An intriguing FA Cup quarter-final for FLIP players this week, with Watford aiming to take advantage of any distractions Arsenal might be suffering. The Gunners have the Premier League, a Champions League match against Barcelona and the FA Cup—all on a squad depleted by injuries. A draw against Spurs and a win at Hull are both acceptable results, but it might stretch them a step too far to stay in all three competitions. Watford have settled into midtable and are safe from relegation—they will sense a chance to extend this cup run a little further.
Although it ended in defeat, Watford’s match against Leicester showcased Aké’s development as a player, and earned him MotM. He defended with strength and determination—so much so that Mahrez had to pull something out of the top drawer in order to get on the scoresheet. Watford fans will be hoping their club can acquire Aké on a permanent deal, but will Chelsea let him go? The new manager at Stamford Bridge will want to assess all of his players over the summer and may decide to give the young Dutch left back a chance given how well he has played at times this season.
Apparently Sanchez has difficulty sleeping when he’s not scoring goals—so has had many sleepless nights this season. The Chilean superstar hasn’t looked his deadly self at times, although getting the equaliser at White Hart Lane will have done him some good. If Arsenal’s injuries hadn’t been so deep this year, Wenger would arguably have found a chance to rest Sanchez by now. He looks jaded, but even at a low ebb he’s got incredible quality.
His first goal against Hull might have been a gift, but strikers can only finish the opportunities in front of them. Giroud did just that, and grabbed a second too—a confidence boost the Frenchman undoubtedly needed. Too many games and too few goals might be Giroud’s fault, but it could also be that the Gunners haven’t looked in form for a while. Although they salvaged a creditable draw against Spurs, their opponents at the KC rolled over without much fight. A battle against Watford will give us a clearer idea of where Arsenal’s problems are.
The English forward has continued to set up his strike partner Odion Ighalo wherever he can, but it looks like the goals have dried up for Watford’s attack. If ever there was a chance to get at Arsenal though, this is the match—the Gunners have lost several defenders to injury. With Monreal likely to deputise as central defender again, perhaps Watford’s bullish forwards can earn the Hornets some points.