As club football returns to the Premier League, just one point separates Watford and Arsenal going into the eighth game of the season. With Vicarage Road humbled twice in this fixture in the last two years with the Hornets conceding 3 in each match and the Gunners out of sight at half time last season, Marco Silva will he hoping for a more competitive fixture and to go one better and get a result against Arsene Wenger’s side. Watford won the last meeting between the two which could provide the visitors with motivation for revenge but equally this could be a real opportunity for another win against Arsenal.
Reasons for optimism
Watford could well face an Alexis Sanchez-less Arsenal side in the late Saturday kick off with the Chilean only having just returned from International duty. Arsenal’s best player not starting alongside defensive injuries can provide the Golden Boys with a degree of belief with Mustafi ruled out and Koscielny and Kolasinac both facing late fitness tests. This means a potential back three of Monreal-Mertesacker-Holding could be on the cards which should light up the faces of Richarlison and co.
Regardless of team selection we know Arsenal will have a strong line up but they are there to be exploited at the back. We as Watford fans know all to well that a back three getting mixed up can have disastrous consequences as we saw with Mazzarri’s shambolic organisation. Marco Silva has had plenty of time to work with his side to develop a plan for this game and while the hosts still go in as underdogs if we get the approach right and are clinical in both boxes I believe this is a real opportunity to cause an upset. It is the perfect time for this fixture I believe with 12 points already in the bank giving a bit more freedom to the home side.
Reasons for caution
It may sound odd but in many ways I believe our downfall could be our own ability. In many ways I would say we are too good to get results against the likes of Arsenal even despite getting a frantic 3-3 draw against Liverpool. We saw against Man City a team that wanted to play and have a go at such a strong side at the right times. Despite not even playing that poorly, we were dispatched 6-0 on our own turf. This is what worries me to an extent, that we will be too expansive against an Arsenal side that will more than likely walk away with the points if it’s a pure footballing battle. When the Gunners visited Stoke they failed to break down a side that hit them on a break away and sat every man behind the ball. While this is equally vulnerable to Arsenal’s quality, you feel it’s about making it ugly for Wenger’s side. They won’t want to be rifled and the main reason we’ve ended up losing comfortably both seasons at home to Arsenal is because we’ve shown too much respect.
It’s all about finding a balance I believe which will be very difficult, I don’t think we’re capable of sitting back for a full game and defending, our strengths should lie on counter attacking and retaining the ball at the right times, again, a lot easier said than done.
Watford fans, how confident are you going into this game? What does Silva need to do to get a result? Let us know in the comments below!