After four straight victories in the league, Arsenal are looking ahead to their next challenge, in order to maintain their upward spiral, to the heights of the league table. This time around? Watford at The Emirates.
Watford come into this fixture one point and two places (4th and 6th position) ahead of the Gunners after a more than impressive start to their campaign. After originally winning all four of their first four games, the Hornets have dipped slightly with a loss against Manchester United, and a draw to Fulham last time out.
Watford will be hoping that captain, Troy Deeney, will shake of a number of injury worries, one of which arose from a poor challenge against Fulham. Deeney was positive though when speaking to 5live about his injuries, saying that they weren’t anything that “a few injections can’t help”. However, Gerard Deulofeu, Sebastian Prodl, Stefano Okaka and Miguel Britos are still out.
Arsenal also have injury problems of their own. Sokratis Papastathopoulos was subbed off against Everton with an expected dead leg, and so joined Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Laurent Koscielny on the injury list. The Gunners do however, welcome back Sead Kolasinac, who featured on the bench midweek.
Should he play, Arsenal will have to make sure they control Troy Deeney. After a poor season last season, only scoring one outfield goal, and his history against the Gunners, he will almost definitely pose a threat up against the centre back pairing, and as Fulham manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, described, can ’cause many problems’. He has been on good form so far this season and was key to the Hornets turning the game around against another of the top six, Tottenham, earlier this season.
Torreira’s positioning will be key to stop Deeney and his strike-partner Gray. They will attempt to draw out Mustafi and Holding with their movement into the inside channels, where space may be left after attacks with Monreal and Bellerin. Further Torreira’s partner (Xhaka or Guendouzi) will not only have to help in a defensive sense but also will have to try looking for passes in between the lines to either Ramsey or Ozil to prevent Watford from isolating Arsenal’s front 3, similar to what Everton did in the first half.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Watford
Arsenal: Čech; Bellerìn, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka, Ramsey; Özil, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue, Hughes, Pereyra; Gray, Deeney.