As annoying as international breaks are, they are slightly less annoying when you enter one in a fantastic run of form. Arsenal have a chance to do just that, as the Gunners enter today’s match at the Emirates on the back of a nine match unbeaten run, looking a vastly different team than the one that took the pitch in August.
The silver lining of playing on Sunday is seeing how Saturday’s matches played out, and it couldn’t have worked out in Arsenal’s favor any better. With Manchester United’s loss to Manchester City and Brighton’s draw with Newcastle, Arsenal have a chance to finish firmly in 5th place. 4th placed West Ham face a red hot Liverpool, which could see Arsenal level on points with the Hammers by the end of Sunday.
Statistically, Arsenal could also find themselves on the positive side of the goal differential column for the first time all season, which is simultaneously saddening and relieving. Arsenal’s early season futility in front of the net was exceedingly un-Arsenal like, at least historically. They have successfully, if not slowly, crawled out from their -9 GD to -1, and a convincing win could see them in the black by the end of match week 11.
But all of this is contingent on winning today’s match. This season’s Watford is largely the same Watford we have always known them to be - occasionally decent, but largely average. Sitting 16th in the table with 10 points, they are already on their second manager of the season as Xisco Muñoz was sacked and replaced by former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri in October.
On paper, this is an ideal match-up for the Gunners to continue their unbeaten streak. Outside of Granit Xhaka, the roster is healthy. Arteta seems to have found a line-up that works, with Alexandre Lacazette enjoying a nice renaissance after seeing more of the bench than the pitch to start the season. Emile Smith Rowe has been in the form of his life, and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has been playing with a revitalized edge. Debutants Takehiro Tomiyasu, Sambi Lokonga, and Nuno Tavares all have found their footing. And Aaron Ramsdale continues to be a wizard between the sticks. The different between last season and this season’s squad is almost night and day.
For more discussions about Watford as well as insight on line-ups and predictions, check out Nathan’s line-up and prediction post and his interview with SBNation’s The Watford Way.
After looking like the top 4 was a pipe dream just a few weeks ago, Arsenal are knocking on the door. A win today, and that door looks closer and closer to opening.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Maitland-Niles, Tavares, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Here’s how we line up for #ARSWAT…— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 7, 2021
@MaitlandNiles starts in midfield
@KieranTierney returns to squad
@LacazetteAlex and @Auba up top
Watford - Foster, Rose, King, Nkoulou, Cathcart, Tufan, Sissoko, Femenia, Sarr, Dennis, Kucka
Here's how the Hornets line up this afternoon!#ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/vnrY2Weit1— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) November 7, 2021
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Watford
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Sunday, November 7th 6:00 am PT | 9:00 am ET | 2:00 pm BT
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on Peacock.
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