Watford v Arsenal. Pre match thoughts and the predicted teams

By Bulldog Drummond

What’s our prediction?

The Daily Telegraph predicts a 1-1 draw, as does the BBC.  The Telegraph’s explanation is that “Given the strength of Watford’s squad – especially in a midfield that contains Roberto Pereyra, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue – they should be doing better than they are.”

Certainly Watford have been slowly improving.   After winning their FA Cup semi final they then had a dire run losing to Arsenal, Wolverhampton, Chelsea and West Ham, just managing a 2-1 win against doomed Huddersfield.

And curiously that was much the same for us after getting through the Europa League quarter final.  We beat Napoli away and then managed to lose against Palace, Wolverhampton and Leicester with all three teams getting three goals against us.   Then we beat Valencia 3-1 in the semi-final.  It looked to me like a clear case of the psychological effect.

Next it was the home draw with Brighton which we certainly would have won if not distracted by the Europa – and had we won it we would have been in the Champions League this season.

The difference is that Watford have carried on that pre-cup final way this season although they did did get their first point against Newcastle, so that could be signs of a recovery.  Which is why I guess they go for 1-1, as coincidentally do the BBC.

As for Arsenal after the opening two wins we played two members of the top four from last season meaning 50% of our games have been against top four clubs, and 25% of our games against last season’s top for are now out of the way.

The game will of course be played out against a background of anti-Xhaka abuse, which continues apace, and can do nothing positive for the team.  The disgraceful Transfer Tavern web site goes with “He needs booting’, ‘Must sell’ – These Arsenal fans slate 26 y/o ‘donkey’ after stat emerges.

But Squaka keeps Xhaka in its team giving us…


Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac;

Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ceballos;

Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

To be fair to them the news of Lacazette’s injury had not been announced when their prediction appeared.

But to try and find team predictions one has wade through the mire of anti-Arsenal propaganda that swamps us every day.  As with “Dimitar Berbatov makes Manchester United Europa League claim that will worry Arsenal fans.”

This of course is the constant Football.London anti-Arsenal barrage, and I would ask you to bear that headline in mind as you read what comes after…

“Former Manchester United and Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov has claimed that he believes United will go all out to win the Europa League this season.”

So, if you are an Arsenal fan (as seems quite likely given that you are reading Untold Arsenal), I must ask you here and now: are you worried by the fact that Berbatov says Man U will try and win the Europa League?

I suspect not: it is just more Football.London anti-Arsenal garbage, pumped out twice an hour, 24 hours a day.

For what it is worth FoLo go with the same team as Squaka, but Bergkampesque takes us to different territory with


Luiz                             Sokratis

Maitland-Niles   Torreira      Kolasinac

Ceballos          Xhaka


 Pepe                          Aubamayang


Other sites go very close to one of those two formats.

So, can we find any tactical statistics that haven’t been highlighted elsewhere?  Well, actually yes, when it comes to offsides, because Arsenal have been caught offside more than any other club in the PL with 15 off sides, while Watford have been caught least with two.

There is little link between being caught offside and position in the league table: Manchester City are fourth in the offside league with 12, while Man U and Tottenham have four and Liverpool three.

Of course one can criticise a club for getting caught offside a lot, but some teams do play it tactically, regularly taking chances against a defence on the grounds that either they will strike luck and get a one on one with the keeper, or the tactic itself will push the defence into taking more risks until they get it wrong allowing the attacker to get through.

Elsewhere, the Daily Canon has an interesting comment on the referee.  You may recall that we used to do referee analyses before each game, showing the propensity for the ref to favour certain teams.  We stopped doing it regularly because everyone who wanted to look at the figures could find them and see what was going on.

But for this game the Daily Canon has taken up the theme writing under the headline “Worst ref appointed to Watford v Arsenal, saying,”Another Premier League game, another chance for Anthony Taylor to do something stupid, yes indeedy, the worst ref in the division will take charge of Arsenal’s game against Watford.”

So maybe we did have a bit of influence after all.

Anyway for me it looks like a 1-2 to Arsenal rather than a 1-1.  Referee allowing.

54 Replies to “Watford v Arsenal. Pre match thoughts and the predicted teams”

  1. 15:47
    not much to say about the lineup
    mesut’s back, at last; “diamond midfield” in the absence of laca why not – probably the right call, actually
    at the bottom of the diamond, lucas would have made more sense than granit imo, but i can’t see no reason why we shouldn’t win today …
    enjoy the game, friends

  2. Anthony Taylor is not the worst referee in the PGMOL. He is one of the more obedient to the evil Riley. The VAR officials will also be Rileys pet blind mice.

