Watford Team News: Arsenal To Take No Risks
Let’s be honest, everyone who didn’t play at St Mary’s is back in the starting line-up, aren’t they? Aside from replacing Hector Bellerin, that is. Despite his impressive performance at Southampton, it’s fairly obvious Danny Welbeck won’t even make the bench. In his press briefing, Arsène said,
“Of course he has done enough to keep his place but at the moment we have to be cautious with him. I’m not sure how we’ll use him every three days. I think he’s a bit short for that.
“He’s very sharp but we’re still not out of it completely. We still have to be cautious with him. Where I agree is that physically he is ready to play. We still have to manage the times we use him and the times we rest him for a while. We will do that in the next month and then after, hopefully, he will be completely fit.”
I don’t think anyone will argue with the manager over anything he’s said about Welbeck. I wish he were fit when Olivier Giroud is under pressure, he performs. We know that and (reassuringly) France saw that in the summer. Everyone was on his back and bar Griezmann, he was Les Bleus Player of the Tournament.
But up front isn’t the issue. I assume that Ramsey and Coquelin will revert to the central pairing although Ox made a strong case for his inclusion at Southampton. Some of his passes were exquisite but we must be mindful of the fact that Watford won’t give us the same time and space on the ball.
If Ox doesn’t manage to feature in the middle, will he usurp Alex Iwobi on the left? I’m not convinced it’s the best position for him, or that Arsène is prepared to drop the Nigerian international. Iwobi is an undoubted talent but both players represent the future of Arsenal. Can Wenger afford to risk upsetting the pair of them?
The scheduling of this fixture is one to be grateful for. I’m of the school of thought that having rested the entire XI at St Mary’s, a match where we get some sharpness back to the main protagonists ahead of the trip to Chelsea is most welcome.
This has to be one where we take three points if we’re to go into Saturday genuinely believing that the title is on. We outplayed them at Vicarage Road earlier this season and a comfortable win has to be the order of the day tonight. Focus, hard work, everything we demand of our players will give us the three points we need if the season isn’t to fizzle out.