After two tough matches in the Premier League and two [boring] weeks with the international break, Arsenal will look to get back to their winning ways on Sunday when they travel to 20th placed Watford.
The key to Sunday’s match for the Hornets will be to get Quique Sánchez Flores his first points in his second stint as Watford manager, who takes over the sacking of Javi Gracia during the international break. Flores previously coached Watford in the 2015/16 season, where he lead the club to a 13th placed finish with 45 points (12-9-17).
The Javi Gracia firing comes after 594 days on the job. Watford’s front office had finally had enough after months of dropping points — both at the end of last season and in the current campaign.
Flores will have to be quick in turning the team around if they want to ensure another season of Premier League football.
Since April 20th in all [competitive] competitions, Watford’s only win has been in the Carabao Cup against League One side Coventry City. They have have not won in the Premier League in that time either, and currently are on a streak of 9 games without a win (7 losses, 2 draws). After four games in the 2019/20 season, The Hornets sit at -6 in goal differential (last) and their offense has been struggling with only two goals (also last). One draw and three defeats have Watford at bottom of the table.
One of our writers did a “Know Your Opponent” piece on Watford where you can find more information about their transfers, injury news, and what players watch like Ismaila Sarr. Click here to view that article.
Time is of importance to Watford, whose road gets only more difficult after Sunday. Their next scheduled fixtures in the Premier League are away games against Manchester City & Wolves.
I will continue to hammer the point in my previews that Arsenal’s away form is dismal at best.
The Gunners started the campaign off well by picking up points at St. James’ Park, but it will take more than that to change the narrative. Arsenal will consider these type if away matches “must win” games if they want to reach their goal of Champions League football next season.
There is reason to be hopeful though. The Gunners took all three points last season at Vicarage road after Watford were reduced to ten men in the 11th minute. In their last six meetings, Arsenal have won four and lost two against Watford. Arsenal has scored in every one of those last six fixtures, so expect to see goals.
Beyond the outcome of the game, Arsenal may look to make a few changes to the side that faced Tottenham two weeks ago. Don’t be surprised to see Willock and/or Nelson start, especially Willock who had quite a big pay bump over international break. With Lacazette out until October with an ankle injury, we are likely to see Aubameyang play up front with Pepe — who will be looking to get off the mark with a first goal this Sunday. Xhaka and Torreira are rumored to have knocks that may leave them as game time decisions, which may see them begin on the bench. However, there are no official reports from the team at this time.
You can find more detailed updates on team news here.
With the Europa League starting next week, Arsenal may begin rotating players to help them stay fit. But make no mistake — the league is the priority. Arsenal will consider it a requirement to pick up six points in league games between now and the end of the month, when they face off against Manchester United.
WHAT: Arsenal at Watford
WHERE: Vicarage Road, Watford, Hertfordshire
WHEN: Sunday, September 15th, 8:30 AM PT | 11:30 AM ET | 4:30 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN
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