Watford v Arsenal: Premier League Match Preview
Watford host Arsenal in the Premier League at Vicarage Road this afternoon (5.30pm kick-off UK time).
Watford have made their best-ever start to a Premier League season after seven matches (12 points).
It’s the club’s second highest total at this stage of a top-flight campaign. They had 15 points under Graham Taylor in 1982-83.
The Hornets start the day in 8th position in the Premier League table.
Watford came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns last time out.
The Hornets have been impressive away from home having won league games at Bournemouth, Southampton and Swansea already this season, taking 10 points from a possible 12 points in four matches.
In contrast their form at Vicarage Road has been poor. They have taken just two points from a possible nine in their opening three home league matches.
A sixth successive top-flight home match without a win would represent Watford’s worst run since October 1984.
Arsenal start the day in 5th position in the Premier League table.
The Gunners beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 last time out at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal have won their past 11 games at Emirates Stadium in all competitions, their second longest run at the ground (12 between May and November 2009).
The Gunners have kept four successive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since May 2014. Arsenal are vying to keep five successive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since January 2006.
But Arsenal are yet to win away in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners have picked up only one point out of nine on the road so far in their opening three matches.
Arsenal could fail to score in their opening four away league games of a season for the first time since 1936.
They last went four consecutive away league games without a goal in 1992.
Watford earned their first league victory against Arsenal since April 1988 in the most recent meeting, at the Emirates Stadium in January. It ended their run of seven straight defeats in this fixture.
The Hornets have failed to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal in 10 matches since that 1-0 away victory in 1988.
Arsenal have won five successive matches away to Watford in all competitions, scoring 15 goals.
Abdoulaye Doucoure has scored three goals in seven Premier League appearances for Watford this season. The only top-flight campaign in which he has scored more is 2013-14 (six in 20) for Rennes in Ligue 1.
New Brazilian signing Richarilson has scored in the 90th minute in two successive Premier League games, earning Watford three points.
Troy Deeney has gone 13 league games without a goal, his longest drought for six years.
Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette has scored four goals in the Premier League this season. All have been at the Emirates Stadium and he has yet to break his duck away from home.
Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in 35 Premier League goals since the start of last season (24 goals, 11 assists), more than double any other Arsenal player in that time (Mesut Ozil, 17). Sanchez has scored three and assisted three in his four Premier League appearances against Watford.
Petr Cech has kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since February 2015.
Andre Carrillo will be assessed after returning from World Cup qualifying duty with Peru.
Sebastian Prodl is a doubt with a hamstring problem.
Younes Kaboul is out with the leg injury he sustained in the Premier League match against Southampton.
Isaac Success is six to eight weeks away from a return to action with a knee injury.
Nathaniel Chalobah is out long-term after having surgery on a knee injury he suffered during training.
Shkodran Mustafi is out for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Laurent Koscielny will have a fitness test after missing the last Premier League match with Brighton and France’s World Cup qualifying matches with an ongoing Achilles problem.
Sead Kolasinac is also set to be involved despite being substituted at half-time during Bosnia’s World Cup qualifier against Estonia on Tuesday night.
Mesut Ozil (knee), Francis Coquelin (hamstring) and Danny Welbeck (groin) have returned to full training and are set to be named in the matchday squad.
Calum Chambers is still out with a thigh problem.
Silva won his first managerial meeting with Arsene Wenger, when Olympiacos were 3-2 victors at the Emirates Stadium in the 2015-16 Champions League group stage. However, Arsenal won the reverse fixture 3-0 and beat Silva’s Hull City 2-0 away in the Premier League last season.
This is what Silva had to say at his pre-match press conference.
“We need to prove again during the match what we want. We did that until now and we are happy with how things have gone, but this is a new game.
We continued to work well in the International break and now is the time to prove that work against a very, very good team.
We work well with the boys again, even in the break. The days they came here to train, they worked really hard and I believe we will stay at a good level again.
The last two months, after the defeat against Liverpool, they (Arsenal) have been in a very good way. The last seven games, they have won six with one draw at Stamford Bridge.
They didn’t start the away games well but have reacted very well. We saw them at Stamford Bridge and they were very close to winning that game.
It is important for us not only to look at the bad results, but also the good ones and the way they reacted.
It looks a more balanced team and with the ball they have a lot of quality. We expect a tough game against a good team,” he said.
We need to achieve different results at home against them, because normally when Arsenal come to play here they achieve good results.
I am sure we will compete the same way we have in all the games.”
This is what Wenger had to say about Watford and Marco Silva at his pre-match press conference.
“They are a strong side. They have strong results. They are a balanced team who are dangerous and play good football. It is a tough opponent for everybody.
Marco Silva has impressed. He was at Hull where he had a good start as well. He has done very well.”
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: Scott Ledger, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Graham Scott
Arsenal to get their first Premier League away win of the season with a 2-1 victory.