The question on everyone’s minds is ‘can Arsenal challenge for the title? The Gunners have surely proven their credentials after a comprehensive beating of Manchester United last time out—and yet there remains this nagging feeling that they lack the mentality to actually go and win the thing. You are given the sense that Arsenal might be on the cusp of something—as well they should be considering they are once again the most expensive club to follow in England. Watford on the other hand are quietly going to task, grabbing points where they can and on current form should comfortably stay up. Can they maintain it?
The young Spaniard has impressed since coming into the first team picture, making 7 league appearances so far this season. Possessed of rapid pace and good defensive instincts, he has contributed to Arsenal’s solid defensive unit. Against Stoke and Manchester United he was one of the best players on the field. It won’t be long before this young man is called up to the Spain squad if he continues in this vein. Bellerín isn’t the tallest however, and can be susceptible in aerial duels or battling for crosses.
Ramsey returns to Arsenal having played a key role in Wales’ qualification for Euro 2016. He scored in the victory over Andorra and will be full of confidence going into this match. Ramsey hasn’t made much of a mark this season yet, without a goal or assist in 8 league appearances—something he’s sure to rectify in the coming weeks. He has had to be adaptable for his club though, and with the forwards Arsenal have, Ramsey has had to take deeper or wider roles at times. Still the genuine article.
Although Odion Ighalo is the one scoring the goals, Watford’s Troy Deeney is playing a big part in the results. He has 3 assists in 8 appearances and is adept at creating space for his strike partner. It may not win the plaudits, but the fans have been very appreciative of his efforts so far. Deeney wins over 6 aerial duels on average per game, giving Watford an outlet when under pressure. The Englishman is happy to play a little deeper when necessary too, and has won the confidence of his manager Quique Flores. Arsenal will be wary of defending set pieces and corners against Deeney.
At Tottenham, Gomes was banished to the reserves after several costly mistakes and the subsequent recruitment of Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris. A highlights video rarely shows the true skills of a player, but it’s hard not to be embarrassed about mistakes like these. It’s a shame because it overshadows the many great games he had in a Spurs shirt—form that he is rediscovering at Watford. Gomes has been named MotM twice for the Hornets already, against Southampton and Bournemouth.