Arsenal vs Watford - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks
- Arsenal will be keen to end the Premier League season on a high ahead of FA Cup final
- Watford’s fate is no longer in their hands and they now need more than one result to go their way
- Arsenal will be motivated to triumph and that leaves Watford facing defeat and relegation
|What||Arsenal vs Watford|
|Where||Emirates Stadium, London, England|
|When||Sunday, 26 July 2020, 11 AM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Perhaps it was inevitable. Anyone who has followed Arsenal over the last decade will not have been overly surprised to see them lose 1-0 to Aston Villa just days after memorable victories over Liverpool in the Premier League and Manchester City in the FA Cup. Tuesday’s loss at Villa Park was a reminder that the Gunners are not yet consistent enough to return to their former glories.
Indeed, there is a reason why Arsenal – a club that had previously taken a top-four finish for granted – find themselves in 10th place heading into the final weekend of the 2019/20 campaign. Mikel Arteta has done an excellent job since taking the reins in December, but it will take more than a few months to right all the wrongs at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal was hugely impressive in their defeats of Liverpool and City, employing a style of play that saw them sit deep, defend resolutely and break forward quickly on the counter-attack. A match against Villa was always going to necessitate a more proactive approach, and Arsenal was found wanting in terms of creativity, guile, and invention against Dean Smith’s side.
That gives Watford some hope ahead of their final-day showdown with Arsenal, but the Hornets are nevertheless in a sticky situation. Hayden Mullins was placed in temporary charge following the surprise sacking of Nigel Pearson at the weekend, but he was powerless to resist as Manchester City thrashed Watford 4-0 on Tuesday.
That, together with Arsenal’s loss in midweek, means Watford almost certainly need to better Villa’s result against West Ham to avoid relegation to the Championship. The chances look slim.
Arsenal vs Watford Odds
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
For all Arsenal’s shortcomings, it is a surprise to see them available at odds better than +100 to win a home game against a relegation candidate.
Granted, there is more riding on this match for Watford than the Gunners, but it is hard to see the Hornets’ backline keeping out a fired-up Arsenal attack. Interim manager Mullins has a huge job on his hands to get Watford back above the dreaded dotted line before the final whistles sound up and down the country on Sunday.
Arsenal Crying Out for Reinforcements Despite Arteta’s Vital Work
Arteta has demonstrated the value of training-ground coaching during his tenure to date. He has not yet made a permanent signing in his current role, but several Arsenal players have improved under his guidance. He has made the Gunners more defensively disciplined and harder to beat, as evidenced by their recent displays against Liverpool and Manchester City.
But there is only so much a manager can do. It is easier to coax an improvement out of a defense than an attack, particularly if that attack is lacking certain qualities. And with Mesut Ozil having been cast aside by Arteta, there is very little in the way of creativity within the ranks.
That is something that will have to be addressed in the transfer market if Arsenal to kick on and challenge for the Champions League spots next term. They should have enough to get past Watford at the Emirates, but that is considered the bare minimum at a club like this.
Watford on Brink of Demotion to Second Tier After Back-To-Back Losses
Last Friday’s meeting between West Ham United and Watford always looked like being a winner-stays-up encounter. And it was the Hammers who triumphed on the night, storming into a 3-0 lead and holding on for a 3-1 victory that left their opponents looking nervously over their shoulders.
The dismissal of Pearson took many aback despite Watford’s track record when it comes to hiring and firing managers. The board was presumably hoping the move would instigate a short-term bounce, but nothing of the sort was on display in an admittedly difficult game against Manchester City on Tuesday.
West Ham now has nothing to play for on the final day, so Aston Villa will fancy their chances of emerging victorious from the London Stadium. If they slip up, though, Watford will stay up with a shock win at the Emirates.
Watford’s Desperation to Avoid Drop Could Play Into Arsenal’s Hands
However, the desperate situation facing Mullins and co. could actually play into Arsenal’s hands. The Gunners have struggled to break down deep defenses at times this term, but Watford will feel compelled to push up the pitch in search of the goals they will almost certainly need.
That, in turn, will give Arsenal’s attackers more space in which to operate, a prospect that will have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, and Alexandre Lacazette licking their lips. The Gunners will be keen to bounce back with a win ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Back Arsenal to triumph over Watford – the Gunners will want to end the Premier League season on a high and the Hornets are in disarray.