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3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of PL gameweek 6

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3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of gameweek 6

Arsenal and Watford played out arguably one of the most enthralling encounters in the Premier League so far this season, as the Hornets came back from two goals down to salvage a point at Vicarage Road in their first game following the return of Quique Sanchez Flores as the new manager. 

Arsenal had more of the possession in the first half and went into the interval with a two-goal advantage, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.

Sead Kolasinac set up Aubameyang for the opener with a driving run while Mesut Ozil’s wonderful pick-out paved the way for Ainsley-Maitland Niles to assist the Gabonese for his second.

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However, Watford came out with more determination in the second half and took the game by the scruff of the neck. The Hornets completely dominated the proceedings, had more efforts on target and were by and large the better side by a long margin.

Gerard Deulofeu’s clever interception inside Arsenal’s penalty area allowed Tom Cleverly to pull one back in the 53rd minute before a mistimed challenge from David Luiz on Roberto Pereyra inside the box led to Pereyra’s equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time. 

Watford had plenty of chances to wrap up a famous victory at home over the Gunners but Bernd Leno made some smart interventions to save the blushes for the Gunners, who have only themselves to blame for blowing away a golden chance to finish the week in the top 4.

Here are 3 talking points from Vicarage Road:

1. Playing out from the back

The new ruling in the Premier League, which allows players to be inside the box during goal-kick situations, certainly favours teams opting to play out from the back with short exchanges. And Arsenal, who pride themselves in using such tactics to good effect, were the architects of their own downfall on Sunday. 

Watford were very much alive to the Gunners’ tactics and when they tried to play the ball out from the back with short lateral passes. The Hornets adopted a high pressing style to disrupt their rhythm. 

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In the build-up to Watford’s first goal, Leno passed the ball to Sokratis, who apparently thought that passing it to a crowded Matteo Guendouzi was a good idea.

Deulofeu, who was just waiting for a sniff to win the ball back, put out his leg to intercept the ball inside the box and Cleverly made it 2-1 with a cool finish. 

That, however, wasn’t the only time when Arsenal were sloppy when playing out from the back. Guendouzi was robbed off the ball inside his own penalty area in the first half and had it not been for Leno’s fine reflex save, the Gunners would have got some serious stick from their own fans. 

Quite clearly, Arsenal were too slow while playing out from the back and Emery, who knows a lot about the implementation of such tactics, will be aware of the fact that he needs to put in a lot more work on the training ground to avoid such embarrassment in the future. 

2. Watford’s resurgence under Sanchez Flores

The 2-2 draw was probably a fair reflection of the balance of the game but Quique Sanchez Flores would know that his team was ever so close to registering its first victory of the Premier League this term. 

Having failed to win any of their league games since April last season, the Hornets looked short of confidence under Javi Gracia but the appointment of Sanchez Flores has come as a breath of fresh air amongst the players, who put in a lion-hearted performance and showed the audacity to take the game to Arsenal. 

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The writing seemed to be on the wall for the hosts when they went into the interval with a two-goal deficit but the way they fought back to salvage a draw speaks volumes of their character and resilience, highlighting the change in mentality that the new manager has already brought to his unit. 

Looking at the stats, Watford had as many as 31 attempts over the course of the ninety minutes on Saturday, 10 of which were on target, while Arsenal managed to get only 4 out of their 7 attempts on target.  

Furthermore, the Hornets finished the game with 53% possession, which is largely a result of their unrivalled dominance in the second half, while the work rate of the players and the ability to carve out chances on a regular basis were a few other hallmarks of their performance. 

Despite the impressive 2-2 draw, Watford stayed at the bottom of the Premier League table with just 2 points from their first 5 games but they certainly won’t be there for long if they continue their resurgence under Sanchez Flores.

3. Luiz a liability once again

Arsenal’s persistent woes at the back over the past 12 months have been one of the biggest talking points of Unai Emery’s reign at the Emirates and the club’s hasty decision to bring in an impetuous centre-back like David Luiz in the summer has already shown early signs of backfiring, with the Brazilian veteran conceding yet another penalty on Saturday. 

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Luiz was quite horrible with his decision-making and mentality at the back in the games against Liverpool and Spurs, and his clip on Pereyra just inside the box paved the way for the Hornets to equalise in the second half.

