang ………………… Lacazette

    We also need high pressing in the front, but unfortunately we don’t have better forwards than Aubameyang and Lacazette. If they are too tired, we can also use Iwobi and Nketiah upfront

    1. Sokratis is suspended for the Watford and Crystal Palace games for accumulating 10 yellow cards.

        1. No Emery can’t replace him in his lineup because it wasn’t his mistake to begin with. You put him your line up and you should replace him.

    2. If Xhaka is fit I think he (Emery) will either go with Xhaka and Guendouzi, or if Torriera starts then he might pick the three of them like he done a while back for away games. If he picks the three of them, then it means he can go with Ozil/Mkhit/Iwobi, and keep one of Auba or Laca for later in the game.

      The way Ozil and Laca were talking to each other after coming off, suggests to me that Lacazette will start again with Ozil, and Ramsey and Auba will be tried to keep fresh. Ozil looked like he was telling Laca – see when I have the ball there, this here is the movement I’m looking for in front runners – and then Laca looked like he was saying similar with what he might look for by making a certain run ..or if it’s just to drag defenders around so to make space for Ramsey, Auba, etc. They looked like they were in a serious discussion and you could tell that they were speaking about themselves too. That is just a guess but I do believe that the two lads were trying to come up with some things, they used their time on bench by the looks of it, but who starts in the next game might have nothing to do with it.

  2. Yes we need to play the same team or lose another away game. We need to attack, because we can’t defend and go at them as we did against Napoli in the first half on Thursday. I’m already pissed off that there will not be a St Totts day this season and we will be in 6th place tonight, without Deeney and Deulofeu tearing us a new one!

  3. So Everton are back down to earth with a loss at Fulham! Our loss against them will prove to be very costly….
    I agree Declan – I’m pissed too about no St Totteringham’s Day… banners are back in the loft ?

  4. For me, the fact that Watford had to play extra time, had to fight tooth and nail to come back from 2-0 down and the knowlrdge that every player is one injury away from missing out on the FA cup final are all positive points for us.

    I’d rather being playing them on Monday than Wolves, that’s for sure.

    We surely must play the same starting eleven, the attacking, hustling, closing down that they showed, will be so different to what the likes of Deeney will be expecting.

    I can see us winning this game by half time, as long as we play as we did on THursday, then bring on our subs in order to have the same starting eleven for the Napoli game.

  5. I see why you would want that but you have to consider the away game in Napoli too, and the effects in the second half of our last game with how they cramped up and slowed down a lot. If he goes with the same team, they might start falling with injury or they might just not have the same levels that our opponents have. Ideally you need to be close to the players to be sure on what’s what, we don’t have that luxury, Emery does. Players like Ramsey and Torriera probably could go again, Torriera is only back though. Ramsey, Auba and fullbacks have the best stamina levels in this side, along with Welbeck and Elneny, but people don’t want to see Elneny. Hopefully Xhaka is back, but I feel it is a risk to use Koscielny in both of the games coming up this next week, and there is a weekend game too after those. You say in the article you understand the need for rotation, are you sure about that. Emery will decide which couple he might try and save for a next fixture, two or three (at least) of our biggest players that started the last game will not start the next one – would be my guess. I could be wrong though, Emery might be confident in going away to Napoli and defending a two goal lead with a defensive looking side, decide to park bus, but I don’t think fans would want that either would they.

    I think what you need to do in these situations is to pick something close to your best side, and have some options on the bench just in case they need to come on to change things, and hope that it goes in your favor so you can take players off rather than needing to keep and bring players on. It’s obvious yeah, no doubt, but sometimes we lose ourselves a bit in trying to make a point.

  6. Are their people out there who still believe these terrible English officials are not crooked . Manchester United v West Ham, two big decisions, first one a perfectly good goal for West Ham disallowed. Second, a real dubious penalty to United given. Can’t watch anymore, turned over to watch a rel fair game, Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday

      1. I said a few weeks ago that these decisions would go against us Sue. Can’t believe there’s people out there who still defend these officials

  7. We’re winning the EL anyway so Watford are irrelevant. Play the under 9s as the ground is quite close by and won’t disrupt the kids routine too much.

  8. Ozil is a bad idea away to Watford… he will 100% get bullied.
    Mustafi is also a NO NO.

    I think we should use a back4 but with 3 CMs to provide cover for Niles n Kolasinac.
    Monreal-Kosci in CB pair.

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