Arsenal really are a confusing club. Last weekend, they lost 1-0 to Everton at Goodison Park – a first defeat in seven Premier League outings – after conceding a goal to a chap who wasn’t even meant to be playing. Phil Jagielka was probably as surprised as anybody when asked to step into the starting line-up at the last minute for Michael Keane for just his fourth league appearance of the season.
But the 36-year-old made no mistake when presented with the opportunity to give the Toffees the lead and to leave Unai Emery’s side in a sticky situation from which they were unable to extricate themselves. The Gunners’ away form has been atrocious as they’ve lost six and drawn four of their 15 away games, and haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in the league outside of the Emirates.
Yet, in a case of Jekyll & Hyde, Arsenal welcomed Napoli to London on Thursday night in their Europa League quarter-final and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. With this type of inconsistency, it’s hard to know what kind of team will turn up at Vicarage Road on Monday night, but it’s Watford who will be wary given previous experience.
While the Hornets’ stung Arsenal at this venue last season with a 2-1 win, they’ve lost four of their last five home games against the Londoners and in 15 Premier League games on a Monday night, they’ve only ever won two (one of them being a 4-1 win over another London side in February 2018: Chelsea). In contrast, Arsenal have won seven of their last eight Monday night fixtures.
That said, Javi Garcia’s men are on a good run at home at the moment, unbeaten in their last five at Vicarage Road, and Arsenal’s list of away day “scalps” this season makes for far from impressive reading: Cardiff City, Newcastle United, Fulham, Bournemouth and Huddersfield – two of those teams are already relegated and Cardiff are precariously close.
Given that the Arsenal players are bound to have one eye on their upcoming trip to Naples, we reckon they’ll suffer from one of those infamous continental hangovers and continue their poor show on the road in the league – so for the first part of our Same Game Multi, we like the look of Watford to win at 2/1.
Seven of the last eight meetings between the sides have produced at least three goals and we’re expecting that pattern to continue given the recent tendency of the Gunners backline to suffer from travel sickness. In anticipation of a thriller in Hertfordshire, we’re going for over 2.5 goals at 1/2 and both teams to score at 4/9.
Then, to round out our bet, we’re backing Troy Deeney anytime goalscorer at 21/10. The Watford skipper netted from the spot in this fixture last season and has scored four goals from his last six games in the league – including two from his last two games at Vicarage Road – so we expect him to be at his bullying best to condemn Emery’s men to another questionable defeat on the road.
This Same Game Multi pays around 7/1 at the quoted prices
- Watford to win – 2/1
- Over 2.5 goals – 1/2
- Both teams to score – 4/9
- Troy Deeney anytime goalscorer – 21/10
Odds correct at time of posting.