Monday 15 April : 8pm KO
Live on Sky Sports
Just what are Arsenal doing at Vicarage Road on Monday night? It’s an important game for both sides as they chase places in the Europa and Champions Leagues but being played just three days before the Gunners play the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Napoli.
It’s tight at the top of the Premier League and at this point all we can say is that Liverpool and Manchester City will be in next season’s Champions League. As for the other two places and who goes into the Europa League, there are plenty of permutations. Both Watford and Arsenal are in contention on two fronts as they prepare to meet on Monday evening.
Watford are tenth in the Premier League but in with a chance of making it into the seventh place that should get them into the Europa League next season. Leicester’s defeat at home to Newcastle United means Watford are a point adrift of seventh with two games in hand on Brendan Rodger’s team.
The Hornets are also in the FA Cup final after that incredible comeback against Wolves last weekend. They are 9/2 (5.5) at Coral to lift the trophy this season. Their league form has been up and down all season but that can be written about the majority of teams in the Premier League.
Watford made an unbeaten start to the season but then won only two of their next 12 games. They may have won 13 league games this season but 12 have been lost as they battle for consistency. You can get odds of 11/5 (3.2) at Bet365 on them beating Arsenal on Monday evening.
Home form has been good of late though with no defeats in the last five league games played at Vicarage Road. They drew two in a row but have won each of the last three scoring seven goals. Four of their last six league matches are at home so a push for the top seven is definitely possible.
Don’t you just miss Arsene Wenger? Arsenal play this game just three days before the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final away to Napoli. Wenger would have burst a gasket at the fixture scheduling but that’s just the way it is as the season reaches a hectic end.
Arsenal are fifth in the table but could be sixth by the time this game kicks off on Monday evening if Manchester United can beat West Ham on Saturday. Tottenham should get three points at home to relegated Huddersfield but Chelsea are away to Liverpool on Sunday. A Liverpool win would leave Arsenal three points behind the Blues with two games in hand. You can get 5/6 (1.83) at Ladbrokes on Arsenal finishing in the top four this season and 1/1 (2.0) at SkyBet they finish outside the top four.
They also have two chances of getting that precious place in the Champions League next season. They are 2-0 up in their Europa League quarter-final against Napoli. It’s 3/1 (4.0) at William Hill that they win the Europa League this season and qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal need points from this game though but their away form in the Premier League is again causing them problems. They have just one win from their last nine away matches and that was at relegated Huddersfield Town. Just six points have been earned in those nine games and including this match, they have four away games to play in their run-in. There are odds of 6/5 (2.2) at Unibet that they beat Watford.
Arsenal have won their last two games against Watford without conceding but both were at the Emirates. Watford beat Arsenal at home last season, their first home win over them since 1987. Goals are expected in this fixture with 11 of the last 12 having over 2.5 goals scored in them. It’s 1/2 (1.5) at Paddy Power that stat comes up on Monday.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka will have a late fitness test to see if he can play on Monday. They will be without the suspended Sokratis Papastathopoulos, but Lucas Torreira is available. Some squad rotation by Arsenal is inevitable.
A difficult one to predict with Arsenal’s away form and the expected team changes. Watford are inconsistent but on a good run of form at home at present. A draw with both teams scoring is 10/3 (4.33) at Betfair.