Watford – Arsenal: elevator clubs, focus and the team selection

By Walter Broeckx

As it seems that the rest of the Untold Arsenal staff is out on holidays, finding a way home after having been to the Arsenal AGM and probably having drunk too much, it is up to me to do the stuff we do before the match: trying to say something sensible (or less sensible depending on who writes it) about the match that is going to be played.

When I think of Watford I immediately think of Elton John. I still was a young man when he took them as their chairman from the bottom of the football league to the top division. In the year I got married they even got to the  FA cup final but lost to Everton. I even hoped Watford to win that FA cup final against a then dominating Everton team. But it wasn’t to be for Watford. But it is one of those teams for whom I have a bit of a soft spot because of the Elton John connection. Is he still standing?

Anyway we are here to discuss football things. Watford is one of the new clubs in the PL this season. Having gained promotion finishing second in the football league championship last season. Watford is what we call in my country an ‘elevator-club’. Meaning a club that in their history is going up and down and up and down again. So never really much dull seasons for their fans. I think Arsenal is the other side of the spectrum compared to elevator-clubs. In 4 years we celebrate 100 years uninterrupted in top class football in England. We also celebrate 100 years in the top divisions in total next year if I added up the numbers correct. Watford has 9 years in the top division in its entire history by the way.

Watford has had a bit of a history of not going bankrupt on a few occasions in the last decennia. But they somehow managed to survive the storms that came their way. It is also a rather short trip to Watford from London as Watford is only some 20 miles or 35 km away from Islington. I never realised that they were that close to Arsenal to be honest. So no long trips to be made.

On to the match.  Watford seems to have a few injuries but a few of them are very short term and so Behrami and Nyom could be fit to face Arsenal. Watford is currently in 12th place in the league with 10 points from 8 matches. They didn’t score much up to now with only 6 goals in total. But they do know how to defend as they have only let in 7 goals up to now. That is the same number as Arsenal has let in and with this they are leading that league table together with us and a few other teams.

So it looks like they are a difficult team to handle. All rather close results as their biggest defeat was 2-0 away at Manchester City. So we can expect a team that will play as a defensive unit and will be difficult to break down. And certainly when we keep in mind that they had 14 days to prepare for this fixture with all their players almost being at the club. This is why I would rather prefer to play another top team after an international break than a team that has lots of players who stayed at home during the break. They do have it seems a rather experienced defensive unit with Per seeing back one of his old defensive teammates from his Werder Bremen days in Sebastian Prödl.

But what about Arsenal?

The news from the injury front looks rather good. Arteta and Flamini are back fit and it seems that even Koscielny will also be back if he passes a fitness test. That leaves us with only Wilshere, Welbeck and Rosicky out with long term injuries. We have to wait to see how Alexis survived his Chile matches but looking at his performances we shouldn’t worry too much I hope.

One special mention goes to Bellerin. He spend a while on loan there two seasons ago. From a Watford fan on twitter I read great things about him but he was played at left back for some reason and slowly faded away a bit. Maybe a bit too young to really make the final step or… not giving enough time to learn from your mistakes as every young player has to do?

Talking about performances: our players did excellent in the matches for their countries. The most important thing will be to keep this level up and transform it in to the Arsenal matches.

And what is maybe even more important is to focus on the match ahead of us and not much on the internationals or on the match after this match. The only important match that should be on ours and on our players mind should be Watford.

With almost all players fit some players will not even sit on the bench. Let me try to put a good team together for this match.


Bellerin – Per – Gabriel – Monreal

Le coq

Santi – Özil

Ramsey – Walcott – Alexis

on the beach(is there one in Watford?): Ooooospina – Debuchy – Gibbs – Giroud – The Ox – Koscielny (if 200% fit) – Arteta – Flamini

That is how I would start this match. Try to score early and then rest a few players if the match allows it.

An  option might be to use Arteta from the start and rest Coquelin. I expect Watford to be rather defensive so a real defensive midfielder might not be that important at the start of the match. And that way we could have Coquelin with fresh legs against Bayern where we will need him much more.

But there I go already and that after having said that we only should look at this match and not look further…. Just shows that it is easier said than done.

I hope the boys can pick up where they left if after beating Manchester United in a convincing way. Scoring a few early goals will be very useful and helpful of course.


35 Replies to “Watford – Arsenal: elevator clubs, focus and the team selection”

  1. So the only problem is the one man team with the silent support of Really. If you get my drift. (drift – reference)

  2. We have to decide the importance of the Bayern game to us and either play a full team v Watford or rest players for the CL game.

    Whatever AW does, i hope the team he picks is focused and willing to put in every effort to win.

