Opponent Focus: Where Watford Can Hurt Arsenal On Sunday


Watford are enjoying one of their best seasons in recent memory following a hard-fought promotion into the Premier League last season. 

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The Hornets already look set to be playing top flight football next year, and maintain a chance of capping this campaign with a semi-final spot at Wembley.

However, in recent weeks Quique Flores’ men have fallen short, and a result is desperately needed to pick up the mood at Vicarage Road.

Victory over the Gunners would spark the belief that a place in the final is possible, which would add significant financial benefit as well as belief in this set of players.

Fresh Arsenal have taken a snapshot look at Watford, providing examples of where their strengths lie and who Arsenal will need to be aware of at the Emirates this weekend.

FA Cup Form

It’s fair to say that Watford have scraped their way to this quarter final spot, and they’ll need to step up their game if they are to see any way through to the semi’s.

Each of their fixtures leading up to this weekend have resulted in 1-0 wins, all of which have been scrappy affairs with no real conviction from the men in yellow.

However, they’ve shown they can do the job on the day and ultimately that’s what has got them so far, seeing off the likes of Newcastle, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.

Each of those sides don’t exactly spark fear into you on game day, so this will be a very different test for some of these young players who relied on their big stars to see them through.

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Both Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo scored in the third and fourth rounds respectively, before a laughable own goal from Leeds’ Scott Wooton saw them progress in the fifth.

Taking a look at their recent form in the Premier League, the Hornets have picked up just four points from a possible 18, and netting two goals in that time.

That is really quite horrific when you put it into perspective, and a trip to Arsenal is the last thing they need to rediscover some form, with just as much pressure on Arsene Wenger’s shoulders.

Watford are underdogs there’s no doubt about it, but they’ll want to use that to their advantage this time and play with freedom, something Flores loves to do.

Top Goalscorer: Odion Ighalo (15 goals)

Having once taken the league by storm, it’s fair to say the striker hasn’t continued the form he showed us before Christmas, scoring just two goals in all competitions since December 28th.

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However, the Nigerian still has bags of ability and all good strikers have to suffer a blip in goalscoring from time to time, just look at Olivier Giroud or Harry Kane.

There’s no doubt that he still lies a massive threat to us though, because his work alongside Troy Deeney is poetry, they have an understanding that you can’t put a price on.

We know what the forward is about, and it seems as if he can score goals in the penalty area for fun, so he’ll be waiting to get onto the legs of Per Mertesacker.

Most Assists: Troy Deeney (6)

Arguably the man that put Watford back into the Premier League, Deeney has came under fire for his goalscoring record at the beginning of the season but that’s all changing now.

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After finding a beautiful relationship with his strike partner Ighalo, Deeney has been a shining light for Watford since Christmas, and will attract more attention from clubs this Summer.

However, his sole mission on Sunday will be to take his side into a semi-final at Wembley, something that you feel could be the last chance to do with the Hornets.

His work rate is unbelievable, and a lethal technique to turn and shoot is exactly what could spring up to surprise the home side this weekend.

Between The Sticks: Heurelho Gomes

Capable of pulling off some standout performances, you never really know what you’re going to get when the Brazilian puts on the gloves.

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At 35 years of age this could be his last chance to win a big trophy, so he will be pulling everything out of the bag to stop his former rivals from hitting the back of the net.

Gomes was a part of the Tottenham side that endured tireless heartache from the Gunners, so this is a fixture that really means a lot to him.

Ultimately he seems to be a goalkeeper that’s beginning to lose his way in all competitions, and you can’t really see him challenging for the number one jersey next season.

His record in the opening of the season was a good one, but we should be able to outfox him yet again, after sticking three goals behind him at in at Vicarage Road earlier this campaign.

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