James CookeWatford vs. Arsenal, Sunday 15th September, 16:30, Vicarage Road. The Premier League’s bottom club, Watford, and returning manager Quique Sanchez Flores, host Arsenal as they look to turn their season around.
The Premier League’s bottom club, Watford, and returning manager Quique Sanchez Flores, host Arsenal as they look to turn their season around.
Javi Gracia paid for poor results at the end of last season and the start of the new one with his job over the weekend and Watford have turned to one of his predecessors, the popular Sanchez Flores, to lift the team off the foot of the table.
Indeed, the Hornets’ only win this season came in the League Cup against Coventry City but it’s not just results this season that did for Gracia – Watford ended 2018-19 with five winless games in a row, including that FA Cup final hammering by Manchester City.
Watford’s owners don’t hang around when they feel a change needs to be made and they’ve installed Sanchez Flores with plenty of time to climb the table. It’s a lot easier to get off the bottom when you’re four games in as opposed to 15.
For Arsenal, the aim is the top four – at least. Unai Emery’s side have made a reasonable start but not much more than that – two wins, a draw and a defeat.
Watford, evidently, aren’t one of those but with a new man in charge, perhaps this is where the turnaround begins. And though they’re bottom, the statistics aren’t terrible – Watford have conceded eight goals, one fewer than Chelsea, who are mid-table. But they’ve scored only twice, and that’s where the problem lies.
Watford should pull out of this slump in time and be comfortable by the end of the season, but it’s too soon for the turnaround to start here. They’ll likely make it difficult for Arsenal but a 2-0 away win isn’t out of the question.
Watford’s lack of goals will haunt them against teams with the firepower Arsenal possess, and Sanchez Flores is likely still without Troy Deeney, who had a minor operation in August. With that in mind the bookies might have been generous in offering decent odds on Arsenal to win to nil. 888Sport price it at 16/5.
Watford aren’t big scorers, and Arsenal haven’t scored more than twice yet this season. After conceding five goals in their last three games, Emery should have his team focusing more on defence, too. 10Bet price under 2.5 goals at 7/5.
Head to Head
Arsenal won both the fixtures between the teams last season, 1-0 away and 2-0 at home.
Watford haven’t so much as scored against Arsenal since October 2017, when they won here 2-1.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is the second-most whistled player in the Premier League this season – he’s committed 10 fouls, behind the 16 of Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been caught offside five times this season.
Watford are one of five teams yet to keep a clean sheet.
Sanchez Flores was in charge of 44 games in his first spell at Watford, winning 16, drawing nine and losing 19.
Aspiring football journalist who realised he could put his vast knowledge towards gambling and making some money. With years spent on Football Manager, his boyhood obsession has carried over into his adult life and he's proven his mum that all that time spent playing a game wasn't to be wasted. A European football expert, James writes about anything on the continent and has began expanding his knowledge to other leagues in South America, Asia and the USA.