Watford vs Arsenal: Pepe, Ceballos & Nelson Start in Strong 4-2-3-1 Formation

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Arsenal face Watford in their first Premier League fixture after the international break, travelling to Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Arsenal are coming off the back of a couple of games against big-six opposition in Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, and after a defeat and a draw, they’ll want to get back to winning ways against Watford.

Watford have had a terrible start to the season, but they’ve got the new manager bounce on their side after rehiring Quique Sanchez Flores over the break.

The match is at 16:30 BST on Sunday, September 15th at Vicarage Road, and it will be televised in the UK on Sky Sports.

Let’s have a look at our predicted XI for the match.

Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1)


Bernd Leno will once again retain his place, with Emi Martinez expected to get a game against Frankfurt the following Thursday.


Rob Holding is available again, whilst Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all playing a part in first-team training. This weekend is probably too soon for all four of them though, with Holding likely to use the Europa League and League Cup to ease himself back.

Sead Kolasinac is the only real option at left-back with Tierney out, whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles is similarly the only alternative to Bellerin.

As for the centre-backs, David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos appear to be the favoured partnership, despite Calum Chambers starting the only match Arsenal have actually kept a clean sheet in this season.


Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka are both minor doubts after the international break, particularly Torreira after he missed Uruguay’s second match with muscular discomfort. Xhaka seems the more likely to start, but if they’re both out, Joe Willock can fill in.

Matteo Guendouzi received a call-up for France but didn’t feature, so he’s fit and raring to do, whilst Dani Ceballos put in a starring performance in Spain’s first game before sitting on the bench for the second, so he’s also ready to go.

Mesut Özil is yet to return to the team after his problems with injury and off-field safety concerns. It seems likely his first competitive appearance of the season will be from the bench, rather than immediately being thrown in from the start.


The bad news is that Alexandre Lacazette is out of this match, and the rest of September by the looks of things. Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are both available and should start.

The third spot is open for one of the many young left-wingers at the club. Reiss Nelson is the obvious choice, and most likely to start on this occasion. There’s also Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to fill spaces.

Tyreece John-Jules may well find himself on the bench, as Arsenal are lacking backup strikers right now.

Full Team

Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ceballos, Nelson; Aubameyang.