Arsenal v Watford Don’t Do Draws!! Historic Preview and Predicted First 11

Arsenal v Watford September 15, 2019

The beginnings of the club can be traced back to 1881, when Watford Rovers was formed by Henry Grover and a group of fellow teenagers who had been given permission by the Earl of Essex to kick a football around in Cassiobury Park. Friendly matches began in 1882, with various sites in the town being used for matches. The first competitive game was an FA Cup tie against Swindon Town in 1886. In 1890 West Herts Club and Ground was set up in Cassio Road (where it remains to this day) and Watford Rovers moved in as the football section, changing name to West Herts in 1893.

Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at several grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where it remains.

One of the most successful periods for the club was when they were managed by ex England manager Graham Taylor who took charge of Watford in 1977. He led the club to promotion to the Third Division in 1978, the Second Division in 1979, and the First Division for the first time in Watford’s history in 1982. After a second-placed finish in the First Division in 1983, Watford competed in European competition for the first time in 1983–84, as well as reaching the 1984 FA Cup final.

Taylor left the club at the end of 1986–87. Under the six subsequent permanent managers Watford slid from 9th in the top tier in 1987, to 13th in the third tier in 1997. Taylor returned as manager for the start of the 1997–98 season. He led the club to consecutive promotions, but could not prevent relegation from the Premier League in 1999–2000. Since Taylor’s retirement in 2001, Watford has had sixteen different managers.

Watford is owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Sir Elton John, who owned Watford during both of Graham Taylor’s successful periods as manager, served alongside Taylor as the club’s joint Honorary Life President until 2008, only to later resume the role he shared alongside Graham Taylor until Taylor’s death. Sir Elton John’s seven year old son Zachary signed up for the academy team at Watford Football Club in 2018.

On 21 January 2018, Javi Gracia was appointed as Head Coach following Marco Silva’s departure. Gracia has been met with widespread praise after a successful 2018–19 Premier League campaign which saw Watford finish with their highest points tally ever in English Premier League football. However after a disappointing start to the 2019–20 season, Javi Gracia was sacked and replaced by previous manager Quique Sánchez Flores.

During the Division 1 era Watford had our number and dominated us:-

Arsenal v Watford – Div 1 Away Games
30-Apr-83     1 1 2
12-May-84     1 1 2
01-Sep-84 1     4 3
01-Apr-86     1 0 3
21-Mar-87     1 0 2
28-Nov-87     1 0 2
Total: 1 0 5 6 14

But the Premier League era has seen a 100% reversal of our fortunes:-

Arsenal v Watford – EPL Away Games
23-Apr-00 1     4 2
26-Dec-06 1     2 1
17-Oct-15 1     3 0
27-Aug-16 1     4 1
14-Oct-17     1 1 2
15-Apr-19 1     1 0
Total: 5 0 1 15 6

Strangely there has not been a drawn league game between the two clubs and Sunday may become the day for one team to take the lead in games between each other – which club will it be? My choice is for Arsenal to continue their Premier League dominance over Watford.

The 2019/20 version of Arsenal is still in the development stages but after four games we find ourselves tied for 4th (we are 5th on goal difference) and only one game out of 2nd place.

My team selection would look like this:-

Subs – Martinez, Chambers, Mustafi, Willock, Nelson, Guendouzi, Lacazette.


94 thoughts on “Arsenal v Watford Don’t Do Draws!! Historic Preview and Predicted First 11

  • Great stuff GN5 and what a coincidence there has never been a draw in the league between Arsenal and Watford. With about 3.5 goals a game on average, we should expect an exciting game on Sunday.

  • Nice write-up GN5. Enjoy the tours through time. Thanks.
    Strangely, your projected XI is almost exactly the one I chose for Spurs– though with Guendouzi in place of Xhaka. While I agree with TA– that if Xhaka plays it will in the spot front of the back four? Do myself prefer Torreira there. Thinking the pair of Ceballos and Ozil– would provide plenty of chances to those friends-up-front.

    Without wariness of Richarlison (off to Everton)– we ought to be more aggressive. Love to see this diamond’s brilliance. Watford is a good candidate for Emery’s most talented attackers– to score a bundle of goals.

    As mentioned– I liked GN5s lineup with subtle differences:

    Auba Laca
    Guen Dani
    Kola Luiz Papa AMN

    Relentless, from the very start on Sunday.