Looking back at how things shaped up over the ninety minutes, the very fact that Watford managed to register 31 attempts is a clear indication of the fact that the Gunners just didn’t do enough at the back to close down the attackers soon enough. 

In fact, they were lucky not to have conceded three or four goals, thanks to some goalkeeping heroics from Leno and some poor finishing from the home side.

If Luiz continues to let the team down on such a regular basis, Emery might have his work cut out in guiding the team to a top-four finish this season. 

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[Image] Man United vs Arsenal: Star-studded combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

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Man United vs Arsenal: Combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

After a round of EFL Cup fixtures, Premier League action is set to return this weekend with plenty of thrills and spills and the high-octane clash between Man United and Arsenal on Monday night is undoubtedly going to be one of the main attractions of matchweek 7. 

Both the teams won their EFL Cup fixtures, with Arsenal handing Nottingham Forest a 5-0 drubbing and Man United somehow edging past a lowly Rochdale in the penalty shootout. 

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Arsenal are currently placed 4th in the Premier League standings after a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa last week and the fans will be expecting the Gunners to continue their winning run, while Man United will have their work cut out away from home after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham last week. 

Combined XI

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German has proven his worth between the sticks on numerous occasions with some fine saves this season and he certainly deserves the nod over de Gea, who has been a bit inconsistent. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The youngster has proven himself to be an excellent addition to Man United’s backline and it is a no-brainer that he has fared way better than Maitland-Niles in that position.

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Harry Maguire (CB)

The England international has added a lot of steel to United’s backline following his big-money move from Leicester City earlier in the summer. One of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, he definitely deserves a place ahead of the error-prone David Luiz in the elite combined line-up. 

Sokratis (CB)

The Greek international has hardly been at his best but Victor Lindelof too, has been equally lacklustre and there isn’t really a lot to choose between them so far this term.

Kieran Tierney (LB)

The Scotsman made his first start for the Gunners since his move from Celtic back in August and the fans will be expecting him to play a big part on Monday if he starts.

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Matteo Guendouzi (CDM)

The Frenchman has arguably been Arsenal’s most influential presence in the middle of the park with his excellent all-round game, leapfrogging Fred, Matic, Xhaka and Torreira on the performance charts. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has really come of age for United this term and his combative and energetic displays in the middle of the park have caught the eye amidst a lot of mediocrity from his teammates, including star man Paul Pogba. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian is currently on high spirits after bagging his first goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa last week and though he hasn’t done anything spectacular yet, there is hardly a better player from either team in that role. 

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Daniel James (LW)

The former Swansea City starlet has taken the Premier League by storm this season and he will be United’s best bet to find the net on Monday. 

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has shown a lot of promise in that No.10 role for the Gunners and he definitely deserves the nod ahead of big names like Juan Mata and Mesut Ozil.

To Read More Arsenal News, Click here:- Latest Arsenal News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

The Gabonese international has become a nemesis for the defenders in the Premier League and with an impressive tally 6 goals in 6 league outings this season, Arsenal will look up to him to propel them to a victory over rivals United on Monday. 

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[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Man United XI to face Arsenal – Can Maguire keep Aubameyang quiet?

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Predicted Man United XI to face Arsenal in the Premier League

Man United got themselves back to winning ways with a hard-fought penalty shootout victory over Rochdale in the EFL Cup but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are going to have their work cut out when they play host to Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday night.

The Red Devils came under scrutiny after their disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham away from home last week and they will be desperate to come away with a positive result against the Gunners on Monday having won only 2 of their first 6 games in the Premier League so far. 

Unai Emery’s side will head into the game high on confidence after having the final say in the 3-2 thriller against Aston Villa followed by a 5-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. 

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Team News

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of injuries to contend with for Monday’s high-octane clash. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are ruled out with long-term knee injuries but a number of key first-team players are also doubtful to play a part against the Gunners.

Marcus Rashford (groin), Anthony Martial (thigh) and Luke Shaw (thigh) are yet to recover fully from their respective injuries and their availability will be subject to a late fitness test. 

Solskjaer is expected to make multiple changes to the eleven that played against Rochdale on Wednesday night. 

Predicted XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

David de Gea (GK)

The Spaniard has shown signs of returning to his best after signing a new deal with the club and he is expected to replace Sergio Romero on Monday. 

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The former Crystal Palace man has been one of the Red Devils’ shining lights in what has otherwise been a rather disappointing start to the season. 

