Watford vs Arsenal: Pepe, Ceballos and Nelson to Start, Ozil Dropped in 4-2-3-1

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Alexandre Lacazette (ankle) has been ruled out until October, so Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be back in a central role for the trip to Watford.

The Gabon international could be paired in a front two with Nicolas Pepe should Unai Emery revisit the 4-4-2 diamond that he used against Liverpool but may show more attacking ambition against a Watford side that are without a clean sheet in 16 league matches, albeit now playing under a new manager.

Reiss Nelson could be primed for recall on the left flank, then, should Emery switch back to a 4-2-3-1.

Mesut Ozil, Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos are all options in the number ten role, although the latter two are options further back in midfield too.

Emery passed Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka fit in his press conference on Friday but the Switzerland international, a regular under his current manager when fully fit, is under more scrutiny than ever after his display in the north London derby.

Matteo Guendouzi is an ever-present in central midfield this season and is arguably a first choice in the engine room now, particularly after his fine display against Spurs.

The back four looks set to be unchanged with Kieran Tierney (groin), Dinos Mavropanos (groin), Hector Bellerin (knee) and Rob Holding (knee) – who are all back in training – needing more minutes with the under-23s before being considered for a first-team return.

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