• Analysis

Match Preview: Watford vs Arsenal

Arsenal, Watford FC
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Quique Sanchez Flores returns in the Watford dugout this weekend, as the Hornets welcome Arsenal to the Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon.

Watford FC used to international break to make a change in management, sacking Javi Gracia, who guided them to the FA Cup Final last year after a poor start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Gracia won only one point from the opening four games, as the Hornets hit the bottom of the Premier League table.

He is replaced with a former manager of the club, Quique Sanchez Flores, who spent the 2015-16 season in charge at Vicarage Road.

Flores’ first test on the return is Unai Emery’s Arsenal. The Gunners travel to Watford on the back of an entertaining 2-2 draw in the North London Derby against Tottenham right before the international break.

They have registered seven points in four games from the start of the season and have a goal difference of 6-6.

Team news

Hornets captain Troy Deeney will miss the game for the hosts, as he is still recovering from knee surgery.

Former Manchester United defender Craig Cathcart could join him on the sidelines due to a muscular problem.

Alexander Lacazette has been ruled out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury, but Nicolas Pepe should be ready, despite missing out Ivory Coasts games during the international break.

Rob Holding (knee) is closing in on a return but the game could come too soon, while Hector Bellerin (knee), Kieran Tierney and Konstantinos Mavropanos (both groin) are still out our contention for the Gunners.

Talk to the press

Quique Sanchez Flores says there aren’t easy games in the Premier League before his return to top-flight English football.

“We need to use the players we have,” said Sanchez Flores at the press conference. “The most important thing is to create a squad dynamic that we can use players when there are injuries, because to be injured now in football is very easy.

“It’s very hard, the competition, every single game. We are going to lose players of course during the season so for us the most important thing is to have this kind of mentality around players.

“It’s very important to have a good team, to have a good line-up. It’s very important to recuperate the players that don’t feel useful for the squad right now.

“I need to also recuperate the players who don’t play too much, who feel like they didn’t have opportunities. We need all of them, that’s why the club chooses these players to try to help the team.”


None of the 12 Premier League matches between these sides have ended in a draw.

Watford have lost five of their six Premier League home games against Arsenal, coming from behind to win the other 2-1 in October 2017.

The Hornets have not scored a goal against Arsenal in their last three matches and were the only side not to score against the Gunners in the Premier League last season.

Arsenal have conceded nine penalty goals in the Premier League since the start of last season – only Brighton & Hove Albion have conceded more (10).

Watford haven’t lost their opening three home league matches of a season since the 1991-92 campaign – the Hornets won their opening three at Vicarage Road last season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 12 goals in his last 13 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions. He has scored 66% of his Premier League goals on a Sunday.