Sunday 15 September: 4.30pm KO
Live on Sky Sports
What a difference a year makes. The 2018/19 season saw Watford win their first four Premier League games of the season. Optimistic fans were talking about European football at Vicarage Road next season. It didn’t materialize and a year later, Watford find themselves bottom of the Premier League with just a single point. The international break saw them change manager (again) and they resume their season with a home game against an Arsenal side who are fifth in the table but with no wins in their last two league games.
It’s not an easy time being the manager of Watford. There have been a fair few of them and usually they last less than a calendar year. Javi Gracia managed a total of 20 months and took them to the final of the FA Cup last season. However, a run of one point from four games at the start of this season was enough for another managerial change.
Out went Garcia and in came Quique Sanchez Flores for a second spell as Watford boss. He previously had the job for 11 months between June 2015 and May 2016. On that occasion, his percentage win rate was 31.58 with 12 wins in 38 games. Since then he’s managed Espanyol and Shanghai Shenhua without a great deal of success. He’s 20/1 (21.0) at SkyBet to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job.
Watford have made a poor start to the new league season and are currently bottom of the table. Can they survive? It’s 5/2 (3.5) at Unibet that the Hornets are relegated this season. They ended last season with three league losses and that 6-0 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup final. The new term got off to a poor start with three defeats in a row.
Back to that, what a difference a year makes statement. Last season, Watford’s first home league game was a 2-0 home win over Brighton and Hove Albion. New season but an identical fixture, apart from the fact this time Watford lost 3-0.
Further defeat occurred away at Everton and at home to West Ham United. Their first point came at Newcastle United where they drew 1-1. That was despite them taking a second minute lead thanks to Will Hughes. There are odds of 6/5 (2.2) on Watford scoring the first goal in this match. Just scoring more would be appreciated by their fans with just two in four league games this season. The odds on them getting a first league win of the season are 11/4 (3.75) if placing your wager at Betway.
Arsenal also fit into the what a difference a year makes category. Last season, they lost both of their first two league games. This time both were won but the Gunners have been unable to build on that good start. A trip to Anfield ended in a 3-1 defeat but that’s one troublesome fixture out of the way.
Their fans might have been getting a bit worried when Arsenal went 2-0 down at home to Tottenham in their next game. Arsenal fought back to get a 2-2 draw and that was the third game in a row in which both teams scored. It’s 1/2 (1.5) at William Hill that both Watford and Arsenal score on Sunday.
Arsenal’s away form is always something to worry about. They have only won three of their last eight away league matches and that has to improve. You can get odds of 21/20 (2.05) at BetVictor that they can get back in winning ways at Vicarage Road.
Arsenal have won their last three league games against Watford. In each game they have kept a clean sheet. There are odds of 5/2 (3.5) at Bet365 on them not conceding against Watford this weekend. The same bookies have odds of 3/1 (4.0) on an Arsenal win to nil.
Craig Cathcart is doubtful for Watford and Troy Deeney will also miss out. Arsenal have Rob Holding back fit again but is unlikely to start the game. Andre Lacazette has been ruled out of the game.
Watford start life under their new boss but this is going to be a tough game for them. If Arsenal want to finish in the top four, this is the kind of match they have to win. A bet on Arsenal to win with both teams scoring has odds of 12/5 (3.4) at Betfred.