Arsenal looking to beat United and Chelsea to £20m Prem striker – report

Arsenal are looking to bolster their attack this summer and are hoping to lure Watford striker Odion Ighalo to the Emirates if they can beat off competition from Premier League rivals.

Arsene Wenger is reportedly looking to bolster his frontline in the coming months but does not necessarily want to make a ‘superstar’ signing, although Ighalo could cost up to £20 million, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 26-year-old Nigerian striker has been a real success following Watford’s return to the top flight, scoring 14 goals in a fine campaign so far.

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That form has turned heads across Europe, with reports suggesting Manchester United, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are also keeping tabs on the powerful frontman.

Arsenal currently have three options in attack, with Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud all able to lead the Gunners’ attack.

Giroud is currently Wenger’s first-choice but Ighalo has netted two more league goals than the Frenchman this term and could be a surprisingly good addition to the Arsenal squad.

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo's key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo’s key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

As the table above shows, Ighalo has registered more shots than Giroud, while also boasting a better strike conversion rate this season.

The Frenchman may have one more assist, but it’s the Watford star who has made more key passes than his fellow Premier League attacker, while also proving to be better when passing to teammates.

Ighalo has four years left on his current Watford contract but the Hornets would reportedly be willing to accept an offer of around £20 million this summer.

Would Odion Ighalo be a good signing for Arsenal?

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Watford FC

Venue: Liberty Stadium – Date: Monday, January 18th – 20:00 GMT (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea City 6/4 – Draw 21/10 – Watford 2/1

Match Preview

Swansea City host Watford in this week’s Monday night fixture in the Premier League, with both teams looking to get back to winning ways after midweek defeats.

With just one win since October, Swansea have plummeted down to 17th position and are just one point above the relegation zone following their 4-2 defeat at home to relegation rivals Sunderland  on Wednesday.

That result really hasn’t helped matters for the struggling Swans, as they suffered their fourth loss at home and tenth defeat this season.

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The one positive they can take away from the defeat to Sunderland is that they managed to score more than one goal in a match in the Premier League for the first time since a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in November.

They will be looking to seal all three points here against stiff opposition in Watford before they embark on consecutive away games to Everton and West Brom in the next two weeks.

Watford are on a run of three defeats in a row in the league, and with no win in four matches, they have slipped down to tenth place after a fantastic run during December.

A 2-0 defeat on the road to Southampton on Wednesday saw them fail to score for the first time since October. They were poor in that game and didn’t really look like the attacking side we have seen so often this season.

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The slump has come after a remarkable December for the Hornets. They picked up 10 points from a possible 15 last month, earning manager Quique Sanchez Flores the Manager of the Month award for December.

Odion Ighalo scooped the Player of the Month award and he will now need to reignite his impressive impressive partnership with Troy Deeney as they look to hurt a vulnerable Swansea defence to keep them on course for the top ten finish they will desperately want to attain.

The reverse fixture at Vicarage Road saw Watford win 1-0 thanks to an Odion Ighalo strike back in September. This will be the first game between the two in Wales since the pair played out a 1-1 draw during their Championship campaign in 2011.

Team News

Swansea City have no injuries to report, but Kyle Naughton looks set to miss out through suspension after picking up a red card against Sunderland that many perceived as harsh.

Watford have no fresh injury concerns. Lloyd Doyley is still sidelined with a neck injury, while Joel Ekstrand is also missing with an ACL injury. Nathan Ake is back from suspension and might return to the starting lineup.

Key Points 

Swansea’s last five: D/W/D/L/L

Watford’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: The last time the two teams played out a 0-0 draw was back in 1921, so expect goals in this one.

Key Player: Andre Ayew – The Ghanaian winger got amongst the goals against Sunderland with his seventh of the season and his fifth at the Liberty Stadium. He will need to be at his best on Monday night if Swansea are to get out of this horrid run of form.

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Score Prediction 

Swansea City 1-1 Watford – A draw seems the most likely outcome, with both teams likely to get on the scoresheet. A win for either side will be huge, more so for Swansea, but Watford are solid at the back and don’t concede often. Score draw.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Watford

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, December 26 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Watford 13/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Watford to Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day in the Premier League, a team they know have the ability to cause them problems in this troublesome time for the club.

The home side picked up a much needed three points last weekend against Sunderland but the same problems continued to show, as they conceded a number of good opportunities to the away side.

The atmosphere surrounding the club and in the stadium is poisonous at the moment, the best thing Chelsea fans can do is get behind the team here and they will be hoping for a win in Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge in his second spell at the club.

The fans are clearly unhappy with Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack José Mourinho and vented their frustration during last weekends win. Every game is a must win for Chelsea at the moment, but this is going to be a tough task.

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Watford will come to Stamford Bridge full of confidence. Their impressive 3-0 win over Liverpool last weekend is nothing more than they deserve.

The strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo is proving to be too much to handle for most clubs and they will look to get a Chelsea defence with no confidence.

Watford have won their last four games on the bounce and will be very satisfied with their position of seventh in the Premier League.

This could be a historic result for the Hornets and we expect them to maintain their professional outlook to the game despite how well they have been performing of late.

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Team News

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao remain the only notable players who could miss out.

Watford will be without Nathan Ake, who is unavailable for selection against his parent club, Sebastian Prodl is a doubt, while Joel Ekstrand, Tommy Hoban and Rene Gilmartin all look set to miss out.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Watford’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Form – Watford have won their last four on the bounce including the destruction of Liverpool last weekend, they’ll be up for this one.

Key Player: Odion Ighalo – Watford’s goal machine has already netted 12 this season and will be looking to cause trouble to the shaky Chelsea defence.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Watford – Given Chelsea’s struggles a draw is a result they couldn’t have too many complaints about against heading into this tie against an inform Watford side full of confidence. The fans will expect a win and will certainly be on top of their under-performing stars once again.