By Bulldog Drummond
Watford are tenth in the league overall as I write this, and much of their achievement has come away from home as the away table shows.
Overall our results against Watford are not quite what you might imagine: we have won 14 but lost 12 with one draw. Much of this is down to a seven year period in the 1980s in which we won one and lost six games in seven against them between 1986 and 1988 under George Graham.
Although to be fair to dear old George the results immediately before that were one win, two draws and three defeats. More recently after six successive wins against them it has gone awry once more…
|13 Mar 2016||Arsenal v Watford||L||1-2||FA Cup|
|02 Apr 2016||Arsenal v Watford||W||4-0||Premier League|
|27 Aug 2016||Watford v Arsenal||W||1-3||Premier League|
|31 Jan 2017||Arsenal v Watford||L||1-2||Premier League|
|14 Oct 2017||Watford v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
So the big thing Watford are after is to become just the third side to win successive away wins at the Ems. The other two were Chelsea (2009) and Swansea (2016). But we do always score against them – at least we have in the last 11 so there is every chance of getting this right.
If we do concede in this game it will equal another George Graham record of conceding in 12 straight games between April and October 1988.
But enough of the facts and figures, what of the teams?
Sead Kolasinac and Calum Chambers were substituted against AC Milan after suffering knocks but both may be fit. Maitland-Niles looked as composed as ever when he came on, and Xhaka seems to have upgraded his efforts of late so the team ought to be…
Chambers Mustafi Koscielny Maitland-Niles
Ozil Aubameyang Mkhitaryan
Monreal is listed as a slight doubt but with the Milan game coming up I can’t see him being risked.
Which would then leave lurking on the Islington beach
Ospina, Iwobi, Holding, Kolasinac, Mavropanos, Elneny, Welbeck
But I do want to add a word about Elneny; I really think this guy has come on enormously since we bought him, and has put in a number of sterling performances. You might remember that on 2 April 2016 broke the record for the season of the most passes in one match for a single player with 121. And he did do a lovely anti-Alexis tweet as he was about to move to Man Utd with his comment about “Who else is coming with me to Russia?”
Mind you with the way the Russians are dealing with things in England these days I wonder how safe the England team will be there. I don’t think it would be my country of choice if I were planning a trip abroad.
But let us also have a look at Watford injuries – remembering the old thing about Arsenal always having the worst injuries. That of course seems like a long time ago because once we started to expose what the real injury numbers were the press backed off and started to find other things to assault Arsenal with.
But still, it is worth noting… Top of the table looks like this…
|#||Club||Men gone||Last man down||What he do?|
|1||Watford||11||J Holebas||Ankle Injury|
|2||Crystal Palace||10||Y Cabaye||Adductor Strain|
|3||West Ham United||8||W Reid||Conussion|
However to be fair it is said that two of these guys (Holebas and Femenia) could be back by tomorrow.
Just one final thing: Watford, along with Chelsea, are the red card specialists this season: each having four. Arsenal have none in the Premier League this year. It is of course all up to the referee.
Which brings us back to the main problem with this game.
- Arsenal v Watford Sunday 11 March 2018 – The Match Officials
- How curious that the media reflect a split in the fan base at WHU but not at Arsenal
- Arsenal transfer rumours: another 10 unbelievable stories (literally).