We arrive, belatedly, at the last match of an ultimately woeful season for a team of Arsenal’s stature. A season that has seen the usually stable club have three different first team coaches ends with the Gunners, can only finish 8th if they beat relegation threatened Watford on Sunday. Whatever happens the 2019/20 will be Arsenal’s worst league campaign for 25 years.
That said, I feel most supporters are encouraged by the recent tactical successes seen under the third coach, Mikel Arteta, and despite the disappointment of the loss at Villa Park, we do have an FA Cup Final next weekend to look forward to. The question therefore is whether the chance of glory and European football beckoning on August 1st will influence his selection for the visit of the Hornets.
The Integrity of Arteta, our club and the Premier League dictates the Spaniard will play a strong 11 on Sunday and he owes that to Aston Villa and Bournemouth of course. That said, he can field a team well capable to beating Watford and still rest a few head of the Wembley show down, save in the knowledge that every player who does get the nod tomorrow will have the incentive of playing for an FA Cup final role. I don’t think Arteta can afford to rest Xhaka and Ceballos and still win but one if them will be given a breather and I imagine his skipper Aubameyang and his ‘future’ skipper Tierney might be rested. In addition, perhaps Hector Bellerin might be kept fresh to the final, along with Pepe.
Against Chelsea I believe Arsenal will play the recently favoured 343 but against Watford, who will be compact and defensive under temporary coach, Mullens, Arteta will sue his favoured, 433, pushing Saka into the midfield three. This is the line- up I predict.
Arsenal Predicted XI (4,3,3): Emi Martinez; Cedric Soares, Rob Holding, David Luiz, Sead Kolasinac, Bukayo Saka; Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka; Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah/Reiss Nelson
The decisions are to my mind between Willock and Torreira and I think Willock’s offensive nature gets him the nod. The one I cannot call is on the right of the attacking three. Nketiah struggled there at Villa Park, so Reiss Nelson may get a chance there.
Match Facts and Stats
- To stay up, Watford need to get a better result than whatever Aston Villa manage at West Ham, because they are level on points and their goal difference is worse by one.
- Some of the present Arsenal players will remember Watford captain Troy Deeney saying the Gunners lacked ‘cojones’ after they lost to the Hornets in 2017. Pay-back time Troy?
- Arsenal have won 10 of their 13 Premier League meetings with Watford, losing twice and drawing once, which was the 2-2 earlier this season.
- Arsenal have not lost at the Emirates for 8 matches in the PL
- Betting Odds – You can check this out at free-bets.uk.com but Arsenal are around even money. For Watford to get a surprise win is between 14/5 and the most generous 3-1 with the draw also about 3-1.
- Television – The Match is a 4pm KO and available on BT Sport.
Sadly, for the visitors I think they will be left hoping Bournemouth and Aston Villa suffer worse defeats and I am looking for Arsenal to finish the Premier League in style and predicted a 3-1-win fir the Gunners. Troy’s Cojones may belatedly drop a league!
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.