By Bulldog Drummond
Watford have lost both their home games so far, while Arsenal have won one and lost one of their away games. A win, and with other results going our way, would take us up to third. Leicester are away to Manchester United and Palace are away to Tottenham, so defeats in both cases are possible. What’s more with Leicester and Everton being talked up as the two teams who can knock Arsenal out of the top six, we will get a clearer indication of just what they are made of.
Watford ended last season in 11th place, with a middle of the table home record as well – eight wins, eight defeats and three draws. 26 goals scored and 28 conceded – an average of fractionally over 1-1 per home game. Arsenal’s away form was seven wins, four draws and eight defeats.
So this gives us a real chance to keep the improved away form running. We’ve beaten Newcastle, and lost to Liverpool but with a much smaller margin than the pundits were predicting (although they still called it a rout) and now can show that the away form is on the mend.
In the summer Watford had a net spend on £17.5m on transfers buying defender Craig Dawson from West Bromwich Albion for £5.5m and Ismaïla Sarr, a winger from Rennes for £30m, while selling the winger Dodi Lukebakio for £18m to Hertha Berlin. But the biggest change is that after three games they sacked their manager Javi Gracia, who had got them to the FA Cup final and given them a win percentage of 45% in the league (their best ever performance in the Premier League for a manager overall), and brought in Quique Sánchez Flores. This will be Flores first game.
This is the second time at Watford for Flores, who was last appointed on 5 June 2015. At that time he was the fifth manager in 12 months, and he did get a manager of the month award during his time there. He got Watford into mid-table in the Prem (no mean feat) and the semi-final of the FA Cup, but then left in May 2016. It seems like any manager who wants to stay at Watford needs to avoid any run in the Cup.
Since then he has been to Espanyol (where he signed José Antonio Reyes, for the third time in his career as manager, but was dismissed after two years. Then he did six months with the wonderfully named Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (who are in China not the Danish territory) and finally back to Watford.
So Watford now enter their fifth season in the PL, with their record showing…
Our record against them over these four seasons has been
|17 Oct 2015||Watford v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|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|
|11 Mar 2018||Arsenal v Watford||W||3-0||Premier League|
|29 Sep 2018||Arsenal v Watford||W||2-0||Premier League|
|15 Apr 2019||Watford v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
So yes, they can beat us – but just once at home since they came back to the Premier League – we’ve won three. It’s a perfect chance to show our away form continues to improve.
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