After the always too early September international break, Arsenal travel to face training ground neighbors Watford.
Watford are currently in last place in the Premier League with one point. They have fired their manager and brought back a manager who they had previously fired. So things are not exactly going according to plan but are Watford really that bad?
Offense: 10.8 shots per game, 1.25 big chances per game, 1.3 xG per game.
Defense: 15.8 shots allowed per game, 1.5 big chances allowed per game, 1.5 xG allowed per game.
Offense: 9.5 shots per game, 1.75 big chances per game, 1.2 xG per game
Defense: 11.5 shots allowed per game, 2.25 big chances allowed per game, 1.5 xG allowed per game.
Team 1 is Arsenal and Team 2 is Watford. For how far apart they are in the table they are not that far apart on some of the high level statistics. Looking specifically at the expected points for each team Arsenal are on 4.7 and Watford are also on 4.7 albeit with Arsenal having played a much tougher schedule.
Watford’s defense has been the weak link
If there has been one major weakness for Watford, it has been their defense. They are allowing over 1 xG from open play and another 0.5 xG from set plays. They haven’t played offensive juggernauts that would skew their numbers in this small sample and this should be something that Unai Emery’s men could exploit, if he lets them.
On defense, Watford have been about average for overall defensive actions but they have been most active in the middle third of the pitch and defending their left flanks. With the managerial change this pattern might not hold but this could be a match where Arsenal field 3 midfielders to ensure that they can maintain control and build a platform to attack from.
Arsenal are the favorites in this match but are still just under 50% to come away with all 3 points.
The most likely scoreline is a 2-1 win for Arsenal and other than that, goals scored seems like a good bet with two teams that have struggled to keep goals out of their own nets.
Looking at the slate of matches ahead, Arsenal have a very good chance to accumulate points and starting that run off with a win would be incredibly beneficial for Arsenal’s chances of getting back into the Champions League.