Watford vs. Arsenal: Team News, One To Watch, Likely Line-Ups & Our Prediction

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With the excitement of two new signings to welcome this weekend, Arsenal will be looking to build on that much-needed pick-me-up with their first three points.

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Time looked to be running out for Arsene Wenger to clinch some summer business, but the arrivals of Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi are sure to give the squad a massive boost.

The Gunners head to Watford with their sights set firmly on all three points after failing to impress in either one of their two opening Premier League encounters.

Watford on the other hand have been busy all week, and after capturing Daryl Janmaat as their latest signing look in good shape to maintain another stable season in England’s top division.

During his pre-match press conference, Wenger assured the supporters that he wouldn’t be taking this trip lightly, and will make a last-minute decision on some heavyweight names.

Team News

Arsenal

Despite the eagerness to see them in an Arsenal shirt, this weekend will be too soon for Perez or Mustafi to feature so it will be a similar squad to the one that drew 0-0 with Leicester.

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Wenger admitted he will make a gamble on whether or not to start Mesut Ozil, but confirmed Olivier Giroud was still not at the physical level to start from the first whistle.

With no fresh injury concerns, Wenger is spoilt for choice in the midfield with Mohamed Elneny and Jack Wilshere both fighting to squeeze into the starting XI.

Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi are on course to return after the international break, leaving gaps on the flanks for The Ox to retain his position as Alexis gets another shot at playing number nine.

Calum Chambers may be left out of this one after the boss confirmed he will be sent away on a season-long loan spell, which is increasingly looking to be away from the Premier League.

Arsenal Absentees: Gabriel (ankle) P. Mertesacker (knee) A. Ramsey (hamstring) A. Iwobi (thigh) C. Jenkinson (knee) D. Welbeck (knee)

Watford

Things are looking pretty good for The Hornets right about now, with plenty of new faces coming into the side their squad depth is more than impressive.

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Walter Mazzari’s side have options in every position but it looks set to be a number of familiar names featuring in this one, with only one injury to contend with.

After sealing a switch from Sunderland, Younes Kaboul is in line to make his debut at Vicarage Road if they decide to mix up their regular 3-5-2 formation.

Mazzari confirmed that Janmaat and Roberto Pereyra will both be included in the squad to face Arsenal, which could be a massive lift for the fans who will feel they have a great chance here.

Watford Absentees: Brice Dja Djedje (foot)

One To Watch

Arsenal – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Given the recent transfer business, this is a massive game for The Ox to prove himself to Wenger that he should be starting on the flanks week in, week out.

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I’ve been impressed with the 2015/16 season flop ever since he’s been played on the left-wing, but with Giroud and Perez in contention for a place up top, it won’t be long until Alexis is back.

That means there’s one space on the flanks to be filled, leaving Walcott and Ox fighting it out after Joel Campbell secured a season-long loan spell to Sporting Lisbon.

He’s been fantastic in pre-season and has carried that form into the new campaign, and after a superb solo goal on the opening day we want to see more of a player that loves to run at defenders.

His place is definitely one that has a huge question mark hanging over it but if he can stay injury free and put in top class performances against the likes of Watford, then big games will be his reward.

Watford – Troy Deeney

Let’s be honest, this man doesn’t need much of an introduction because without him you could honestly say Watford wouldn’t even be in the Premier League.

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Their star man and captain, Deeney has all the characteristics of an old-school striker, and it’s that determination that will put the young Rob Holding at risk.

There’s no doubt that Deeney will be eyeing up a one-on-one with Arsenal’s centre back, but following last weekends display he’ll want to keep well away from Laurent Koscielny.

Deeney is an ideal striker in the air and on the ground, so Arsenal really need to be alert throughout the full 90 minutes if they’re able to keep out his lethal strike.

He’s yet to get on the scoring sheet for his side yet, but a home tie against a club like the Gunners is bound to get his blood pumping, Arsenal really need to be careful with him.

Likely Line-Ups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Ozil, The Ox, Alexis

Watford (3-5-2)

Gomes, Cathcart, Prodl, Britos, Janmaat, Guedioura, Behrami, Capoue, Holebas, Deeney, Ighalo

Prediction: Watford 1 – 3 Arsenal

This is a big test for Arsenal and they have to come out firing like the attacking side we all know they can be when they’re really at the best of their ability.

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They will miss Giroud big time once again but they simply have to go in to the international break with a win behind them otherwise the mood for the season has set itself.

Already five points behind many of their title rivals, Wenger has to ensure his side play with balance and patience but when chances are there they need to be taken.

I predicted two draws for their opening games vs. Liverpool and Leicester but I expect them to put in 10% extra here as places in the squad become limited following new arrivals.

Arsenal haven’t been a poor side so far this season, but their failure to put shots away is embarrassing and they have to be more ruthless against a Watford side who will be happy to take a point.

This will be a possession based fixture and if Watford can get their foot in early doors, I think they’ll send a wake-up call to Arsenal by scoring first to really up the pressure.

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