  • N5,
    Wow! Even the history of Watford. 👍

    The new Watford coach Sanchez Flores likes his team compact. On the other hand Emery likes to suck the opposition team out. The 1st battle is each trying to impose its strategy on the other. Maybe it would stalemate and one of them (I guess Emery) would get proactive.

    It’s now known that Emery likes to responds to teams but at the same time he has to also respond to the players available to him. The one player who influences his formation more than anybody else is KOLASINAC. It’s because Kola is not a fullback. Period. He hugs the touch line upfield and does very little of tracking back. In truth he is more of a left winger with the built of a defender.

    At away matches Emery thinks a bit more defensively so with the Kola issue I expect a central midfield 3 in a 3:4:1:2 formation.


    Bench: Martinez, Holding, Musti, Willock, Ozil, Nelson, Auba.

    Is Auba on the bench a heresy? There is something called a super sub.

  • Unai will select Guendouzi and Xhaka (if both are fit, which I don’t know). The former is his signature man – for better or for worse – and the latter is by far the king of passes (third most passes in the whole premier league). That leaves one more midfielder and that is likely to be Ceballos….but should be Ozil.

    So I expect it to be:
    AMN- Sok – Luiz – Kola
    —– Xhaka — Guen—–
    ——– Ceballos ———-
    Pepe — Laca —- Auba

    I would play
    AMN – Sok – Luiz – Kola
    ——- Xhaka ————-
    Torreira ——- Guendo

  • NO PE, Auba on the bench makes sense – he will score as many goals in thirty minutes against tired defenders as he will do during the entire game. So agreed!

  • Here’s our latest team news update:

    All players who were on international duty will have returned to us by Thursday morning. No international players have reported injuries during this period.

    However, all international players will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s match.

    Rob Holding
    Now back in full training with the first team squad.

    Hector Bellerin
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Kieran Tierney
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • Thanks for the comments, my choices for a starting 11 are somewhat fanciful.
    I hope that one of these fine days we get the pleasure of seeing Cebba, Ozil, Pepe, Laca and Auba strutting their stuff together,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,?

  • A pensioner drove his brand new Mercedes to 100 mph on the M1 looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a police car behind him. He floored it to 140 , then 150, … then 155, … Suddenly he thought, “I’m too old for this nonsense !” So he pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the police car to catch up with him.

    The officer walked up to him, looked at his watch and said, “Sir, my shift ends in ten minutes. Today is Friday and I’m taking off for the weekend with my family. If you can give me a good reason that I’ve never heard before, why you were speeding… I’ll let you go.”

    The Man looked very seriously at the police man, and replied :- “Years ago, my wife ran off with a policeman, I thought you were bringing her back.” !!!

    The Cop left saying, ” Have a good day, Sir “…

  • Let’s see whether we can get at least five predictions in before tomorrow 3pm:

    Brighton v Burnley
    Manchester U v Leicester C
    Tottenham v Crystal Palace
    Wolves v Chelsea
    Bournemouth v Everton

    Home Win
    Away Win

  • Brighton v Burnley = HW
    Manchester U v Leicester C = AW
    Tottenham v Crystal Palace = Draw
    Wolves v Chelsea = AW
    Bournemouth v Everton=AW

  • Here’s a further update to our team news ahead of the weekend’s match:

    Alex Lacazette
    Left ankle. After assessments to an ongoing ankle issue, we have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness. Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks. He is likely to be back in action in October.

    Rob Holding
    Now back in full training.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Now back in full training.

    Hector Bellerin
    Now back in full training.

    Kieran Tierney
    Now back in full training.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • Excerpt from ‘The Athletic’ (Sub req’d) By James McNicholas.

    “Mertesacker on Rob Holding: the protege who could end Arsenal’s wait for another England international.”

    “Mertesacker smiles broadly at the mention of Holding. He is more than happy to talk about his former team-mate, perhaps because he sees in him something of himself – or perhaps because Holding was alongside the giant German during his finest hour in an Arsenal shirt.

    In the 2017 FA Cup final, they were part of a makeshift defence that helped lead the Gunners to an unlikely triumph over Double-chasing Chelsea. They were arguably Arsenal’s two best players on the day, and after the senior man had lifted the trophy Gunners predecessor Martin Keown dubbed the occasion ‘The Mertesacker Final’.

    Holding was 21 and in his first full campaign of top-flight football having joined the previous summer after just 26 league starts for then-Championship Bolton. Mertesacker had not started a game all season because of a serious knee injury. They only found out they’d be playing together the day before the game.

