Watford, Premiership (H): Team News And Starting XI

Morning, folks.

The games are coming thick and fast. Like premature ejaculation, but without any of the mess. Or like a milkshake in a Ferrari. Or like a cow on rocket-powered roller-skates. Or like… well you get the idea.

Today we face Watford at the Emirates on the back of a slight upturn in our fortunes. Having lost the previous 4 games and in less-than-favourable circumstances, we went to the San Siro and put in a great performance to secure a 2-0 victory. It was unexpected and very welcome.

We go into today’s game aiming to build on that and put a few more points on the board. Our league season is at the point now where it’s pretty much a case of going through the motions. It’s extremely unlikely we’ll be able to secure a Champions League place – barring an act of God – so all that remains is seeing how many points we can register. As sad as that sounds; it’s the place in which we find ourselves. 10 league defeats tends to have that impact at this stage.

The Europa League is still up for grabs, so there is suggestion that Arsene will save certain players for those games and use what remains of season 2017/2018 as a means of experimenting. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me. I can’t see it happening. I think we’ll continue to field strong teams with perhaps the odd surprise inclusion. Nothing particularly drastic or revolutionary.

The teams news does contain a few absentees. Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are on the sidelines and won’t feature. There will be late checks for Sead Kolasinac and Callum Chambers who sustained injuries in Milan. Alexandre Lacazette and Santi Cazorla remain long-term omissions. Petr Cech will resume in goal after Ospina started Italy and, having been ineligible, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will go straight in upfront in place of Danny Welbeck.

A team that could look like this:

A great deal of the build up today has involved Troy Deeney’s comments when we lost to Watford last year – a game our hosts thoroughly deserved to win. I mentioned my thoughts yesterday regarding his comments, and, given that he’s much wiser than I am, Arsene Wenger decided not to be drawn on the subject when questioned:

“You don’t think we’ve had enough controversy in the last week? We don’t need to add some more.

We want to focus on how we play rather than what people say. What we can do is just respond with the quality of our performance. We’re not going to focus on what people say.

You understand that if you respond to every single statement, I would be mad. I may already be but I would be even more mad.”

That was the correct diplomatic approach to the situation; to allow our performance on the pitch to prove a point and not hollow words. Troy Deeney is entitled to his opinions. They may even have had a little truth to them some of us aren’t happy to admit, but his actions were incorrect in my opinion. I hope we use that to push on today and get a victory.

It won’t be easy. Watford have to good players and will cause us problems on the counter-attack and at set pieces if we allow them. As with many games against so-called “lesser” opponents, I always say Arsenal’s fate is often dictated by themselves. If we turn up and perform like we can, we should win. If we put on a show of complacency and cavalier defending, we’ll probably get what we deserve.

That all said, I’m fairly confident we’ll win. Our record isn’t great against Watford and they’ve beaten us before. However, we should have too much today and with confidence up from the result on Thursday, I am going to predict a relatively comfortable 3-1 win.

That’s all for today, folks.

I’ll be back tomorrow to review the game. In the meantime, why not leave a comment with your thoughts on the team?

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Soundtrack to this post: 

Lucy In Disguise – ‘Unknown Frequency’

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