ARSENAL TEAM NEWS: INJURIES, SUSPENSIONS AND LINE-UP VS WATFORD
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Vicarage Road on Saturday
Arsenal are undefeated in the Premier League since the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at the end of August and continue to build momentum across all competitions.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger welcomes back an array of attacking talent into his team following various injury problems and will be confident of securing a positive result against Marco Silva’s Watford team.
“They are a strong side. They have strong results, they’re a balanced team who are dangerous and play good football. They’re tough opponents for everybody.
“He [Silva] has impressed, because I think Watford play good football. He was at Hull where he had a very good start as well and overall I think he has done very well.”
Wenger talked up Jack Wilshere in his pre-match press conference and the Englishman could be named in the squad for the match at Vicarage Road as he steps up his return to regular first team football.
Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled out for four to six weeks while Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny both face fitness tests before Saturday’s game.
Alexis Sanchez resumes training from tomorrow while Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck return to the squad following their respective injury lay-offs.
Francis Coquelin and Calum Chambers are close to returning from injury but Santi Cazorla is unlikely to be involved in first-team matters until the turn of next year.
Arsenal have no players suspended for this game.
ARSENAL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Wenger has a selection dilemma on his hands in defence with Mustafi ruled out due to injury and Koscielny facing a late fitness test.
If Koscielny doesn’t make it then Nacho Monreal will almost certainly start alongside Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding, while Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin occupy the wing-back slots.
Ozil will be in the squad for the game but he might not be risked from the start while Sanchez faces a late test after being involved in Chile’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last week.
Welbeck returns from injury and could start along with Alex Iwobi in support of Alexandre Lacazette upfront.
WATFORD TEAM NEWS
Marco Silva’s side have had an indifferent start to the season after impressive results against the likes of Liverpool and Southampton.
The 6-0 defeat to Manchester City was the catalyst for bouncing back against the Saints but Saturday’s opposition provides a tough task for Silva’s men.
Nathaniel Chalobah is out of the game and requires surgery on his knee and it’s likely that Tom Cleverley will start in midfield behind troublesome frontman Troy Deeney.
The Hornets currently sit in eighth place just one point behind fifth placed Arsenal.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
In their last meeting, back in January at the Emirates, Watford earned their first league win against Arsenal since April 1988 and ended a run of seven straight league defeats against them.
Arsene Wenger has won eight of his 10 matches versus Watford in all competitions as Arsenal manager (L2).
Watford have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 10 matches against Arsenal in all competitions – they last kept a shutout vs the Gunners in April 1988 (1-0) when Tony Coton was in between the sticks for the Hornets.
Arsenal haven’t failed to score in their opening four away league games of a season since 1936-37 – the last time the Gunners failed to score in four consecutive away league games in the same season was in December 1992 under George Graham.
Since the start of the 2015-16 campaign, Arsenal have scored more headed goals in the Premier League than any other side (34), with Olivier Giroud netting 14 of them (41%).
Petr Cech has kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since February 2015. The Czech glovesman last enjoyed a longer run of top-flight shut-outs between April and August 2010 (six in total).
Alexis Sanchez has scored three and assisted three in his four Premier League games against Watford. However, Sanchez has failed to score in his last five Premier League appearances; his longest goal-drought in the competition since a goalless run of 11 games between October 2015 and March 2016.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The match is being televised live on BT Sport 1 and kicks off at 17:30 BST.