    And yet, they emerged victorious. Key to their success was what Mertesacker calls a “good-cop, bad-cop” routine they employed against Diego Costa. It was a perfect display of on-field psychology – Holding was the aggressor, Mertesacker the counsellor. Just after the German put a conciliatory arm around the Chelsea striker, Holding would thwack another across him. Costa didn’t know where to turn.”

    * * *

    Holding to return soon. Arsenal become deeper and more talented when he does.


  • Brighton v Burnley = AW
    Manchester U v Leicester C = Draw
    Tottenham v Crystal Palace = Home Win (hope to be wrong)
    Wolves v Chelsea = Draw
    Bournemouth v Everton= Draw

  • Hi TA… You’ll rouse me out of my “retirement” (back to working… 😮 ) with the “contest.” All Home Wins for me…

    I like these historical previews, GN5. Keep ’em coming…

    There’s a strong comparison of Flores vs Emery by Tim over on 7amkickoff. Borrowing ideas from over there, as PE did with his Firmino post, seems like a thing–and with Lacazette out, maybe we’ll have more of a traditional #10 pairing with PEA up top… Frankly, I doubt it. To me, it appears Emery prefers to play inverted wingers, who, naturally, try to drift into that central space. Pepe on the left, Nelson (or maybe Ceballos) on the right. Remember, Ozil can’t do tough away matches…

    But then a “midfield” (and I use the term loosely–“1st line of defense” seems more appropriate..) 3 of Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Torriera (Ceballos in if Xhaka is “Unjaired”) ahead of AMN, Sok, Luiz, and Kola, with Leno in goal. And I do mean, “in goal.” I’m missing those crazy fellows (or maybe just Woj Szczesny…) who can manage it when their defenders push up, knowing they can always leave their line and come for the ball…

    On just a single point and needing to impress their new manager, I expect Watford’s players to give a VERY strong performance. Are our guys up to matching it? Or just technically superior enough (and/or well drilled sufficiently in whatever “plan” Emery uses) to nick a result?

    We shall see…

  • GN5, brilliant historical take on the match preview. I particularly liked the pre- and post- Premiership era stats of our Away clashes; plus, you spiced up things with the mini- head to head being tied and this game, the “tie breaker”. Love it.

    Considering how it went at Anfield, I (personally) won’t wish to see the diamond midfield anytime soon, unless it will come with our full backs marauding forward….and this can only be possible in a home game (as we usually dominate those). We have to find a formation which allows Ozil and Ceballos play together, though, for us to seize control and give Auba/Pepe some good service. Sad to see that with Laca out of it, we may not have the game changer from the bench unless we opt for only one of Auba and Pepe to start.

    I like GN5’s picks but only if say Ozil operates from the left side mostly, tucking in at times to give Kolasinac room to come forward; this will concede central areas to Ceballos while Pepe operates from the right, in a flexible 4-3-3. Otherwise, PE’s 3 at the back may be the way to go since we cannot be going to Watford to play a too-conservative game. We have to take it to them and get all 3 points and avoid the curse of the new manager (which we seem to suffer a lot in recent memory).

  • TA’s predictions game:

    Brighton v Burnley = Draw
    Manchester U v Leicester C = Draw
    Tottenham v Crystal Palace = Home Win (unfortunately, but you never know with Roy)
    Wolves v Chelsea = Home win
    Bournemouth v Everton= Away win.

    I guess TA expects the obvious results from Liverpool v Newcastle and Norwich v City?

  • Sorry to have missed the opportunity to pick my fave 11 but perhaps it would have taken too much time thinking about the midfield 🙂

    GN5. Thank you for another enjoyable read, your stat work is excellent. It should be an enjoyable game especially the Deeney /Sok battle.

    B v B Home
    MU V LC Home
    TH v CP Home
    W V C Away
    B v E Draw

  • Yes guys we are lucky to have GN5 doing the historical data gathering and putting these in enticing posts!

    Also big thanks to all competition participants. Eris, we just pick five games and indeed those ones are too predictable.

    It has been a long wait for PL football and our boys are not playing till tomorrow afternoon, but at least we will playing every three/four days after that. COYGs!

  • Morning all,
    Thanks for your comments.
    Good to see you Erik.

    These international lulls really kill the momentum in the league, it’s about time the overall scheduling was given a complete overhaul.

  • Great gravatar Erik.