  3. Lineups out:

    Maitland-Niles Sokratis Luiz Kolasinac
    Guendouzi Ozil Ceballos
    Pepe Aubameyang

    Beach: Torreira, Chambers, Nelson, Martinez, Willock, Martinelli, Saka



    OT: The early game Bournemouth vs SWatford

    With the game over, we see Bourneouth hasn’t been fouling, while Everton have been (5:15). Everton have all the cards (4) and Bourneouth have almost all of the goals (3:1).

    Bournemouth required a treatment, referee issues no discipline. Bournemouth requires a second treatment, a foul and free kick might have been handed out.


    An older news story, was about Xhaka being dirty. Apparently, to be a dirty player means you force the referee to give the player in question a lot of fouls (with sufficient fouls often leading to cards).

    To me, a dirty player is one who injures opponents, or seeks to inflict pain on them. The tackle with one foot high or going over the top of the ball. The kick to the Achilles tendon. The stamp on the instep of the foot. The punch to a kidney. The wild elbow. The knee in the thigh. The headbutt. Spitting on opposition.

    PGMO referees will issue phantom fouls. Even serious phantom fouls, such as running next to opposition after eating garlic and sour spanish onions prior to game time. Surely that warrants a yellow card as a first offence?

    There are dirty players in the EPL, counting fouls or yellows isn’t the way to find them.

    Yes, I think Taylor will do at least one stupid thing; probably with Arsenal getting the worse end of it.

  4. If maitlan niles isn’t the worst full back to Don an arsenal shirt I do not know who is. He make Eboue seem like a world beater

  5. Assist to Maitland-Niles apparently. Sorry about the double complaint about slow commentary.


  6. First card to Arsenal. Kolasinac, not Xhaka. Watford hasn’t had any “oafish” lunges? What makes Kolasinac’s tackle so worthy of being the first card?


  7. First card to Arsenal. Kolasinac, not Xhaka. Watford hasn’t had any “oafish” lunges? What makes Kolasinac’s tackle so worthy of being the first card?

    Two more cards (Guendouzi and Watford) in extra time? Handbags over an incident with Pepe on the receiving end?


  8. Well we’re not to be disappointed by Taylor. Pepe is fouled by Holevas and there is about to be some handbaags but Guendouzi gets in and pulls Holevas away there are several who got involved to make peace but Taylor books Holevas & Guendouzi (the peacemaker). What the F is VAR for if it cannot advise Taylor correctly.

    I think Smudger is commentating and all the idiots in Sky apart from Cahill & referee Taylor see an incident that is not a foul before the first Arsenal goal. In fact Taylor played advantage so the foul must have been the other way!! Smudger takes a while to praise Auba but eventually plucks up courage and then says that Auba has reached his limits.

  9. FFs
    When the hell did every goal kick become a gilt edged opportunity for our opponents to score. It’s not against the rules to play it long and expect to win it in midfield!!!

  10. Any bet this doesn’t come up in a 😈 Mike Riley conference?

    70 min Technically, Watford’s goal shouldn’t have counted, because Deulofeu’s foot was in the box when the goalkick was taken. Apparently VAR can’t get involved with restarts. Quite right, too; it’s not like it led to a goal or anything.

    Let’s get another goal Gunners!

  11. VAR another proof that Riley’s cheats can allow a Watford goal without checking for a Watford foot in the penalty area before the goalkeeper plays the pass.

  12. How to dive in anticipation that a player will attempt to tackle. Taylor was just looking for a reason to give a pen. As for booking Leno for time wasting. What a fucking joke

  13. We do not deserve anything from this game, we have been absolute crap, especially the defence.
    I have seen more control and professionalism from Crawley Wasps girls team under 11’s.
    The last four goals we have conceded have all been as a result of our own cock ups.
    Absolutely pathetic performance, Auba excepted.

  14. @ Mick Hazel

    Way to talk absolute nonsense. Did you see Taylor bossing that game or did you just not watch?

  15. Got to look at that as two points dropped. Sokratis…Sokratis…Cleverley was within the box, it is true but…what a giveaway. As for the second…it was a penalty but it was poor midfield play that let them get that break.

