Arsenal vs Watford: Predictions, betting tips, odds & match preview
‘You get a goal, you get a goal, you get a goal’ – this Oprah-inspired theme featured in Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool on Wednesday. However, the Blues rivals, Arsenal, could be getting a taste of scores galore themselves when they play host to Watford this weekend in their final Premier League game of the 2019/20 season.
The Hornets are the ones in dire need of points, with Mikel Arteta’s men giving their undivided focus to the FA Cup final. As such, our Arsenal vs Watford predictions are wagering in their favour…
Arsenal vs Watford Preview
The Gunners, who had been so compelling to watch in recent games, seemed to return to the drab, Unai Emery-esq style of football against Aston Villa last week, in a game they had every opportunity to win, but instead took no points from.
In snatching victory away from Arsenal, Dean Smith’s men delivered their visitors a first defeat at Villa Park for the first time since December 1998, courtesy of a sumptuous goal from Trezeguet.
The Egyptian winger has been in great goal-scoring form, having recently bagged a brace against Crystal Palace in the league – getting himself on the scoreboard again was a surprise to very few, aside from Emiliano Martinez.
However, what was astounding was the Gunners’ lackadaisical response to going a goal down, with their star attackers in no mood to provide a response.
In clinching the win and gifting their opponents with a 10th league defeat, Villa move above Watford in the standings, while the Gunners remain focused on FA Cup final glory to ensure their inclusion in next season’s European considerations.
Yet, although Arsenal may not be particularly fussed about their remaining Premier League game, this weekend’s visitors, Watford, will be.
Having recently faced emphatic defeat at the hands of Manchester City, the need to bounce back and steer themselves away from the bottom of the table has been heightened.
Indeed, goals from Raheem Sterling who snapped up two goals, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte sealed the victory for Pep Guardiola’s men.
All the while, Watford could do very little to suppress the Citizens’ goal-scoring contributions, forced to watch as their goal difference was chipped away, goal by goal.
The defeat leaves the Hornets in 18th place, level on points with Villa – both three-points ahead of 19th place.
18 + only. Terms and conditions apply. Odds correct at time of writing.
Arsenal vs Watford Predictions
After having collected 13 points from six games in a spell that featured enticing attacking football and victories against the Premier League champions, and former Centurions (Liverpool and Manchester City), it seemed as if the Gunners were back to ground zero against Smith’s men.
The kind of attacking play we’d become accustomed to in the last six or so weeks seemed to have been shorn, and Pepe Reina was made to look like one of the league’s best, without a single shot targeted at his goal – Villa’s first ever such experience since January 2016.
Whether it was an in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Nicolas Pepe, the hosts remained frustrated, unable to deliver the Lions with a damning defeat.
But with the kind of relentless football we’ve seen from Arteta’s men, could it be that they’re finally feeling the fatigue of having played game after game in the kind of style and brand the likes of Liverpool and City play in?
Heavy-metal gegenpressing and tiki-taka passing to evade presses aren’t something you adopt over a week, or even six in Arsenal’s case. It’s a style of play that managers like Jurgen Klopp cultivate over decades before infusing their philosophies into teams they spend season’s sculpting. While Arteta may benefit from having worked with such a manager in Guardiola at City, he and his players still have a long way to go, and it’s starting to show.
Fortunately, the Gunners can still qualify for Europe, regardless of what happens in the league, should they win the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Which is why we’re expecting Watford to make the most of their potential squad rotation and come up with the goods this weekend at the Emirates.
Having faced a sobering defeat at the hands of Manchester City last week, where they were only allowed 23.7% possession, and just two shots at goal, neither on target, the Hornets have the added incentive of bouncing back from that loss and taking a crucial three points back to Vicarage Road to help them paddle a little faster away from murky relegation waters.
An opportunity like this, to clinch victory against a side putting all their eggs in the FA Cup basket and potentially secure Premier League football next season, may not arise again.
Our prognosis? A narrow win away from home that the fans and players alike will cherish.
Squawka Stat: 21 of the 46 goals Arsenal have conceded in the Premier League this term have come from set-pieces.
From Ismaili Sarr to Danny Welbeck and Troy Deeney himself, the Hornet’s attack features some big guns – tottering up with an average height of 6ft. And that’s without mentioning those in amongst the back four, such as Etienne Capoue (6ft 2).
Why is all this important? Well, the above stat details as much, given that where Arsenal’s weaknesses lie, Watford have strengths.
This is an especially telling of the kind of defensive issues the Gunners back four face. Sure, pace and skill have exposed their suspect form of rebuttal, whether that’s been Adama Traore, Sadio Mane, or as we saw last week, Villa’s Trezeguet. However, the main culprit has been a lack of communication and spatial awareness that David Luiz and his fellow defenders have been prone to on more than one occasion.
As such, the hosts will expect themselves to cause just as much havoc from their own set-pieces, orchestrated by Gerard Deulofeu, and add to their opponents’ record of conceding 21 of their 46 goals from corners and free-kicks, by once again inflicting confusion amongst the Arsenal defence.
If set-pieces are where the Hornet’s find their joy, flank attacks will be crucial…
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (21/07/20 – Premier League)
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City (18/07/20 – FA Cup semi-final)
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool (15/07/20 – Premier League)
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal (12/07/20 – Premier League)
Arsenal 1-1 Leicester (07/07/20 – Premier League)
Watford 0-4 Manchester City (21/07/20 – Premier League)