Arsenal vs Watford preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Arsenal take on Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon on the final day of the Premier League season.
A hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa at Villa Park on Tuesday night ended any hope of Arsenal finishing in the top seven and qualifying for the Europa League via the Premier League.
The Gunners must now rely on beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend to ensure they’ll be playing European football again next season so in many ways they have nothing to play for against Watford tomorrow.
However, Mikel Arteta has made it clear his players are playing for their places in his starting eleven for the cup final and he insists Arsenal will give their all in order to maintain the integrity of the relegation battle.
Watford head to the Emirates sitting in the bottom three on goal difference following a 4-0 loss to Manchester City in midweek so they desperately need a positive result against Arsenal to avoid the drop.
The Hornets are level on points with Aston Villa – who travel to West Ham on the final day – so they need to better the Villains result to ensure they’ll be playing Premier League football again next season.
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno is due to resume full training next week after recovering from a knee injury but this game still comes too soon so Emi Martinez will continue between the sticks.
Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled out of Arsenal’s last two games with a hamstring injury so he joins Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli on the sidelines but Reiss Nelson is back in contention after missing the Villa game with a minor groin problem.
Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi continue to be frozen out of the squad by Arteta and the Spanish coach is expected to go with virtually his strongest line-up – although Eddie Nketiah could start with Alexandre Lacazette rested.
Watford have no fresh injury concerns but they’ll continue to be without Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat, Isaac Success and Etienne Capoue due to injury.
Arsenal 2-1 Watford: Arsenal have won 10 of their last 13 Premier League meetings with Watford and have had a solid record at the Emirates all season so they’ll still be confident of winning this game, despite having little to play for.
Watford will obviously be fighting for their lives but they are without a manager after the surprise sacking of Nigel Pearson and they were all over the place against City in midweek so it’s a big ask for them to put-in a top class performance tomorrow.
Arsenal will want to end a dismal season on a high and go into the FA Cup final off the back of a win so I think the Gunners will just edge it at the Emirates on Sunday.
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