Arsenal are going to be desperately looking to say their first points of Project Restart once they visit Southampton on Thursday evening.
The Gunners have suffered back-to-back losses since returning to Premier League action,
whereas Southampton picked up victory against Norwich City in their first game back.
Arteta’s side have lost their first two games since the restart of the Premier League season: the primary was a clear 3-0 loss at Manchester City, but a 2-1 defeat at Brighton has set alarm bells ringing.
The last item Arteta needs is another setback on the south coast, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints looked strong with a 3-0 win at Norwich
on Friday, and have one among the League’s in-form forwards in Dann Ings up against an injury-ravaged Arsenal defence.
They also lost goalkeeper Bernd Leno to a knee injury in Saturday’s defeat at the Amex Stadium.
Now comes a 3rd successive game on the road, this point a touch further along the south coast at Southampton.
The Saints cruised past Norwich in their only game since lockdown, beating the Canaries 3-0, with top scorer Danny Ings netting his 16th goal of the season.
While the South Coast side have little left to play for on the face of it, Arsenal are in desperate need of victory to shut the four-point gap on Sheffield United in seventh.
A season with none kind of European football seems unthinkable for the Gunners,
particularly at a time once they are locked in contract talks with star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon striker, incidentally, has scored 49 Premier League goals,
and another here will see him become the sixth-fastest player to succeed in 50 within the competition (78 games).
Arsenal vs Watford Team News
If losing back-to-back matches since the restart wasn’t bad enough for Arteta,
the Spaniard has also lost three players to potential long-term injuries.
Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari went off early against Man City, while goalkeeper Bernd Leno was stretchered off within the defeat to Brighton.
With Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares and Sokratis Papastathopoulos also out,
and David Luiz still suspended, Arteta has little room to manoeuvre in terms of team selection.
Matteo Guendouzi did a minimum of escape retrospective action for grabbing Maupay by the throat last outing and is therefore
expected to start out during a depleted central midfield, which can include Mesut Ozil for the primary time since early March.
As for Southampton, they continue to be without Moussa Djenepo following his dismissal against Newcastle United before March’s lockdown.
Hasenhuttl could persist with an equivalent lineup from the well-earned convert Norwich given the six-day gap between matches.
What is almost certain is that Danny Ings will still lead the road ,
with the Englishman having scored three goals in his last two Premier League appearances against Arsenal.
Arsenal vs Watford Line Up
Norwich possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Valery, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond; Ings, Obafemi
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Ceballos, Guendouzi, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang
Arsenal vs Watford H2H
Southampton have won three of their past five Premier League home games against Arsenal, quite that they had in their previous 12 against them.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first victory as Southampton manager was against the Gunners in December 2018.
Southampton have only conceded more Premier League goals against Manchester United (82) than they need against Arsenal (76).
Date, time and venue
Arsenal vs Watford is scheduled for a kick-off time of 6pm BST at St Mary’s on Thursday, June 25.
How to watch Arsenal vs Watford
TV channel: The match will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Premier League and Main Event channels and is available via Now TV with a day pass for £9.99.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via SkyGo and the SkyGo app, with a mobile month pass available for £5.99.
4:00pm, Sunday 26th July 2020.