Arsenal vs. Watford
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick off: 2:30PM
Arsenal welcome the visit of travelling Watford in the Premier League this afternoon after ending a problematic losing streak by beating AC Milan 2-0 away from home in the Europa League.
Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey ensured that the Gunners left San Siro with two crucial away goals, as Arsene Wenger’s charges turned in an impressive showing despite their recent troubles.
Victory over Gennaro Gattuso’s side saw Wenger’s men end a four-match losing streak, which had previously seen the Gunners lose to Ostersunds FK, Manchester City twice and then against Brighton & Hove Albion last time out in the league.
The Gunners return to Premier League action against the Hornets aiming to end a run of three consecutive defeats in the English top flight, though they face a Watford side who have managed to beat them twice in their last three visits to the Emirates Stadium.
Combined with the recent history between the clubs, Arsenal also face the difficult task of arresting a difficult slide on home soil.
The Reds have won only three of their last seven home league matches at the Emirates and that has left them with serious implications when looking for Champions League football next term.
The gap between the Gunners and fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur looks largely insurmountable, meaning that winning the Europa League remains their most likely option of securing elite European football next term.
Mkhitaryan will be returning to Premier League action after bagging his first goal for the club in Europe, and the Armenian will be hoping that he can open his account domestically against Gracia’s men.
Watford boss Javi Gracia is now starting to find his feet at the Hertfordshire-based club, and the Hornets have now won three of their last four league games.
It is on the road where Watford have come unstuck, however. The Hornets have not won on their travels since November. During that period Gracia’s men have lost seven of their last eight away trips.
Should Watford somehow be able to find a way past the Gunners at home this afternoon, the club would become only the third away team to win back-to-back Premier League victories at the Emirates, building on records already set by Chelsea and Swansea City.
Arsenal possible XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Xhaka, Ramsey; Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Ozil.
Watford possible XI: Karnezis; Janmaat, Prodl, Mariappa, Britos; Capoue, Doucoure; Carrillo, Pereyra, Richarlison; Deeney.