Friday, 26 August 2016

Arsenal's Trip To Watford Previewed

With only one point from their first two games Arsenal are in need of a win before the players head off on the first of the dreaded international breaks this season. The point away to Leicester last week was better than the defeat at home to Liverpool the previous week, but it still leaves the team winless and five points behind the early pacesetters. It's far too early to be worried about gaps at the top of the table, but every point can be precious at the end of the season and Arsenal need to start putting some on the board.

In team news nothing much has changed which probably means we will see a pretty similar team to last week. There are bound to be a few changes and hopefully they will make the difference from last week. There needs to be a balance struck between defence and attack and we're just not finding that balance at the moment.

If any player can give Arsenal the attacking impetus they were missing last week then Mesut Ozil is the man to do it. In the short while he was on the pitch he looked like he would turn the game in Arsenal's favour, but he ran out of time. He needs the right players in the right positions on the end of his passes if he's going to make chances and that's a problem at the moment too.

Alexis Sanchez has played as the central striker for the first two games and it just doesn't work for me. I think he is far more dangerous in a wide role and I would ideally like to see him wide on the right. If he plays there it would mean we need someone else to play in the central role and that creates a problem of it's own at the moment.

Olivier Giroud would be the ideal choice of the players we have, but he is apparently still a little short of full fitness and will probably be on the bench again. Theo Walcott just isn't up to the role for me and Lucas Perez is still only a potential signing. The only other option would be Chuba Akpom who is the only actual striker we have in the squad besides Giroud.

I'm still trying to figure out why he's in the squad if he's not going to get a chance and surely this would be the ideal time to play him. Arsene Wenger is willing to give youth it's chance elsewhere in the team, but it seems Akpom won't benefit from this policy. I think his inclusion would give us a much more balanced attack and just maybe he might take the chance if it came his way.

I would be surprised to see Alexis in any other position than the central role though and we can only hope he can improve on his last two performances there. This is a game we really need to win and I'm not sure the team choices give us the best chance of doing so. I would prefer to see players playing in the positions they are best suited to rather than trying to accommodate players out of position.

Besides the inclusion of Ozil I'm not sure what other changes there might be, but I would like to the Mohamed Elbeny and Granit Xhaka partnership given a chance in midfield. I think they are the best combination going forward and we need to see them playing together from the start. I think their drive and enthusiasm in midfield could help to provide the impetus the team needs. 

Whatever team plays they need to show more than they did last week and a win has to be a necessity. We might not have beaten Liverpool or Leicester, but Watford are not in the class of either of those teams. They are no pushovers, but three points are there for the taking and we need to take them.

Besides the need for the three points we also owe them one after they put us out of the FA Cup last season. I'm still not quite sure how we lost that game and it was a low point for us in a disappointing season.

They have only one point from their first two games too after they let a lead slip to draw at Southampton in their first game and Chelsea came from behind to beat them last week. They looked good against Chelsea and probably should have been further ahead before Chelsea mugged them. They have two good strikers, but Etienne Capoue has been the player to catch the eye for them in their first two games with two goals.

Given the chance I'm sure Watford can cause us real problems, but equally we can cause them problems. If we can get a little bit of our mojo with Ozil in the team then I think the three points are there for us. Anything other than three points going into the break would be a huge blow considering what has happened in the first two games.

Finally for today it's still not too late to join my Fantasy League and my Predictions League for the new season. There's a €50 prize for the fantasy league and it's open to anyone to join.

To join my fantasy league go to the official site and set up your team after entering your details. Once you've set up your team go to the league's option and join a private league. The code for my league (Ever Arsenal league) is 64693-22498 and there's already well over 1,000 teams in it.

For my predictions league go to the official site and make your forecasts and then go to the mini leagues option. Go to the join a mini league option (invitation code) and use the code for my league FD6F8-HYH to sign up. After that you can join in the fun of predicting every single game left to play this season.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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