    We stopped over there on a Baltic cruise and I distinctly remember sampling several delicious single malts at one of the pubs…………

  • I never knew that Erik, the next time I do to the liquor store (which is frequently) I’ll check to see if it’s sold in Canada.

  • So many good whiskeys! I slightly prefer cognac and Armagnac but a good whiskey goes along way too.

    AB – How are you mate? 🙂 Thanks for your predictions.

    PE – Thanks for your predictions…

    Pb and Le Gall forgot to invite you both to join our fun prediction competition… A shirt can be won at the end of the season… 🙂 Scores have to be in before 3pm though..

  • TA, (some unimportant trivia)

    Personally single malt whiskey is my favourite alcoholic beverage, among them I prefer a 25 year old The Macallan – but usually have to settle for an 18 year old. I’ve tried over 60 various single malts and another winner is Laphroaig although it is a touch too peaty for some, the producers believe it’s due to the high moss content in the peat.

  • Hmmmm. Looks like Chelsea are running away with it at Wolves, unless….
    The tiny tots also running riot. Work cut out for us. And it’s that playing after knowing results of rivals that gets me concerned we will mostly play on Sundays owing to Thursday Europa league fixtures. Only puts pressure on us.

  • That will test our mettle Eris. Difficult to know what resides in the minds of our younger players in these situations. Winners seem to always thrive in pressure. A desirable yardstick I think.


  • No results went our way today, we are now in seventh place and if results go against us tomorrow we could drop to ninth. Seems strange to say but our fifth game is a must win game or we become one of the chasing pack – instead of a top four contender.

    Watford after four games are – W0, D1, L3, GF2, GA8 with only one point, looks easy on paper – so why am I so bloody nervous?

  • That’s true TA our away record for the last two seasons has been shocking, but I’m more concerned about our inferior defensive capability.

  • I remember going to see Arsenal at Carrow Road after an international break a few years ago. We were terrible and lost. Playing away after an international break is not easy: the manager has little time to prepare with the squad and the normal automatisms all of a sudden don’t work. Luckily, Arsenal have had an extra day to prepare and they are of course doubly warned now..

  • Tottenscum bounced back with a strong result. I’m going to be annoyed if we don’t take care of our own business. I don’t push for flashy scorelines, I just want our 3 points. I’m already bothered to see them celebrate.

  • Jync, I cannot remember sampling Balvenie but my single malt guide tells me that the distillery is next the Glenfiddich distillery. It is said to be “strong, intense and perfumy” with a high floral tone and it’s flavours are of rich long layered honey.

    Sounds good to me……………..

  • Yeah, we’ve been “doubly warned”, but when has that ever helped us, when we choose not to turn up? We must turn up and silence the crowd early, then fight for the win. If we play with freedom, it’s the kind of game we can win by a good margin, say 4-0.

    Otamendi and Walker hurt Manchester (because Norwich are also ‘city’, you see) City’s chances today and Liverpool will be buoyed to keep up their blistering form.

    At this stage, so many players chasing top scorer gong: Aguero, Tammy Abraham, Pukki, Sterling, Barnes, Sallah, Sane, Kane,….. hopefully, our creative players give Auba a chance to move up.

  • For tomorrow’s encounter at Watford, I perceive most have forgotten we may face a certain ex-gunner in Danny Welbeck. What are the odds he gets to score against us?

  • Thanks Gn5, sounds like the one I’m remembering. Kind of complex and difficult to describe for a novice like me. When in doubt I just order Glenlivet or Glenfiddich as a light, smooth choice. They’re always available, if not adventurous.

  • The PL table already has a familiar look to it:-
    1). Liv
    2). City
    3). Tot
    4). United
    5). Leic
    6). Chl
    7). Ars – with a game in hand @ 7pts
    8). Evert ———–do———- @ 7pts
    9). Wham ———-do——— @ 7pts.

    Should we lose and Evert and Wham win, we are 9th on the table. That would be a shame as the pattern of the table already says it’s no early days any longer. 6 games are traditionally used in assessing form and a top team must be at least in the top 6 each 6 games. That means Watford is a must win game for us.

    If we don’t win, I will unreasonably hold Emery responsible. Yes every team should be given its due respect but it is not every team that Emery should spend hours on end studying and adjusting to their “strengths”. The onus should be on Watford (for example) to respond to our strength. All that much video analysis was ok when he was at Sevilla but hardly necessary at PSG or here at Arsenal.

