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Arsenal vs Watford – Match Preview

Arsenal pair Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are fit despite being injured during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Hull.

Aaron Ramsey is out with a thigh problem sustained during that match, while defender Laurent Koscielny remains a doubt with a calf injury.

Watford’s Craig Cathcart faces a fitness test on the the calf injury that has kept him out for two games.

Joel Ekstrand and Jose Manuel Juardo remain sidelined with hamstring and calf problems respectively.

Editor’s Note: Arsenal’s title chances are becoming marginalised due to the fact they now find themselves 8 points behind leaders Leicester a gap that could be as much as 11 by the end of Monday night albeit with Arsenal having a game in hand.

It’s at this point of the season that you want points on the board than opposed to games in hand as then you put the pressure on the chasing sides. Last Saturday they managed to stay in the title race after managing to come away with a point in the North London Derby and considering they were a man down for 35 minutes you have to feel that the point suited Arsenal more than Spurs

Had they lost that game then it would have probably been the end of their title hopes. But for Today the faltering league campaign gets put to one side as Arsenal look to get past Watford and move a step closer to being the first side to win 3 successive F.A. Cups in the modern era.

On Tuesday they strolled to victory over Hull at the second time at asking. A 4-0 win at The KC Stadium with three goals coming in the last 15 minutes secured their passage to the Quarter Finals and also gave them their first win in 5 matches across all competitions.

With a trip to Barcelona coming up in Midweek you have to wonder how much of a full strength side that Arsene Wenger will point out this Afternoon. With a 2 goal deficit to chase at The Nou Camp they aren’t quite out of the tie but this Barcelona side is a completly different animal so maybe Wenger will feel he can get away with playing his strongest possible for the visit of Watford.

Injuries seem to be hitting Arsenal at just the wrong time as Aaron Ramsey now joins Petr Cech on the sidelines. Ramsey’s injury will doubt be a blow but in all fairness Arsenal haven’t missed Cech all that much due to David Ospina’s assured performances over the past week especially the Man of The Match performance away at Spurs last Saturday.

As for their opponents Watford, they’ve just about secured Premier League survival in their first season since coming up as Championship Runners Up but there will be cause for concern at the fact their form and goals which propelled them to the top 6 at one point has all but abandoned them.

Manager Quique Sanchez Flores will no doubt be glad they got off to such a good start as otherwise the last quarter of the season could have been quite a tricky prospect. But with only one more win needed to all but secure survival they can go to The Emirates this Afternoon with no real pressure on them and look to cause an upset,

Last time out they lost to league leaders Leicester 1-0 at Vicarage Road. They didn’t make it easy for Claudio Ranieri’s side but Leicester are doing their best in just getting over the line in games at the moment and they had enough to make sure they came away with all 3 points last Saturday.

No points on offer today but a trip to Wembley will await the winner. Unfortunately for Watford I think their road closes here as Arsenal will move a step closer to a 3rd semi final in a row and the record breaking feat of 3 back to back successes. Home win for me.


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