Arsenal v Watford Tips: Back Pepe to find some joy against an abysmal Watford defence
The final day of the 2019/20 Premier League season is finally here and for most Watford fans this is the final nail in the proverbial relegation coffin. The Hornets need to better Aston Villa’s result at West Ham or lose by two goals less than Villa and hope Bournemouth don’t win at Everton. After Villa’s vital win against Arsenal on Tuesday to go level with the Hertfordshire side on points and one goal better off, the bookies have given Watford just a 32% chance of survival.
Meanwhile Arsenal are set for their lowest league position in 25 years and can only finish as high as eighth if they win and Burnley and Sheffield United fail to do so. They have however got an FA Cup final to look forward to next week but in Arteta’s latest press conference he has said:
“I want to play as strong a team as I can. A strong side doesn’t mean that players who have played less will not participate. For me, it’s more about how we approach the game and how we go into that game to win.”
This fixture has plenty of history with Arsenal winning six out of the ten games since Watford’s promotion in 2015, however the Hornets have won twice at The Emirates in that time, including dumping Arsenal out of the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2016. Troy Deeney and his team are going to have to show some serious ‘cojones’ if they are to save their terrible season and avoid relegation which could have huge financial repercussions for the club and the players.
After his Maldini-esque performance against City at Wembley, The Gunners will be without Mustafi along with long-term sidelined players Martinelli, Marí, Leno and Chambers. Watford will still be without Capoue and star man Deulofeu, whose injury could be a big part of their relegation should they go down on Sunday.
This unpredictable team news has made picking out our three tips for this game a hard task but as always we’re going to make informed decisions as to who will start, follow the stats and trends and analyse where the value lies. Sky are showing a massive eight games on Sunday and you can watch this one specifically on Sky Sports Premier League at 4pm.
Apart from a horror-show against Southampton six games ago, Dawson has been one of Watford’s better performers in a dismal restart. Remarkably no Watford player has had more shots on target during the restart, including Deeney who has had two penalties.
He’s also had the joint-most goals since the league’s resumption and the centre-half aerial threat seems one of their key weapons at set-pieces. Watford’s confidence is at rock-bottom and the tap for any free-flowing football has been firmly switched off, so targeting Arsenal’s previously flimsy defence could be their main route to goal. So our first bet will be for Dawson to just have one shot on target which is priced at 8/5 with Betfair, £10 returns £28.75.
Despite what you might see on social media, I think Pepe has had a decent first season in England with 18 goal involvements, which is better than Alli, Maddison and Moura. We’re confident he starts on Sunday after coming off from the bench at Villa Park and will be up against a marauding Femenia who Gary Neville said is “not a defender.” He’s taken penalties when Aubameyang’s not played and should be presented free-kick opportunities against a clumsy and ageing defence.
I’m doubling this up with the man we’ve already mentioned, Dawson to be carded. He’s already been booked five times this season and has previously struggled against pace when he’s come up against Wolves’ Troare and Chelsea’s Pulisic where he was booked after fouling both earlier this season. Looking at the booking market’s Dawson is priced at a generous 12/5, a value selection which makes this double a delicious 11/1.
Saka and Sarr both to have a shot on target and Kolasinac and Doucoure to be carded 80/1 (Paddy Power)
Now for a big boy to get your juices flowing, I’m backing this 80/1 longshot featuring a Saka and Sarr shot on target and both Kolasinac and Doucoure to be carded. Bukayo Saka has had his breakthrough season being involved in 15 goals which is incredible numbers for an 18-year-old.
I think he starts this one and after being handed the number 7 shirt will be high on confidence, whether he’s at left full-back or one of the attacking three, I think he’ll find himself in a dangerous position to find the target.
Another breakthrough star this season is Ismaila Sarr, who despite his team's poor showing has been by far Watford’s best and most important player. He’s evens to have a shot on target which I think is great value, and I fancy him to find space behind Arsenal’s full backs which could lead to shooting positions.
Onto the cards and I’m starting off with Kolasinac who I expect will start on the left off Arsenal’s back three to replace Mustafi. He’ll be up against Sarr’s pace who has already had three booked victims since the restart, and I fancy him to get back-to-back yellows and his eighth of the season on Sunday.
Finishing off the 80/1 Same Game Multi is Doucoure who will be on for his 10th caution of the season. Priced at 11/5 I always think it’s a great bet and I think the Frenchman’s temperament will boil over against better players to hopefully land this bad boy and finish the season off in style.
There are 10 games on at the same time and it is the final day of the Premier League so please only bet what you can afford and gamble responsibly!