English Premier League
The EPL presents another primetime Monday night fixture, as England's top flight league wraps up match day match 34 with a must-see event.
The title race stole the spotlight on Sunday afternoon, with Manchester City setting the pace early on, while Liverpool answered the call and took back over sole possession of the top spot in the table for yet another week.
The weekend also witnessed Southampton, Newcastle, and Burnley inching their way further from the relegation line, and locking up a spot in the Premiership for another season.
Watford vs. Arsenal
Vicarage Road, Hertfordshire, England
NBCSN - SKY Sports
4-15-2019 - 3:00 pm ET - 8:00 pm GMT
The eyes of the Premier League world will be on Vicarage Road and with a top-ten matchup of teams with European aspirations, there should be no shortage of action when the Hornets face the Gunners to close out another week of high intrigue.
Watford has been this seasons surprise club. After racing out to an early lead in the standings, the Hornets have since leveled off as they battle for the seventh spot in the league.
Javi Gracia arrived in England with plenty question marks, after serving much of his time in La Liga, the Spaniard welcomed the opportunity to work in arguably the best league in the world.
Gracia's Sudden Impact
The second-year man wasted no time placing his imprint on his new club, immediately gathering results, Gracia now has his team believing they can compete for a Europa League spot, and grab silverware as part of the FA Cup finals in May.
The Watford taskmaster has been burdened with a rash of injuries throughout his talented squad, with Tom Cleverley, José Holebas, and Domingos Quina all officially ruled out, while Isaac Success, Kiko Femenía, Adalberto Peñaranda, and FA Cup hero Gerard Deulofeu are all listed as doubts, placing added stress on the remaining core to pick up the slack.
Club legend Troy Deeney is ready to go, the longtime goal scoring threat remains an imposing figure on the Hornets frontline, using his strength in the box to overpower opposing defenders, he is most dangerous in aerial situations where he is responsible for eleven goals and five assists in all competitions.
Roberto Pereyra and Abdoulaye Doucouré have flourished within Gracia's 4-2-2-2 formation, the talented set of midfielders have been placed in the best positions to succeed, with ten goals and seven assists in all competitions, they provide a skillful array of passing and goal scoring skills.
England international Ben Foster has been a significant upgrade in the Hornets net this season, after making a move from West Brom over the Summer, the seasoned netminder continues to provide stability in between the sticks, his keen eye for detail will be leaned upon as the Gunners come to town.
Watford comes in riding a three-match home winning streak. The hosts have enjoyed playing at Vicarage Road on their current campaign, posting a record of 9-2-5, while scoring an average of 1.6 goals while on their pitch.
Arsenal makes the short trip with plenty to play for themselves. The north Londoner's have slipped to sixth place in the standing's, but after Chelsea fell to Liverpool on Sunday, the Gunner's could move back into sole possession of the fourth spot with a victory.
Unai Emery has failed to find consistency away from home. The Spanish manager owns a tremendous home record, but once he takes his team on the road they tend to struggle, only winning two of their last ten away fixtures in all competitions, the visitors have also failed to keep a clean sheet during that dreadful run of form.
Emery's Rotation Decisions
The Gunners headman will have plenty of hard choices to make within his starting eleven, with a trip to Italy midweek, Emery must prioritize his starters minutes with the second leg of Europa League action right around the corner.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have been the clubs main danger-men moving forward in attack, their 44 goals and 14 assists in all competitions have helped carry the offensive load, it will be interesting to see if the tandem partner together with their upcoming trip to Naples, leaving a significant void on Arsenal's front-line if either are left on the bench.
The Londoner's have plenty of questions to answer in the midfield as well, with Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Alex Iwobi all in contention to fill the number ten role, while Aaron Ramsey seems a logical choice to handle the central responsibilities, the Welsh-man continues to shine in his last season with the Gunners.
Emery has preferred a three-person backend since arriving in London, calling on the veteran presences of Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, and Shkodran Mustafi, they will offer support for German keeper Bernd Leno who has been a stabilizing force in between the sticks.
Arsenal will be out to win only their tenth match in their last 35 outings, with a Europa League title guaranteeing a spot in the Champions League next season, it will be interesting to see just how the Gunners prioritize this matchup, with finishing top four in the league seeming a monumental challenge.
Watford vs. Arsenal - Match Prediction
These two clubs have enjoyed hitting the back of the net when paired together, with nine out of the last ten meetings going over the total, this should be another exciting installment in this high scoring rivalry.
Watford has enjoyed hitting the back of the net over their past six outings, scoring 13 times over that impressive span of play, the Hornets have also cashed over 2.5 goals in each one of those fixtures.
The hosts are certain to bring their aggressive nature to the pitch, wanting to use their collective talent to challenge Arsenal's back-line, even with less of the ball throughout 90 minutes, the Hornets are adept at creating plenty of shots on goal.
Arsenal is undoubtedly a different team away from the Emirates, even with large stretches possession, their creativity in front of goal has been a significant issue, although they average 1.7 goals during their travels, they have been held scoreless in three of their last seven away contests.
Both Teams To Score In The 1st Half +250 / 3.5
Based on these two teams prior history I expect to see goals early and often. The total has eclipsed 2.5 goals over the last six meetings at Vicarage Road, and we should expect that trend to continue on Monday night.
Watford vs. Arsenal - Betting Tips
Over 1.25 -105 / 1.95 - Total 1st Half Goals
Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals -120 / 1.83
Odds Provided By BookMaker
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