    As well, there is always another day. At least we didn’t lose

  16. What a terrible performance.

    We deserved to lose especially after that gift for the first goal.

    Ue’s principles are destroying us before our very eyes.

  17. As for the refereeing…a lot of tugging against our players was not called…

    Some lively runs by our forwards late but some well placed passes instead of taking on three defenders might have yielded better results. (Pepe?)

  18. Some truth in what MickHazel says but Taylor ruled the game like it was his boys playing for Watford.

    The truth about VAR is there for all to see. The truthe about passing from the back is there for all to see. It is absolute shite when the players are f*king colour blind and pass to an opponent. I am now embarassed to support this pathetic system of play.

  19. A dire performance with zero redeeming features. Blaming Taylor or VAR is just pure nonsense. No leadership, no maturity, no direction. Looked like lightweight schoolboys and overpaid layabouts against hard working professionals.
    Hope a lot of butts get kicked before Thursday. We can do so much better. Maybe KT and Hector might bring something better next month?

  20. I’m not sure what to think, because we don’t win the long balls from our keeper, either. At least there the ball is not 30 yards from our net, though. In addition, I am not convinced that Holding, Tierney and Bellerin will be the answer overnight. Maybe in the future, but that is pure speculation.

  21. Mikey
    Even the most biased Arsenal supporter has to concede that the majority of goals we have conceded so far this season have been the result of our own silly errors. Or have you not been watching our games.
    As for your implication that Taylor somehow influenced the result give me a break. Watford had 30 attempts on our goal, was that Taylor’s fault. He could and probably should have blown up for a foul by Kolasinac before the ball reached Auba for our opening goal so do not give me that nonsense about the referee bossing the game. I am the first to condemn biased refereeing when it occurs but it was not the main factor in today’s debacle by any means.
    We were entirely responsible for drawing a match we should have won easily, same as last week.

  22. Tierney and Hector will without doubt be the logical first choice full backs. Even playing as a back three they’ll be impossible to leave out (assuming they both fully recover). That could feel like two new top class signings. Holding might just make it three. Our defence as it stands just isn’t good enough to compete at the top level,

  23. I remember Wenger saying about centre back pairings that it takes time to have them gel. But also sometimes some players just don’t gel over time. I am still not sure if they wouldn’t gel in the end. But the silly mistakes we make doesn’t make it easy to give me a lot of confidence.

  24. @ Mick Hazel

    I’m not into being offensive so I’ll try and be objective…your innate inability to grasp logistics however gives me a hugely limited room for manoeuvre.

    Yes we have conceded goals through our own errors. No dispute. But having accepted that what don’t you understand? Every time our player attempts to tackle, its a foul. Every time they kick the shit out of us it’s ok. How can you not realise that this allows one team far more of an opportunity to press forward and have attempts on goal. Rocket science it ain’t. You may prefer your Stevie Wonder impersonation mate but I’ve been watching football for too many decades than I care to remember not to spot when the pitch is tilted.

    Man U won titles on the back of refereeing like that. We didn’t make 50 undefeated on the back of refereeing like that.

  25. Watford were the better team from start to finish, unfortunately they don’t have auba as their striker. 36 attempts against our 7.

    About the refereeing, if any team should feel hard done by, it should probably be Watford. Our first goal wouldn’t stand if it were against us and untold refs reviewed it(I’m 200% sure of that), Guendouzzi might have walked. There were a couple of other incidents.

    Emery isn’t the man to take us to the next level. By the end of the season we’ll know better. I believe arsenal should do what they should have done after sacking Wenger, go full throttle for a manager like Diego Simeone

  26. Mick Hazel

    For someone trying to be objective you have failed infinitely more abysmally…….but I am more than happy to apologise for my perceived weakness

  27. Mikey or M8key
    Your names are as confused as your ramblings.
    And by the way it was you who was trying to be objective, not me.
    I merely gave an opinion.
    I really cannot be bothered with your nonsense any more so this is my last word.

  28. And my final word is to point out that you accuse me of talking nonsense whilst initiated this exchange with the phrase, “I have seen more control and professionalism from Crawley Wasps girls team under 11’s”. I wonder what the neutral might call a statement like that?

  29. @ Tony

    If you mean I get wound up by people who make ridiculous statements but then criticise others of having done the same merely for explaining their point of view. Yes, I am the same old Mike.

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