Arsenal face a very challenging game against high-flying Watford who have been one of the surprise packages of the Premier League so far this season. However, Unai Emery’s men will approach the game in high spirits after winning six games on the spin, including four in the league. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang are starting to deliver up front on a regular basis, whilst the former PSG boss has made the Gunners solid in recent weeks.
Yet, Watford have performed extremely well this season, with Javi Gracia adopting a narrow 4-4-2 formation that is getting the best out of his key players. The Hornets look a side very comfortable in their roles, with every player knowing what to do. Additionally, they have several powerful, strong players which means they are very hard to play against, with Troy Deeney and Andre Gray a real handful for anyone up front.
Therefore, whilst traditionally this would be a routine home win, even at this early stage of the season we’ve seen enough to know this will be a very close, competitive game.
Arsenal vs Watford Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Watford
Despite that, we think Arsenal have just about enough to edge this encounter in front of their own fans. There have been few doubts about the North London side going forward over the years, with everyone recognising the quality they have in the final third. Given that, Emery hasn’t changed much in an attacking sense, instead focusing on bringin a better structure and organisation to the team and it’s working. The early defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea show they maybe can’t compete with the very best but outside of that, they’ve been near perfect this season.
So, we think they will just about too much for Watford at the Emirates. That’s not to underestimate the visitors who play with a style that has hurt Arsenal over the years so this will be a challenge. They are a tough nut to crack but the Gunners should edge this one.
Our recommended tip: BTTS
Whilst we think that Emery’s men will make it seven wins in a row, they are odds-on and given Watford’s form the odds are a tad disrespectful. Watford dominated against Manchester United for 45 minutes and the way they play is perhaps better suited to going on the road.
With that in mind, out best bet is for both to score in today’s clash. Despite Emery making Arsenal a tougher side defensively, they still concede chances by playing a high line and Watford have the pace to exploit that. Additionally, the Hornets have a big advantage in terms of size and power on set-pieces which is another potential weapon for Gracia’s men.
This will be the 29th meeting between the sides and it’s a fixture that Arsenal have shaded in the past, winning 15 of those games compared to Watford’s 12, with just the one draw. In the Premier League era though Arsenal have been largely dominant, although the visitors have changed that slightly in recent years, winning two of the previous three meetings, including at the Emirates in 2017.
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Players to watch: Alexandre Lacazette & Troy Deeney
French striker Lacazette is starting to show why Arsenal were prepared to spend big money on him, with the former Lyon man showing a ruthless edge in recent weeks. He has great movement and is lethal in front of goal and is someone who Watford will need to keep a close eye on.
For the visitors, Deeney is their talisman. He has been very critical of Arsenal in the past, suggesting the players can’t cope with the physical side of the game – where he excels. He will be hoping to take advantage of that once again today.