Preseason, few would have predicted that Arsenal’s match up with Watford would be a top of the table clash. However, The Hornets have got off to a storming start in the 2018/19 season, winning their first four straight games, and currently stand fourth in the Premier League table. Arsenal’s start could not have been more different. Facing Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening two matches was the stuff of nightmares, and they came off second best in both encounters.
Since then, The Gunners have not put a foot wrong, however, and they will be looking to regain what they see as their rightful place in the top four when they play host to their London rivals this weekend. Watford will have other ideas, and will be determined to show they can compete with anyone. This is a match up that is going to attract the attention of football fans and those wanting to place a bet from every corner of the globe.
While the early season losses to City and Chelsea were disappointing, the gunners can take pride in the way they have bounced back. Five consecutive wins in all competitions point to a team bristling with confidence, and Unai Emery is clearly beginning to find his feet and exorcise the ghost of Arsene Wenger.
It could be argued that they could have competed more closely in those opening games were it not for Emery’s insistence on rotating those in key positions. Still, the solid performance against a talented Everton team last week suggests that Emery is now clear on his XI of choice. Arsenal look like being close to their best.
Suggestions that Watford were only unbeaten due to easier early season fixtures were rapidly put to bed when they beat Tottenham in a game that had more in common with a street mugging than a football match. Spurs had been a little fortuitous with their opening goal, but seemed to have everything under control, until Watford scored twice in the last ten minutes.
The Hornets came close to performing a similar Houdini act against Manchester United, but as it is, their defeat to the Red Devils is the only loss so far this season. This is a team that is comfortable in its own skin and has a settled starting XI.
The biggest question mark is over Watford captain Troy Deeney. He reluctantly agreed to be rested for the Carabao Cup clash with Tottenham so that he can take to the field in this vital Premier League clash – despite having sustained three broken toes in training. He played through the pain in the clash with Fulham last week and insists that with “a couple of pain killing injections” he will be at the top of his game.
Watford are also without winger Gerard Deulofeu, who signed during the summer transfer window from Barcelona, but has yet to be seen out in the middle as he continues to recover from a stress fracture to the foot.
Probable line ups
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Torreira, Guendouzi; Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra; Gray, Deeney
Arsenal vs Watford Match Prediction
Watford have made the early running, and are playing with plenty of heart. However, from a pragmatic point of view, Arsenal is looking back to its best. The bookmakers have The Gunners as odds-on favourites, with most offering odds of around 2/5 for the win. Watford are 6/1 outsiders, but for those who want to exercise both head and heart, the draw is a tantalising punt at 4/1.
Arsenal vs Watford Betting Tips
- Arsenal (Bet365) @ 1.44
- over 2.5 goals (Bet365) @ 1.44