Arsenal visit the Hornets as we are back from the International break and Unai Emery will be up for a tricky fixture at Vicarage Road as the hosts welcome Quique Sánchez Flores into his second managerial spell at Hertfordshire based club.
Considering the history of not only this fixture per se but also about the times these men have faced one another, which has always been about drama, passion, charisma and off all the statistical manoeuvre.
This time out, Unai has a strong squad with big names ofcourse and will be expected to take three points off the clash rather comfortably.
But what makes things tricky is, despite not having big names like Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette in his ranks – Sánchez Flores has lethal talent upfront in likes of Troy Deeney, Andy Gray, Gerard Deulofeu and Arsenal bound Danny Welbeck – who all can prove a bit tricky to defend.
Talking about tricky, Arsenal and Watford have managed to bring in couple of new faces in Nicolas Pepe and Ismaila Sarr, who can cause all sort of problems with their pace and skills. They both took Ligue 1 by storm in the last couple of years – its time they show that in England.
Sarr was linked with a move to Arsenal high time, though nothing materialized – the name dose not need introduction to Gunners faithful, who would not only know how deadly he can be but also know all sorts of problems he can cause cutting in from the right. Yes, he was Ousmane Dembele’s back-up back when Arsenal were linked with a move for Frenchman (But Nicolas Pepe is alot better than getting Dembele).
Ismaila is likened to Liverpool star Sadio Mane, not only because of similar playing style but also due to similar journey Mane had coming up the ranks.
Watford signed the winger on transfer deadline day from Rennes for a club-record fee which is believed to be in region of £30 million – however it did raise some eyebrows. Mane, in a recent interview, admitted being jealous of Watford for having Ismaila Sarr, Yep that is the measure of abilities we are talking about here.
With Nacho Monreal on his way to Real Sociedad and Kieran Tierney still on the sidelines – Arsenal supporters go into the fixture being clear about Sead Kolasinac’s job on the night. Talking about physical side of the game, the Bosnian is far too ahead of Sarr and will surely cause problems for Sarr to get going and set his foot into the Premiership.
Although, from what we know, Sead adores the offensive side and when in possession would drive forward leaving his defensive duties void although THAT would be perfect opportunity for Sarr to capitalize and get off better.
When you start the summer with £40 million in your budget books and end up with six arrivals including one record breaking £72 million arrival of one of the most highly rated prospect, who was wanted by much of European big dogs – You have to be over the moon, Yep! Thats where Arsenal supporters are right now.
Nicolas Pepe did make his full debut against Liverpool which was followed by an assist in his first North London Derby – he has had a tough start to his life in London. Despite looking good with ball at his feet, many have highlighted the lack of end product and that had been one of the talk around the town during the recently concluded international break.
Although, Nico did come back to London Colney cutting short his spell with Ivory Coast to concentrate on getting himself fit to meet the needs of Premier League and making sure he shows Gooners exactly what he is all about.
And starting that against Watford will be the perfect…
Pepe will probably be facing Jose Holebas at Vicarage (unless Flores decides to do some tweaks), and as lethal Holebas is on the offensive side – he does have issues on the defensive ones and Nicolas will probably be looking to exploit them in order to announce himself in England’s first division.
Arsenal then face not-so-tough schedule as they host Aston Villa before travelling to Trafford – followed by Sheffield, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester City. What am I trying to convey? Well, Arsenal have series of fixtures where Pepe might prove crucial and its important for him to get that lift off against Watford or as soon as possible.
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