English Premiership

Hornets could sting Arsenal at Emirates

2018-03-11 10:50
Arsene Wenger (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - A rare mood of optimism seems to have settled over Arsenal's Emirates Stadium after last Thursday’s 2-0 away win over AC Milan in their Europa League last-16 first leg tie after four consecutive defeats.

It is likely to be challenged by a Watford side who have rediscovered their impetus under manager Javi Gracia. With three victories in their past four matches, including a 4-1 win over Chelsea in early February, the Hornets could fancy an upset in today’s English Premier League (EPL) clash.

That is not to say Arsenal’s positivity is not entirely without justification. Their performance against Milan was gritty and determined, and was a far cry from a number of disastrous displays, including two demoralising back-to-back defeats to Manchester City.

The proven quality and class of Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rekindled hope. Whether they were the kind of players the Gunners needed in the last transfer window is a different issue.

In the same sense, the retention of Mesut Özil on a new contract until 2021 was presented as a major coup, however, it might be asked why no other club was willing to meet the wage demands of the mercurial German, who would have been available on a free transfer at the end of 2017/18.

The Londoners are still what they have been for years under manager Arsène Wenger – no more physically robust or likely to mount a serious challenge for major honours.

While they produce the occasional dazzling showing or the rarer gutsy display as against AC Milan, there remains a soft underbelly that Watford could look to exploit. The visitors from Hertfordshire have won two of their past three games at Emirates Stadium.

Today’s other EPL game: Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur

Bournemouth are seven points away from reaching the widely accepted safety mark of 40 points on the log. They will be up for the fight against a Tottenham side still hurting after crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Juventus midweek.

The Cherries are arguably two wins and a draw away from escaping any fear of relegation to the Championship. Manager Eddie Howe has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround after his side spent December in the drop zone.

Meanwhile, the Lilywhites have not yet secured a top-four spot, despite enjoying a five-point advantage in fourth place ahead of Chelsea in fifth.

A victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men would go a long way towards overcoming the disappointment of the heartbreaking loss to Bianconeri and could ensure a top-four finish.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 31 March 2018
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 13:30
West Ham United v Southampton, London Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 16:00
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town, St. James' Park 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Burnley, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v AFC Bournemouth, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Everton v Manchester City, Goodison Park 18:30
Sunday, 01 April 2018
Arsenal v Stoke City, Emirates Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Saturday, 07 April 2018
Everton v Liverpool, Goodison Park 13:30
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Bet365 Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Newcastle United, King Power Stadium 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Huddersfield Town, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Burnley, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Manchester City v Manchester United, Etihad Stadium 18:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.