    Looks to be a low scoring game, but i think we may just want to win enough to do it. That said, if the ref is determined to hinder us…

  3. OT

    All wunder mouths of the media make wunderklupp and how he as won the Bunderlieage twice the manager of salvation for looserpool.

    They choose to over look the fact that it took wunderKlopp five years to win the league.

    Will the wundermeadia and looserpool give wunderklupp 5 years?

    I doubt it.

  4. Mr Broeckx, good morning to you. Hope you are hearing well from Mr T Attwood? Those are the Gunners’ 1st team starting XI you’ve started for the Watford game. And you expect their legs to be fresh for the looming Bayern Munich game on Tuesday night? Ssve maybe a fit to play in this game – Sanchez, Arsenal have no any other Duracell Bunny who they can deploy against Bayern Munich I would have thought. I known the pressure will be on the Gunners whichever way later today after the 2 Manchester clubs have concluded their outings. Will Odion Ighalo’s Watford led attack be too strong for the Gunners reserve starting XI to beat to the 3 points that will be at stake at Vicarage Road today’s evening? I wouldn’t think so if the Boss has a belief on his reserve team to deliver the goods to him and also believe his reserve team starting XI will deliver a win at the Vicarage Road today. I don’t know if the Boss has concluded his starts already. If he hasn’t, let him please allow me to influence his starts. My starts: Macey. DebuchyRhino’ChambersGibb. Arteta Flamini. IwobiAdelaideOxlade. Giroud. My bench: OspinaBellerinDeAbreuKoscielnyMonrealRamseyWalcott. Note: I have rested Sanchez entirely from the match.Rhino’ & Giroud are the only Gunners 1st team starters I included in my starts. Thanks.

  5. OT: Walter /Tony, I hope you guys are following the leaks on how the Kasier and his chums bought the WC 2006? “Vom Sommer-märchen zum Sommer-alptraum!”
    I watched Twatford beat us several times at Vicarage Rd in the 80s, humiliating and embarrassing experiences, low times for the Gunners in those days. Good job Wenger turned up!! lets hope the Guns blast the ‘Orns today.

  6. We have survived the interlul without injury. I hope we play a full team & win comfortably without injury against Watford. The CL is not an issue until after we defeat Watford.

    COYG – I love you Arsenal.

  7. OT again. Sorry.

    This is what Wenger had to say regarding Gary Nevilles idiotic claim that the Arsenal players go in to training simply to see “how much fun” they can have, rather than do any preparation.

    To this Wenger said:

    “we just turn up on a Saturday, we just go out and play. I am 30 years in the job. I have a good tolerance level to sometimes listen to things that are really ridiculous. Honestly I can do it”

    Fair and measured response it seems to me. But no. According to John Cross in the Mirror, yet another supposed Arsenal fan that seems to take great satisfaction ffom deriding or casting Wenger in a bad light, ‘bellows’ (that’s how you say it isn’t it John?):

    “Arsene Wenger has branded Gary Neville ‘Ridiculous’ after launching an amazing attack on the Sky Pundit”

    ‘Amazing attack’


    I’ve read Wengers response a few times at no time has the word ‘Amazing’ or ‘Attack’ ever entered my mind.

    But what Neville has to say about Wenger, every time he opens his gob on the other hand?

    But you wouldn’t expect an Arsenal ‘Fan’ like Cross to stand in Wengers corner at all now would you?

  8. Para

    It was 🙂

    But in all honesty I find it all a bit sad, because when he first appeared as a pundit he was a breath of fresh air.

    I didn’t agree with everything he said, and nor should I. BUT, I always felt that what he said was from a position of neutrality and said with the wealth of knowledge and experience he had acquired over his long and successful career.

    Like many I didn’t like him as a player. He got away with far too much, both physically and verbally for my liking. But hey, he played for Fergies United. What more can you say? But he surprised me as a pundit, and like many, I really liked him.

    But the fact is over the last couple of years he’s gradually slipped into the ‘Arsenal/Wenger can do NOTHING right’ mentality.

    And this despite us winning 2 FA Cups, spending a bit more, and looking like title contenders again.

    Along with TH14, 2 guys more than any that disappoint me in there analysis and what seems constant derision of Arsenal and Wenger.


  9. Hilarious listening to BT sport commentary trying to put positive spin on Liverpool’s drab draw with the spuds saying Klop gets a clean sheet in his first game as Liverpool manager. Laughable.

  10. Colario,
    It took three years, not five, for Klopp to win the Bundesliga.

    That is a bit unfair on TH14, dont you think? The only thing that he said that was close to being negative, was the ‘4 new players in our spine’ comment. Constant derision of Wenger and Arsenal?- hardly so.
    Gary Neville?- still one of the better pundits, in my opinion, though he has a tendency to to parrot media stereotypes every now and then- ‘Arsenal have small midfielders’, ‘Arsenal are tactically naive’, ‘Arsenal need a Viera-esque midfielder’. He was one of the few who refused to criticise Wenger for the Ospina selection.

