Watford vs Arsenal: Team news, predictions & likely lineups

EPL By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 15/04/2019

Arsenal will look to strengthen their chances of finishing in the Premier League top four when they travel to Watford on Monday. 

The Gunners lost pace in their fight for a Champions League qualification spot after suffering a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Everton last week but bounced back on Thursday with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Napoli in the Europa League.

For Watford, they’re playing their first match since securing a place in this year’s FA Cup final – a first since 1984 – and could leapfrog Leicester, Wolves and Everton into seventh, with aspirations of securing European football themselves.

Team News 

Watford will be without Jose Holebas, Domingos Quina and Tom Cleverley.

Holebas suffered a hamstring injury during the FA Cup semi-final, Quina has a shoulder injury and Cleverley a calf problem.

Ben Foster returns in goal after Heurelho Gomes played in the Wembley win over Wolves.

Arsenal will be without the suspended Sokratis. The Greece international was shown a 10th booking of the campaign in the defeat to Everton last weekend and has picked up a two-game ban as a result.

The Gunners will be hopeful Granit Xhaka (groin) is fit enough to be involved, although long-term injury absentees Danny Welbeck (ankle), Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin (both knee) are still missing.

Head to Head

Watford have lost four of their previous five home games against Arsenal in the Premier League, but they did win their most recent such encounter 2-1 last season.

The Gunners have not lost back-to-back away league matches at Watford since a run of three straight defeats ending in November 1987.

None of the previous 11 Premier League encounters between these two sides has ended in a draw, with Arsenal winning nine and Watford claiming victory twice.

Recent Form

If you were looking purely on home form then Emery's side have been brilliant this season, however, their away form has left much to be desired. Their last league game was a limp 1-0 defeat away at Goodison Park, a result that dented their top four hopes and asked serious questions of their end of season credentials.

Their previous other four matches have all come at home, with Arsenal recording an aggregate score of 9-0 in those games, including scalps over Napoli and  Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Watford will be brimming with confidence having overturned a 2-0 scoreline to triumph 3-2 in their FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves. The morale-boosting victory came off the back of league wins over Fulham and Crystal Palace, as well as defeats to Manchester pair United and City.

Watford manager Javi Gracia says the FA Cup final won't be a distraction: "I am only thinking about trying to win the next game. I don't want to think any further.

"We have good professionals and, with these players, it is easy as they know the next game is very important.

"We don't have only one final - we have seven finals. All of them are focused on the next game."

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery: "Each match gives us a big challenge for the possibility to improve and take three points and the possibility to end the season in the top four.

"For us that would be a big success. When we started last in the table after the first two matches in the season we were thinking about arriving in this moment with the possibility of being in the top four in our hands."

Watford possible starting lineup: Foster; Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Masina; Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra; Deeney, Deulofeu

Arsenal possible starting lineup: Leno; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Torreira, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang

Prediction: Watford 1-1 Arsenal