After an International break that went very well for ‘The three lions’ North London side Arsenal host Watford at the Emirates. Having crashed out of the FA Cup 3 weeks ago at the hands of the same Watford side, this would be the second time Arsenal host Watford at home this season. The Gunners, who were, earlier in the season touted, by several media channels as well as commentators, as plausible champion’s this season, not so much because of their own strength and quality but more so because of a poor run of form portrayed by other league contenders such as both the Manchester Clubs and Chelsea. Arsenal are now 11 points behind league leaders Leicester City, with a game in hand. Whatever little chance the Gunners may have now at the title, is contingent not only upon their own performances but lapses on part of this season’s most likely champions (at this stage) Leicester City, and Tottenham. Provided this backdrop, Arsenal will go into this game expecting nothing but a victory, not that they have an option.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will have to be at his best, provided that his usual partner in crime Aaron Ramsey will be out for this game. Francis Coquelin will have an important role in marking Troy Deeney’s runs and passes to Ighalo. Arsenal’s central defenders will have to be cautious of Ighalo’s movements inside the 18 yard box provided that he scored a goal in the areas against the Gunners in the FA cup.
Visitors Watford on the other hand are currently 14th in the league table. Although their place in England’s top flight for the 2016-17 season is assured, they , like many other clubs at this stage, would want nothing but a victory from this. The Hornets have lost their last 3 premier league matches already. There is no doubt however that they have the quality to go higher up the table from this point on.
Match Facts and Stats
- Prior to the FA Cup defeat, Arsenal have won in their previous 6 meetings with Watford.
- Watford have never won against Arsenal two times in a row since 1987-88, and have never won twice against Arsenal away from home.
- The two teams have met 17 times in total in the league having won 8 times each with won meeting ending in a draw.
- Arsenal have scored only 6 goals in their last 8 home games, having averaged a total of 25 shots on target per goal
- Watford have won only one of their last last 6 away fixtures in the premier league.
While these realities do not indicate a definite victory for either side, history favors Arsenal for this one, especially as they have in many of their previous seasons won consistently at this stage of the campaign, while Watford’s current league form suggests that if they were to play the way they did against Stoke, they might just miss out on this one.