Watford vs Arsenal prediction, team news, lineups

Sunday’s game will be the 31st competitive meeting between the two sides, with Arsenal currently leading the way on 17 wins compared to Watford’s 12.

Arsenal face Watford on Sunday afternoon as both sides return to Premier League action following the first international break of the new season.

The Gunners have taken seven points from their opening four matches while Watford, who replaced manager Javi Gracia last weekend, are currently winless in the league.

Watford

Watford stopped their run of six consecutive league defeats with the draw against Newcastle United, but that result extended their winless run in all competitions to nine games, which was enough for the board to remove Gracia and replace him with former boss Quique Sanchez Flores.

The Hornets actually won their first three league games of the last campaign and their fans will be hoping that the ‘new manager bounce’ will make the players hungrier and help them avoid defeat against Emery’s men.

Former West Bromwich Albion defender Craig Dawson has been one of the club’s most impressive performers thus far this season, recording three blocks in the opening four games.

Watford opted for three at the back against Newcastle and it would seem likely that they will implement the same formation on Sunday to match Arsenal playing three up top.

Although club captain Troy Deeney, who has been a significant figure in the previous meetings between the two clubs, is still out injured, Watford will be able to welcome Etienne Capoue back to the side and will slot right into the midfield.

Recent form: LLLD
Recent form (all competitions): LLLWD

Arsenal

Arsenal delivered a strong second half last time out to take a point against Tottenham Hotspur in a game that highlighted the issues with Unai Emery‘s side this season.

The Gunners were strong when moving forward, creating a number of excellent opportunities to score, they were to easy to open up in the first half and they have been shaky defensively throughout the campaign thus far.

Arsenal fans finally got to see Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe start together against Spurs, with the exciting trio dovetailing well on occasion.

Lacazette has been ruled out until at least October with an ankle problem, which means that Emery has some tough choices to make regarding the shape of his team on Sunday.

Arsenal, who are also likely to be without Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira after they picked up knocks on international duty, will need to be at their creative best to break down Watford, who under the stewardship of Quique Sanchez Flores are likely to be a much more defensively-oriented outfit.

Dani Ceballos, who was so impressive against Burnley, to be restored to the starting lineup, with academy products Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson also candidates to come into the team for the trip to Hertfordshire.

Recent form: WWLD

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Dawson, Kabasele, Cathcart; Femenia, Capoue, Chalobah, Doucoure, Holebas; Deulofeu, Gray

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Willock, Guendouzi, Ceballos; Pepe, Aubameyang, Nelson

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