- Updates from the 4pm BST kick-off at the Emirates Stadium
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The support and assistance offered by Watford to staff at neighbouring Watford General as well as other West Herts hospitals during lockdown was impressive, and even if events on the pitch this season haven’t exactly been encouraging the club’s continued community focus does reflect well on their ownership, and on their chairman, Scott Duxbury. Hopefully they will continue to look like safe hands in another year or two.
Our neighbours @WatfordFC have been with us every step of our COVID journey, so in true #TeamWestHerts sprit, we are sending them all the encouragement and support we can for today’s match…. We will be cheering as LOUD as we can……COME ON YOU ‘ORNS! #watfordfc #ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/ZWuVHS3kwu
The line-ups in today’s two other relegation-related games:
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Branthwaite, Keane, Digne, Walcott, Andre Gomes, Davies, Sigurdsson, Kean, Richarlison. Subs: Baines, Calvert-Lewin, Sidibe, Bernard, Stekelenburg, Virginia, Baningime, Gordon, Simms.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Smith, Steve Cook, Kelly, Rico, Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, King, Callum Wilson, Solanke. Subs: Boruc, Ake, Danjuma, Lewis Cook, Stacey, Stanislas,
Harry Wilson, Billing, Surridge.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
“Today is more than three points,” says Abdoulaye Doucoure, “it’s the game of our lives.” Carpe the bloody diem, lads.
I’m just not sure that form can be turned on like a tap, from dry to gushing, and even if it can why there should be any rational expectation that a team that has so miserably failed to do so for months can suddenly manage it today. But still, where there’s life there’s hope.
Massive game for @WatfordFC today. Good luck to the watford lads it can be done
So Arsenal, with Aston Villa and Watford to play within the space of five days, make six changes for the Villa game, lose it miserably, then Mikel Arteta insists that because “we have to respect that there are a few teams in the relegation battle and we are responsible for that as well” and goes back as close as possible to the full-strength side that started last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City for the game against Watford. He’s got his own issues to worry about, and there’s no reason why he should give two hoots about Watford or anyone else, but if he was motivated at all by genuine respect for the teams in the relegation battle he should have started this game with the same players that lined up at Villa Park, surely?
Arsenal: Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Willock, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Papastathopoulos, Torreira, Cedric, Nelson, Nketiah, Kolasinac, Macey, Smith, Saka.
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Doucoure, Hughes, Sarr, Pereyra, Welbeck, Deeney. Subs: Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Quina, Pussetto.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Five changes from midweek…
➡️ Maitland-Niles, Tierney, Xhaka, Willock, Pepe
⬅️ Cedric, Kolasinac, Torreira, Saka, Nketiah#ARSWAT
Two changes for the Hornets…
In 2015 Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich were promoted together to the Premier League. Today they will go down together – unless, that is, we have ourselves some last-day fun.