Top Four Beckons (Sort Of): Arsenal v Watford Prematch and Predicted Line-Up

Laca to get the nod at No 10?

It seems like a long time since we took the field against Leicester City, had an outstanding 20 minutes then lived dangerously for the rest of the match.

Today we’re back in action at The Emirates against Watford.

If we win we’ll go to joint fourth in the table (on points) for a short while at least. Technically we’ll be fifth because our goal difference is currently 10 adrift of the fourth placed team, West Ham.

The Hammers play Liverpool later today and a draw or victory for them in that game (neither of which is out of the question given how well they have been playing) would keep them above us on points as well as goal difference.

But it’s all irrelevant if we don’t do the business against Watford in the 2pm kick-off.

There should be no shortage of confidence in our squad and today is a great opportunity to build on the momentum we have gained since the opening three games of the season.

The only injury issues appear to be Xhaka (still recovering from his serious knee injury) and Tierney, who is a doubt with an ankle problem. Tavares has been doing well enough when he has had to stand in for Tesco that the Scotsman’s absence is not the worry it used to be.

Watford have had a bumpy start to the season and have conceded 18 goals so far (in 10 games) so you have to fancy our chances of putting at least a couple past them.

However, as we know only too well, there are no easy games in the Premier League and if we take anything for granted we could easily come unstuck.

Fortunately the commitment and focus the players have been displaying recently bodes well and it would be nice to think that this could be the sort of game where we’re in the driving seat with half an hour to go, giving us the opportunity to let some back-up players have a run out.

The main selection issues surround the question of who will partner Partey in central midfield and who gets the nod at the attacking end of things (particularly at Number 10, where it could be any one of Lacazette, Smith Rowe or Odegaard).

I expect this line-up from El Patron:


Tomayisu – White – Gabriel – Tavares

Lokonga – Partey


Saka – Aubameyang – Smith Rowe

Come on you Gunners!



29 Responses to Top Four Beckons (Sort Of): Arsenal v Watford Prematch and Predicted Line-Up

  1. LBG says:

    Cheers Rocky
    At least there is no Deeney to rain on our parade. Like and hope you are right with your selection. At present Lacazette has definitely nudged BOdegaard out of the way, although I thought the latter calmed things significantly on his last substitution. Again for me it will all be starting fast, scoring two or three and destroying an initial belief in the oppo. We must them progress in our development and manage games confidently in the last third.

    Any thoughts on Vlahovic? Certainly big and strong, with a super left foot, (like another French centre forward from our past). Like him to be more obviously good in the air, and still prefer those proven in the Premier League. No doubting his stats though in a so called defensive league.

  2. RockyLives says:

    Morning LBG

    I don’t pay much attention to potential foreign signings until it looks like the signing is imminent. Then I watch a YouTube highlights reel and get over-excited.

    So… I’m I afraid I don’t have a clue about Vlahovic.

    Agree that it would be nice to see some more consistent control (game management) than we had against Leeds. And you’re right about Ode adding something when he came on in that game, so he may be an option from the start today.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Wow – no Thomas! Is he injured?

    Well, this is a chance for AMN to show what he can do.

  4. LBG says:

    Not on the bench, must be injured, hopefully minor. Sort of game Ainsley could impress. Sarr is the worry, but have much more faith in this defence to double up and snuff out if necessary. COYG.

  5. LBG says:

    Tight groin! Better not to make worse.

  6. RockyLives says:

    Hope you feel better soon LBG 😀

  7. LBG says:

    Well Rocky, at least we can make each other laugh!😉
    My wife would say I have been tight in many areas all my life, but what would she know after 43 years!

  8. RockyLives says:

    Haha – tell me about it

  9. RockyLives says:

    Could definitely see a role for Ode in this game at some point.

  10. LBG says:

    When you are playing against a 4,5 you must gamble occasionally with dynamic forward passes through the lines. Too much across and back.

  11. LBG says:

    Hope this not going to be one of those games, Rocky. Lacazette would be penalty taker for me. Agree Aubang is not looking confident when setting up.

  12. LBG says:

    Doubt this will end 11 v11 and Friend is the type to balance out. Must lift the pace of attack and score two goals quickly to avoid our own frustration. Sambi the worry now for me. A M-N also needs to demand the ball more. Too passive most of the time.

  13. Aaron says:


    Spot on assessment.

    Watching the game, took me a while to realize Partey was out, something definitely missing, he be that!

    Had one in the back of the net, did not know it was to be ruled offside due to Foster touching it, but I do not spend my nights trying to interpret that rule- never consistent to even try and figure it out with the officiating being the way it is.

    Back to the game, no chance creation, and Ben is the only one really pushing it forward, difference in the game is two big Foster saves.

    Try and change things up and nick a goal, Arteta needs make something happen as we are playing at home, no excuses.

    Let’s see if AFC can capitalize on their chance to move up when the table has been kind to us this week. Have not been able to win these types of games for a few years.

  14. Aaron says:

    And to think what it took to get ESR in out team!
    Brought to you by White’s effort and another great shot, well placed.

    Way to go ESR.

  15. RA says:

    Good Post, Rocket,

    Who said Ben White is capable of being a great midfielder? A lovely goal from ESR as a result.

    Oh, I said it – I think.😁

  16. RockyLives says:

    Fair play Redders.

    The commentators said White was sometimes used in MF by Brighton, which I hadn’t realised.

  17. RockyLives says:

    That said, I would still need a lot of persuading to break up the excellent White-Gab partnership at CB.

  18. RA says:

    Let’s be fair — Auba has been dire – again!!

  19. LBG says:

    Combination of Watford tactics, Friend’s refereeing and inability to take chances/ use brains in front of goal, led to an unnecessary nervous game. Three points all that matters, and yes, need to be NOT NICE sometimes and ruthless infront of goal. Defenders all more suitable MOM than A M-N, but Smith is a w***er.

  20. RA says:

    I didn’t know that Brighton had used Ben in a midfield role — great minds and all that. 😜

  21. RA says:


    Smith is a writer? Woss wrong wiv us writers – eh?

    You are right — the three points were what today’s game was all about.

  22. RockyLives says:

    Well, at least we no longer have a negative goal difference!

  23. RC78 says:

    Another (nervous) win…but overall, we deserved the 3 points. We should have scored 3 today. Auba not making the most of of his PKs lately…

    Anyways – 3 points, Top 6…

  24. RC78 says:

    Thanks for holding the fort Rocky!

  25. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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