Watford v Arsenal. The history, and the way the media is changing its view of Arsenal

By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal have played Watford just 33 times in competitive league and cup matches, winning 19, drawing two and losing 12.

It was in the 1980s that Watford left their mark on Arsenal, the two sides playing 13 games against each other (12 in the league, one in the FA Cup).  Quite amazingly Arsenal lost nine of those 13 games and won just three.  The worst defeat was at the start of that run on 27 November 1982 as Arsenal lost 2-4 at home to Watford.

But of course, all bad things come to an end sometime, and starting with a 1-0 win on 25 September 1999, Arsenal won six consecutive matches against Watford, which turned out to be the start of a run of 17 games against the Hornets in which Arsenal won 13, lost three and drew one.  In eight of these games, Arsenal scored three or more goals.

Here’s the final part of this run…

Date Match Res Score Competition
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
15 Sep 2019 Watford v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
26 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Watford W 3-2 Premier League
07 Nov 2021 Arsenal v Watford W 1-0 Premier League

The Arsenal History Society website has around 350 videos of Arsenal on it and so not surprisingly the site has six videos of victories against Watford – click below for each video

  1. Arsenal beat Watford 3-4 away  1984
  2. Henry beats Watford 2006
  3. Beating Watford 3-0 in 2015
  4. On this day Arsenal get their first win of the season, beating Watford: the video 2016
  5. Putting four past Watford 2016
  6. On this day in Arsenal’s history: Arsenal 2 Watford 0 the video. Leno’s debut. 2018

As for Watford, they have played in all four of the top divisions in English football but since 1998/9 have restricted themselves to alternating between the top two leagues (the Premier League and the Championship).

After coming third in the Championship in 2005/6 they survived one season in the Premier League but then since returning in 2015 made it into the top league for five seasons before once more dropping down, but then coming straight back up through finishing second in the Championship last season.

This up/down bouncing is becoming ever more prevalent with smaller clubs such as Watford learning to conserve their finances more than was previously the case, and collect the solidarity payments ensuring that at least some historic debts are paid off.  Fulham and Norwich seem to engage in the same sort of approach, although Fulham might try and upgrade themselves once their new stand opens.

The Watford Observer tell us that Watford made a loss before taxation of £35.6 million in the financial year up to June 30, 2020, compared with a profit of £9.7million the previous year which shows the impact of covid has had on some of the smaller clubs.

Since 2014 the club has been owned by  Giampaolo Pozzo and the club’s last major triumph was making it to the 2019 FA Cup final where they were beaten by Manchester City.

There is an interesting note on the BBC’s coverage of the game in which they suggest that “Compared to Manchester United and Tottenham, the Gunners have got the advantage of a settled squad that are all pulling in the same direction, while they have far more strength in depth than West Ham.”

That is such a transformation from the way the BBC was talking about the club just a couple of weeks ago – although you’ll have to take my word for that since as I have mentioned before, rather scurrilously the Corporation removes its predictions from the site after the match has started, rather allowing us to compare the prediction with reality.

They continue, “Mikel Arteta’s side have found the knack for winning games when they don’t play well or things go against them, which is down to the manager – he has made them a team again.  Watford got a great draw at Old Trafford last week but they rode their luck to leave with a point and the same will have to happen for them to get anything here.”

They predict Arsenal to win 1-2.

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