There are not many better things in this world than an Arsenal fixture after a very convincing and entertaining Arsenal victory, and another Arsenal fixture is exactly what we are being served up this evening.
Watford are in a bit of a mess of late, getting dumped out of the FA Cup doesn’t help them either, but not sure it helps us a great deal either as we might see a bit of rolling up sleeves action from the Hornets.
That said given the strength in depth we have right now, we ‘should’ be able to beat Watford pretty convincingly. At least that is how it reads on this piece of paper I am imaginatively holding up.
It is the end of January and we are nursing one injury. I’d love to know when that last happened, this is Arsenal that just does not happen so maybe, just maybe the steps we’ve taken to solve the injury issues of the past are really starting to pay off.
I just had a glance at when Watford last won a game in the league away from home and you have to scroll all the way down to October 16th, a 1-0 victory at Middlesbrough. They have conceded 6 to Liverpool and 4 at home to Tottenham in the last few months.
I hope we fly out of the traps as we did at Southampton and given how much Arsenal are creatures of habit, I think that is exactly how we will approach the game tonight. At the start of the season we were quite front footed and it is only in recent weeks we have begun to start games slowly only to turn up the heat in the second half. I do wonder if some of that is by design to some extent. Arsene is big on the last twenty minutes of games and you can see that with his substitution methods. How many times has he said post matches that ‘we took over when they became tired’
In the middle of the season when we have to deal with games every three days our intensity almost always decreases, but now we have almost a full complement of players, maybe we will start to rotate more and demand a little more from those who play, knowing that we are able to bring in players of almost equal quality a few days later.
That brings me nicely onto the team tonight, any ideas as to what our line up will be? It really is a difficult one.
How do you say to someone like Oxlade-Chamberlain who produced such a good performance only a few days ago that he has no place in the line up? At the same time Aaron Ramsey is suitably rested and has been looking close to his best form in recent weeks. I do wonder if Arsene will be tempted to roll the dice a little and play the pair together especially as the Coquelin/Ramsey partnership has not flourished together so far. Maybe that's a little bit of wishful thinking on my part, not that I do not love what Coquelin brings us, I just think it would be nice to reward the Ox with another start to see if he can make the position his own but Coquelin will certainly come back in for the weekend if not tonight.
I suspect that Giroud will come back into the team with Alexis on the left but will Arsene look for the balanced option of Iwobi or will Walcott’s partnership with Bellerin continue? No idea.
Predicted Line Up
That team could be completely different but that is a very good thing indeed, it means we have options galore. So much so that we probably cannot get all our attacking options on the bench at once. Actually given that we have very little in the way of midfield options right now, maybe throwing an extra attacker on the bench will have to do.
The bench in fact is going to be a very important weapon for us in the second half of this season. Imagine having to deal with Welbeck and Walcott once your legs are knackered after chasing after us for 70 minutes.
An Arsenal victory along with a Liverpool win tonight would set things up nicely for next weekend's trip to the Bridge.