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Arsenal vs. Watford: Predicted Lineup & Bench

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The end of the 2019-20 EPL season - finally.

Aston Villa v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images

And here we are. The end of the Premier League season. Just days away from August 2020, when we expected next season to begin back when this campaign started. It’s been a wild year on and off the pitch, as Arsenal have gone from Unai Emery to Mikel Arteta, fall in and out of contention of the Champions League, dealt with multiple player issues, and of course, COVID-19.

On Sunday Arsenal close out the 2019-20 season against Watford, in front of an empty stand, as they hope three points and favorable results elsewhere leapfrogs them from 10th to 8th - ahead of Sheffield United and Burnley. Yeah, it’s been a year. Meanwhile, Watford are still looking to secure their top flight safety. They are currently in 18th place with 34 points and tied with Aston Villa. It’s sure to be an entertaining final matchday in the Premier League.

Check out the gallery below for the predicted starting XI:

Bench

  1. Matt Macey
  2. Sead Kolasinac
  3. Sokratis
  4. Cedric Soares
  5. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  6. Lucas Torreira
  7. Joe Willock
  8. Reiss Nelson
  9. Eddie Nketiah

Notes on the XI:

  • No Ozil. No Guendouzi. Until we see otherwise, you simply can’t expect them to be included. I still hold out a slight hope for Ozil as a sub in the FA Cup, as his creative ability could be crucial against Chelsea.
  • No official team news when this was initial written, but Arteta commented during his press conference that Mustafi looks unlikely to return for either this match or the FA Cup.
  • Following the loss to Aston Villa, you’d imagine Mikel wants to run out as strong of a starting XI as he can manage to get some momentum heading into the FA Cup Final. Thus it’s a return of the 3-4-3, with the three big attackers Auba, Laca, Pepe in from the start.
  • Despite their lack of offensive abilities, Xhaka and Ceballos have formed the Gunners best midfield partnership over this recent stretch. Hector Bellerin flanks to the right, while shifting Tierney back allows Arteta the ability to get Bukayo Saka on the pitch into that left midfield role.
  • Based on Mustafi’s injury status and the lack of Sokratis in recent weeks, I’ve gone with Luiz, Holding and Tierney as the three CBs. The alternative is to start Sead Kolasinac, shift Tierney in the LM role and put Saka on the bench, but in no scenario does any Arsenal fan want to see Kolasinac on the pitch ahead of Saka.

How to watch

Sunday (7/26) at 11 am ET / 8:00 am PT on the Golf Channel or the NBC Sports app.