Victor Lindelof (CB)

The Swedish international has blown hot and cold at the heart of the defence this season and United will need him to put in a better performance against a potent Arsenal attack.

Harry Maguire (CB)

The Englishman is an undisputed starter for United every week and he has to be at his best to keep the free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at bay. 

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Ashley Young (LB)

Luke Shaw is unlikely to make it back to the starting eleven on Monday, meaning that the veteran could get yet another start. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has put in a number of impressive performances at the heart of the midfield this season and Solskjaer should continue to rely on him. 

Paul Pogba (CDM)

His return to fitness before the crunch game against the Gunners is definitely a massive boost for United and the Red Devils will bank on him to come up with something spectacular on Monday. 

Andreas Pereira (RW)

The Brazilian hasn’t done an awful lot but he is likely to find himself amongst the starters once again if Martial and Rashford do not make it back in time. 

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Juan Mata (CAM)

The Spaniard has hardly been at his sparkling best but Jesse Lingard, too, has been a big disappointment and Solskajer might just go with experience in a high-octane clash. 

Daniel James (LW)

The jet-heeled Welsh starlet has arguably been United’s best performer in the Premier League thus far and it will be interesting to see how he goes about things against Arsenal. 

To Read More Man United News, Click Here:- Latest Man United News

Mason Greenwood (ST)

The academy graduate has scored in the Europa League and the EFL Cup in the past week or so and injuries to Rashford and Martial might just open the door for him to get a start in the Premier League.

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[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Arsenal XI to face Man United – Xhaka out, Torreira in?

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Predicted Arsenal XI to face Man United in the Premier League

Having edged past Aston Villa in a five-goal thriller last week, Arsenal continued their winning habit with a 5-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday. 

The Gunners, though, will face a real test of their credentials when they make the trip to Old Trafford to face Man United, who recovered from a 2-0 defeat away at West Ham last week to earn a penalty shootout victory over Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

Unai Emery’s side currently sit 4th in the Premier League standings and they will be looking to finish the week inside the top four. 

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Team News

Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin all returned to action in the midweek fixture and their availability before the crunch game at Old Trafford is likely to be a massive boost for Unai Emery, although he will be expected to make a few changes to the eleven that played against Nottingham Forest.

Emile Smith Rowe picked up a knock in the EFL Cup, although the decision to substitute him was more of a precautionary measure.

Konstantinos Mavropanos and Alexandre Lacazette are unlikely to be a part of the matchday squad for Monday night’s encounter but Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be back after serving a one-game suspension for the red card that he picked up last week.

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Predicted XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German was hardly at fault for any of the goals that Arsenal conceded against Aston Villa last week and he is expected to return to the eleven in place of Emiliano Martinez.

Hector Bellerin (RB)

The Spaniard came on as a substitute against Forest on Wednesday but the Gunners will be hoping that he is ready to start at Old Trafford ahead of Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers. 

Rob Holding (CB)

The centre-back put in an assured display at the heart of the defence upon his return from injury in the midweek game and he could find himself ahead of David Luiz in the pecking order. 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB)

The Greek international should be fresh and ready to start at Old Trafford after being rested for the EFL Cup game. 

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Kieran Tierney (LB)

The former Celtic man didn’t play the full ninety minutes against Forest but he should replace the lacklustre Sead Kolasinac on Monday in what would be his Premier League debut. 

Matteo Guendouzi (CM)

The Frenchman has emerged as an indispensable weapon for Arsenal in the middle of the park with his superb all-round game and he should return to the eleven after being rested for the cup tie.

Lucas Torreira (CM)

Granit Xhaka has had a few shocking outings in the Premier League this term and one does get the feeling that Torreira deserves a spot in the playing eleven. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian will be expected to deliver the goods in the high-octane clash against Man United after scoring his first goal against Villa last week.

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has proven himself to be an influential addition to Arsenal’s ranks this season and he certainly deserves a start ahead of Mesut Ozil. 

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Reiss Nelson (LW)

The academy graduate has shown a lot of promise this term and he might get the nod ahead of Bukayo Saka, who was equally impressive against Aston Villa.

To Read More Arsenal News, Click Here:- Latest Arsenal News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

He just can’t stop scoring at the moment, can he? The Gabonese talisman has already bagged 6 goals in 6 games in the Premier League this season and Arsenal will need him to fire on all cylinders once again.

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