Arsenal vs Watford – Match Preview
With Arsenal’s hopes of a European place via the league now shut off, their sole focus is on winning this season’s F.A. Cup competition and with the ability or perhaps luxury to play a much changed side on Sunday, that might just play into Watford’s hands.
In fairness, it is going to have to and with Watford now slipping into the relegation zone, the decision to sack former manager Nigel Pearson, is already one that is starting to look like it could backfire and backfire in the largest possible way.
The Hornets may have lost their sting as of late, but in a situation such as Sunday’s, there is arguably no better man to take control of the club and without Pearson patrolling the touchline, you do wonder if they will be able to take advantage of a relaxed Arsenal outfit.
So relaxed have Arsenal been, that it was Watford’s nearest relegation rivals that they lost to in midweek and after losing to Aston Villa on Wednesday, that coupled with an abject performance at Vicarage Road, has seen the Hertfordshire outfit slide into the bottom three.
They do so, by virtue of goal difference and that was always the concern for Watford with two league fixtures to go, as Manchester City and Arsenal do have the propensity to score goals at their own leisure.
Manchester City certainly upheld their end of the bargain, as they put four past a hapless Watford defence and although Arsenal on paper could do, it would be a surprise if the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang start at the weekend.
The big question is whether Watford’s caretaker manager Hayden Mullins can inspire the troops in the same way as the previous man in charge and on the evidence of Wednesday’s showing, you would have to say perhaps not.
Then again, this upcoming fixture is one that constitutes a cup final for Watford and if they win, they may just keep their heads above water and should that be the case, a watchful glance will be taken across London.
Because with Aston Villa playing West Ham, it could be down to who either loses or wins by the biggest amount of goals and just because Watford have done their bit, it still might not be enough to avoid relegation.
Arsenal, even with what looks like being a much-rotated outfit, go into this game as favourites and they will look to exact some revenge from when the two sides last met as far back as September of last year.
The meeting at Vicarage Road was one that saw the Gunners take an early 2-0 lead, only for them to be clawed back by the hosts, as a late penalty from Roberto Pereyra saw the game eventually end in a 2-2 draw.
That might be enough for Watford, it might not, that is the beauty of this Premier League season and the way it is set to unfold. A share of the points is +285, an Arsenal win can be found on the moneyline at -103 and a dramatic away win is +268. The choice is yours.