Watford return to the Emirates just weeks after dumping Arsenal out of the FA Cup. Flores’ men failed to win a Premier League game in March slipping to 14th. Meanwhile Arsenal trail league leaders Leicester by 11 points.
Arsenal’s shock cup exit has put somewhat of a downer on the remainder of their campaign. Miracles aside, the Gunners look set for a trophyless season, so naturally the anti-Wenger brigade are out in full force calling for the end of the Frenchmen’s 20 year reign. They tend to start making themselves heard around this time every season but perhaps it is time for a change. Constant Champions League qualifaction has long justified Wenger’s position but after the recent taste of FA Cup glory many at Arsenal fans will struggle to accept the lack of silverware.
The recent backing of Usmanov, the club’s majority shareholder, arguably says more about Wenger’s shortcomings than his apparent ‘neccessity’ to the club. Such votes of confidence often serve as a kiss of death. For too long now Arsenal have failed to progress as a club, stagnating as a Champions League club not quite good enough to dominate. The nearly men of Europe and the Premier League need to shake things up.
Odion Ighalo has been heavily linked with Arsenal with suggestions he could fit the bill as the mythical missing striker. 16 goals for the Hornets this season make him the focal point of their attack.
Failure to win since mid-February has seen Watford slowly move towards the wrong end of the league. However a stellar start leaves them with a comfortable 37 points just 3 off the magic 40point safety mark.
Flores has no fresh injury news ahead of the trip to their London rivals and following last months FA Cup win the Hornets may feel they have what it takes to take all 3 points. Additionally, Arsenal will be without Ramsey, Cazola and Oxlade Chamberlain who remain injured. And despite returning to training, the clash will also come too soon for Wilshire and Rosicky. Although Cech may return in goal.
With a game in hand a win for Arsenal would keep alive waning title ambition and briefly silence Wenger’s critics. A win for Watford would allow them to focus their attentions on a looming FA Cup semi-final.