Watford v Arsenal: Match Preview

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Arsenal visit Watford on Saturday Night Football as they aim to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City.


Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to shake off the effects of the international break as quickly as possible as they prepare to face Watford in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

A 3-0 win over Manchester United moved the Gunners to within just two points of league leaders Manchester City before the latest round of friendlies and qualifying matches for UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Wenger claimed this week Arsenal will sustain a title challenge this season should they keep up the same “fight” they displayed against Louis van Gaal’s side, and the 65-year-old feels his side must recapture the “urgency” of that performance at Vicarage Road.

“We separated on a positive vibe,” he said. “After that, the task is to reconnect quickly because everybody goes to their national teams and has different worries.

“We play against Watford, who have conceded only one goal at home and defend very well. They are a very difficult team to play against so we have to focus to get a positive result on Saturday.

“The level of champions and people who want to fight at the top is urgency. Urgency is something that keeps you alert and we know what will be expected of us.”

Arsenal take on a Watford side with just one win in their last five matches in all competitions, but defender Allan Nyom sees no reason not to push for maximum points.

“It’s going to be a good game. We will try to play well and win the game, even though they are a big team,” he told Watford’s official site. “In the Premier League, every game is hard. It’s normal that if you play against a top team it’s a little bit more hard, but we will try to play good and win the match.

“We want to play well, keep the ball and score goals. This way our fans will enjoy the game. They support us very well and they help us to run, to fight, and to play better.”

Wenger has some concerns over the fitness of Alexis Sanchez, with the Chile star, who has scored five goals in his last two league matches, having played both recent World Cup qualifiers for his country.

There is positive news concerning Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, however, with both midfielders expected to be available, while defender Laurent Koscielny will have a late fitness test.

Watford, meanwhile, are set to welcome back Ikechi Anya and Valon Behrami, who both picked up injuries on international duty.

Nyom is also expected to be fit, but Lloyd Doyley (neck), Jose Manuel Jurado (hamstring) and Joel Ekstrand (knee) are sidelined.

ALSO READ HERE: Key Match Facts: Watford vs Arsenal

Arsenal boast a strong record against Watford, having won all five of their previous meetings, including the last four in the BPL.

Arsenal (from): Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Arteta, Cazorla, Coquelin, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott.

Watford (from): Arlauskis, Gilmartin, Gomes, Ake, Belkalem, Britos, Cathcart, Hoban, Holebas, Nyom, Paredes, Prodl, Abdi, Behrami, Capoue, Dyer, Guedioura, Watson, Berghuis, Deeney, Diamanti, Ibarbo, Ighalo, Oulare.

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Match Appointments
Mike Jones Assistants: R West, A Holmes Fourth Official: K Friend

Match stats
Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo has scored Watford’s last five BPL goals.
– Petr Cech has the best save percentage in the Barclays Premier League this season (82%, minimum 5 saves).
– Watford have the lowest shot conversion rate (8.6%) and shooting accuracy (34.3%) figures in the BPL this season.
– Alexis Sanchez has scored five times in his last two league appearances.
– The top two players for most sprints in the BPL this term are Aaron Ramsey (560) and Ikechi Anya (533).
– Theo Walcott has 12 goals and three assists in his last 14 league starts.
– Watford have never won a BPL match in the month of October (D4 L5).
– The Gunners have won their last five meetings with the Hornets in all competitions, including all four previous BPL fixtures.



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