Arsenal Visit Watford at Vicarage Road in Saturday's late kickoff in the Premier League aiming to keep their title challenge  firmly on track.

The two-week international break may have disrupted Arsenal's flow, but they will be keen to push on from their memorable win over Manchester United last time out. 


In many ways, 2015-16 to date for Arsenal supporters has been incredibly familiar to years gone by.

A shaky spell, in which Arsene Wenger's future is called into serious question, is quickly followed up by a strong run.

Three defeats in five games across the month of September ensured that Wenger would have to fend off more fan discontent, but a storming 3-0 win over Man United last time out appears to have changed all that.

It gave the Frenchman some room to breath over the international break, at least, with some suggesting that a title tilt may be on the cards after all this campaign.

The Gunners are just two points adrift of early pacesetters Man City and, with fellow challengers Man United and Chelsea also dropping points aplenty, it is easy to see why confidence is back at a high.

Arsenal's European aspirations may currently look bleak following two opening-game defeats but all focus right now is simply on ending the club's 11-year wait for a top-flight crown.

With the domestic season firmly back on track following that impressive triumph over the Red Devils, the big topic of discussion at Thursday's AGM meeting centred around the transfer spending - or lack of it - over the past 12 months.

Just the one senior addition was made in the summer, with Petr Cech making a high-profile switch from West to North London, and it is the arrival of the experienced stopper which could have contributed to Arsenal's improved defensive form.

No side has kept more clean sheets than the Gunners' four so far, while only seven goals have been shipped overall - a joint-low across the division.

Recent form in Premier League: DWWLWW

Recent form (all competitions): LLWWLW 


They may have gone under the radar somewhat since earning promotion, but Quique Sanchez Flores will be more than happy with the start his side have made on their return to the Premier League.

Just the two defeats in all so far, one of which came away at league leaders Manchester City, has left the Hornets sitting comfortably in mid-table at this admittedly early stage.

One concern for the Spaniard, however, has been his side's over reliance on Odion Ighalo to find the net in recent weeks; the Nigeria international scoring each of Watford's last five goals.

Incredibly, Miguel Layun is the only other player to have made a breakthrough this term, and that came just 13 minutes into the term in a 2-2 draw at Everton.

It perhaps comes as little surprise, then, to discover that Watford have scored the league's joint-fewest goals so far, with three shutouts to date.

On the flip side, however, the defensive record remains very strong for a newly-promoted side, having shipped seven goals up the other end.

No side can boast a better record than that, which goes to show that it may be defence, rather than attack - which many had predicted - that is more likely to keep Flores's charges up come May at this rate.

Watford can hold claim to having the lowest shot-conversion rate and poorest shooting accuracy figures in the top flight this season; only upping the pressure on last season's leading marksman Troy Deeney to find his groove in front of goal.

It is a statistic of a different king that will worry those inside Vicarage Road more than any other this weekend, though, with the Golden Boys having never won a Premier League game in the month of October in nine previous attempts.

Recent form in Premier League: DLWWLD

Recent form (all competitions): LLWWLD 

Team News

The return to top form of Alexis Sanchez leading up to the international break was a huge boost for Arsenal, but they could be without their star man for the trip to Vicarage Road.

Despite nursing a hip injury, the Chile international was risked by his national side and is therefore a doubt upon his return to British shores.

Laurent Koscielny will be given a late fitness test, meanwhile, but is unlikely to be risked ahead of a huge showdown with Bayern Munich in midweek, although midfield duo Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are also available.

In terms of the home side, they could have a near clean bill of health following the two-week hiatus. Ikechi Anya, Allan-Romeo Nyom and Valon Behrami have each been in the treatment room, but Flores expects all three to be fit by Saturday.

Having Anya available will provide a big boost to Watford, with only one other player - opposition midfielder Aaron Ramsey, ironically - producing more sprints so far this term. 


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