  11. hrishi

    RE TH14

    If you think I’m being a bit harsh that’s up to you.

    The fact is I’ve yet to hear him put up an impassioned defence of Wenger, despite sitting there listening to both Neville and/or Carragher attempt to undermine him at every turn.

    Ok, I concede that SOMETIMES he restrains from getting stuck in, but as I say, I haven’t heard him put up a counter argument as I thought he may, or indeed the situation warranted he should.

    If you think Henry sitting back and listening to someone he is supposed to admire get criticised, unfairly, on a regular basis is acceptable, then that’s up to you.

    As for Garry Neville being ‘one of the better pundits’. Well that may or may not be true but given the level of competition that’s hardly something to get too excited about now is it?

  12. SKY Sports

    Talking there normal shite.

    David Jones link man in the studio:

    “Could this be Arsenals year? We’ve been saying that for a few years.”

    Have they? Really? Is that what they’ve been saying?

    And there I was thinking every year we where written off.

    -Not going to finish in the top 4.

    -Liverpool have bought better.

    -Spurs have bought better.

    -Short of a striker.

    -Short of a midfield ball winner.

    -short of a centre back.

    -Short of a World Class keeper.

    Or maybe I heard it all wrong?

  13. Why all this free publicity for the thug Neville?
    After the Night of Infamy when he and his fellow thugs performed GBH on Arsenal (with the aid of a corrupt referee)instigated by a corrupt manager.
    Neville & Co should have been banned from football for life and it simply galls me to hear him anywhere near the media, pontificating on matters football, as though he was knowledgeable about the finer points of the game. When in actual fact, his expertise involved thuggery of the most disgusting level.

  14. So grabbing our players, pushing them, and trying to distabilize their jump while in the air is not a foul? Then what is a foul. Jones! That is too obvious

  15. Hard working Watford making it hard for the Gunners no wonder they’ve not let many goals in . Think they will run out of steam second half but might be only one goal in this one !

  16. Jambug

    I used to think he (Neville) gave good reports but lately he has also become a “toeing the line” person.
    Even Lee Dixon was speaking of what manu should do, what they will do next, they have to do something… etc instead of praising Arsenal’s performance(had two streams when i saw how we were playing).
    Maybe this is part of their job description to follow whatever agenda is current.

  17. A slight touch of a Watford player draws a Jones foul. A pull or throat check is OK against Arsenal. The foul on Ramsey was ignored by Jones & subsequently by Watford. I hope Watford remember what they did because when another team does the same to them they will bleat like lambs.

  18. “Hilarious listening to BT sport commentary trying to put positive spin on Liverpool’s drab draw with the spuds saying Klop gets a clean sheet in his first game as Liverpool manager. Laughable.”


    Klopp had less than a week with his new club, which loosely translates to about three practice sessions.
    He’s missing his three best attackers due to injuries , and he played away to the only undefeated club in the league this season.

    Indeed “laughable ” that someone might be putting a positive spin on a goalless draw under these circumstances.

    Who are these idiots! 🙂

  19. Mike Jones awarding Watford phantom free kicks around minute 58 for about 5 minutes. Thankfully 2 quickfire goals ensured we didn’t get robbed. He also didn’t blow for a penalty when Ozil was felled in the box, and even though sanchez scored from the loose ball, I very much doubt he was going to call the ball back for a penalty (assuming he was trying to play an advantage). Can someone also explain why gomes’ trip on Sanchez wasn’t a penalty; is it because Sanchez got up and chased the ball instead of staying prone on the pitch? PIGMOB; always looking to cheat.

  20. Well done The Arsenal.

    Well done to Watford as well who really competed for the first 60 minutes.

  21. That will do nicely.It will be interesting to see how we get on against Bayern.COYG!!
    Unwards and Opwards!

  22. Tom, you are wrong about the spuds being the only undefeated club in the league. They have lost already this season or else the league tables are wrong as they show 1 loss.

  23. Arsene Wenger got the selection absolutely right. It’s beginning of the season and any athlete will know that it’s a good time to push yourself to the limit. I honestly don’t understand why some comments suggest, or in some cases demand the boss to rest the players. Have you exercise before? You only stop when you absolutely needed to. That’s how you build your stamina throughout the years. Comparing self and Arsenal players are ridiculous. They are physically super fit people, they don’t tire or cramp easily like you and me. In fact, the way the team destroyed Watford was not physically but with pure skills. Did you see the triangle passes yesterday? Absolutely amazing. Don’t do pro things if you are not a pro, plz.

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