    Emery should look at the players available to him and simply respond to them. Make the best of what he has and march to battle. It is the job of the “minnows” to begin to respond to the Mighty Arsenal. There is absolutely no basis for us to acquire the mentality of a small team. Big team mentality is part of the Arsenal way.

    Yes van Judas might have made this topic current. It is to the point and a lot of people have been murmuring for some time now to all this carmeleon talk. By the way that’s a vertebrate that gives me a spooky feeling.

    If I was in Emery’s shoes, based on the players available to me, I would send out this team and tell them to go get me all the 3pts:-


    Bench: Martinez, Holding, Torreira, Willock, Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli

  • Ex-AFC youth player Donyell Malen scored 5 for PSV yesterday and is already a Dutch international, Gnabry has become an established star at BM and for Germany. Rene Adelaide in the French squad and has a golden future.

    Why develop youth players to watch them reach stardom elsewhere.?

    And don’t start me on Szcesny …

    Actually this would make a good post subject on a quiet day

  • I agree with your formation and selection, PE. However, I’d like to see Ozil replacing Ceballos. He needs to start playing and offering his experience to the side. I understand the case for the Spanish youth star but he is not Ozil; plus, not yet our player.

  • Yes Erikski, Malen and Gnarby are exceptional talents and may well end up among the very best in Europe. Malen scoring all five goals for yesterday, against the then league leaders Vitesse, is something special.

  • Eris, am very fine with Ozil there, I was just thinking he starts his season from the bench today (say 25mins) and a starter the following weekend against A. Villa at the Emirate.

  • Morning GN5 – Yes it is! Feeling a bit apprehensive, though. Hopefully we smash the Hornets and get all three points. We may even see some fine footie…

    On that note, 17HT are you doing a live blog today?

  • It’s going to be interesting to see how UE approaches the game: –

    Will Ozil finally start?
    How many of our youth players will he include?
    Will his strategy be offensive or defensive?
    Is Holding now ready to play?

  • I’m off out to my favourite Italian bakery to buy some fresh baked bread and cold cuts – for my lunch during the game (11:30am kick off here). I will wash the sandwiches down with a good Australian Shiraz, so I’ll end up happy win, lose or draw – but a whole lot happier if we win.

  • TA, as time drifts by you begin to realize that it’s also your life drifting away, so my wife and I (56 years) make sure that we fulfill each others needs and try do the things that we enjoy the most.
    We are rich only in memories but we are in good health and have two fine children and two grandchildren.

    From the day we met my wife knew just how important a part of my life Arsenal were, and she has been amazingly tolerant. She makes sure she knows what day the Gunners are playing before she accepts or makes appointments.

  • Hi TA, just getting my espresso into myself this morning, but yes, I can put up a live-blog post…as I’m a bit more excited given that both Ozil and Ceballos are starters…

    It’ll take me a few minutes–and I could use some help once the match begins–but I’ll do it…

  • Watford (4-2-3-1) Foster; Kiko Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Cleverley, Deulofeu; Gray.
    Substitutes: Gomes, Foulquier, Janmaat Mariappa, Chalobah, Sarr, Pereyra.

    Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Ceballos; Aubameyang.
    Substitutes: Martinez, Chambers, Saka, Torreira, Willock, Martinelli, Nelson.

    Referee Anthony Taylor.

  • Watford: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Holebas, Capoue, Hughes, Doucoure, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Gray.
    Subs: Gomes, Janmaat, Mariappa, Foulquier, Chalobah, Sarr, Pereyra.

    Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ozil, Aubameyang, Pepe.
    Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Torreira, Saka, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli.

    We expect to see some good football from our boys and hopefully, goals.


  • 15:47
    not much to say about the lineup
    mesut’s back, at last; “diamond midfierld” in the absence of laca why not – probably the right call, actually
    at the bottom of the diamond, lucas ould have made more sense than granit imo, but i can’t see no reason why we shouldn’t win today …
    enjoy the game, friends

  • I like the line up with Ozil and Ceballos and Pepe feeding Auba.


  • If a diamond


  • I will take those points, TA… Cheers…

    We have a NEW POST… Please join me over there, fellas…

  • Like the team but sorry not to see Deeney – he is always good value. And I guess Weblz is injured again.

    No experience on the bech if we need to get a goal later in the game.

  • 31 – Arsenal faced 31 shots in their 2-2 draw against Watford, the most they have ever faced in a Premier League fixture since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003-04. Barrage.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s