Arsenal know that three points at Vicarage Road today could be enough to move them into the top four ahead of the Manchester derby later this afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s men take are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches and have won three in a row putting them within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United with three games in hand.
Of the four teams fighting to make it into the Champions League spots, the Gunners seem to have built up the best momentum by having a fairly settled squad and grinding out results when they haven’t played well. Emile Smith Rowe is expected to return to the squad for today’s match against Watford – after sitting out Thursday’s win against Wolves through illness – and his inclusion of him only strengthens Arteta’s side.
In contrast Watford are fighting to get themselves out of the relegation zone. They head into the game one place off the bottom of the table but only three points from safety. They’ll take heart from a well-fought goalless draw against Manchester United last time out and will hope to repeat performance today.
Follow the live Premier League action of Arsenal versus Watford below:
Man City vs Man Utd: Ronaldo to miss Manchester derby
Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly been ruled out of Sunday’s Manchester derby through injury with Edinson Cavani is also out of the match-day squad for the game at the Etihad Stadium.
That leaves interim United manager Ralf Rangnick with only Marcus Rashford as a recognized centre-forward, with attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes also an option as false nine.
Ronaldo is Manchester United’s top scorer this season with 15 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions although the 37-year-old has only scored one of those goals in 2022 – a shot from distance in the 2-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion on February 15.
Michael Jones6 March 2022 12:41
Watford vs Arsenal: Injuries and absentees
Ismaila Sarr is absent from today’s fixture with Arsenal after picking up a hamstring injury in Watford’s goalless draw with Manchester United but Kiko Femenia could return after missing the match at Old Trafford with a slight knock.
William Troost-Ekong will also miss out due to a muscle strain and defender Nicolas Nkoulou is nearing a return to full training having been sidelined since November.
Arsenal welcome back Emile Smith Rowe, who sat out the win versus Wolves through illness but Takehiro Tomiyasu remains a doubt because of the calf injury that ruled him out of the Gunners’ last game.
Michael Jones6 March 2022 12:37
Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of today’s Premier League action. There are two big games to cover as Arsenal travel to Watford with the hopes of ending the day in the top four before Manchester City host rivals Manchester United in the late kick off.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have won their last three consecutive league matches and head to Vicarage Road in top form knowing that three points will be enough to lift them above Manchester United and into the top four – at least until the conclusion of the Manchester derby later on.
Watford, meanwhile, sit just one place above Norwich at the bottom of the table but are only three points behind 17th placed Everton – although they have a significantly worse goal difference. Victory against the Gunners wouldn’t be enough to take them out of the relegation zone this week but it would be a huge step towards safety ahead of their trip to Wolves on Thursday night.
Michael Jones6 March 2022 11:39