Arsenal v Watford

1 Apr

Troy Deeney of Watford beats Arsenal's Francis Coquelin to the ball


Troy Deeney of Watford beats Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin to the ball during the FA Cup tie at Emirates Stadium last month

TEAM NEWS

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech could return to face Watford after a five-match absence with a calf problem.

Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are back in full training but will not be involved, while Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also remain absent.

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is set to continue with a similar starting line-up for the trip to north London.

Joel Ekstrand is still lacking match fitness and Tommie Hoban remains out.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Steve Bower: “I watched Arsenal at Everton last time out and felt their supporters’ frustration.

“The team’s attitude and work rate was excellent, they were sharp and clinical going forward and resolute in defence. The problem is that they haven’t produced it often and consistently enough.

“Ultimately that’s why they will look back at this season as their best chance in recent times of being title winners.

“They have to maintain the standard they showed at Goodison Park to stay on track for Champions League qualification.

“A repeat of the recent FA Cup home defeat by Watford would raise a few eyebrows given the visitors’ recent league form, but the Hornets can look forward to another season in the top flight and an FA Cup semi-final, already a notable achievement.”

Twitter: @SteveBowercomm

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “If we win all eight games, we have more than a chance to win the league.

“We are depending on Leicester City, and nobody knows how they will go in their last seven games. The stress becomes bigger but Leicester are in a very strong position at the moment. They can still lose it. The only way we can achieve that is with us performing.

“What is important is that we play our eight games with complete commitment and passion, and see where we finish.”

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores: “I want to think that we are not safe because it is our ambition to win every single game.

“This should be the team’s ambition. At the moment they maybe have the feeling they are in standby (mode) because it is the last month and we are in a comfortable position and I do not like that.

“We need to recuperate our energy, the energy we usually have.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

I think Arsenal will come on a late run now, as they tend to do – but it is too late for them as far as the title is concerned.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s full predictions v indie band James

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Arsenal's three straight home defeats<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Watford’s 2-1 FA Cup victory at Arsenal in March ended a run of six successive defeats in this fixture, including all five Premier League encounters.
  • The Gunners have never lost twice at home to Watford in the same season. It is 28 years since they were beaten home and away by the Hornets across all competitions in a single campaign.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal won for only the second time in nine competitive matches when they beat Everton in their most recent fixture (W2, D2, L5).
  • The Gunners have scored just six goals in their last eight home games in all competitions, averaging 25 shots for each goal scored.
  • They have not led at half-time in any of their last 10 matches at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Mesut Ozil has provided 18 assists in the Premier League this season – but only two have come in the last 10 league matches.

Watford

  • Watford have suffered three straight league defeats. They have won just two of their last 13 matches in the division, keeping two clean sheets in that period (W2, D3, L8).
  • They have lost four of their last five away games in the league, all without scoring a goal.
  • The Hornets have recovered two points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the fewest in the division.
  • All but seven of Watford’s 30 Premier League goals this season have been scored by either Odion Ighalo or Troy Deeney (77%).
  • However, Ighalo has only scored once in 11 league appearances in 2016.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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