FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Watford

Competition: FA Cup: Quarter-Final – Arsenal vs. Watford

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, March 13 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 1/2 – Draw 100/30 – Watford 5/1

Match Preview

FA Cup holders Arsenal host Watford at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they continue the defence of their title by seeking a return to Wembley for the third successive season.

The Gunners booked their place in this quarter-final tie after a comprehensive display in the fifth round replay away at Hull City in midweek as they thrashed the Championship outfit 4-0.

Arsene Wenger’s side consequently ended a run of five straight games without a win in all competitions, which included a goalless draw with Hull at home that forced the replay.

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Arsenal came from 2-1 behind to snatch a draw in the North London derby with Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Premier League last weekend, despite only having ten men, so they’ll be hoping they’ve turned a corner, following that poor run of results.

Watford edged a 1-0 victory at home to Leeds in the FA Cup fifth round three weeks ago, but haven’t managed a win in any of their three Premier League games since then, failing to score in any of them.

A goalless draw with Bournemouth and 1-0 defeats to Manchester United and Leiecester are a minor blip in what has otherwise been an excellent season for the Hornets.

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Quique Sanchez Flores has steered his side to within three points of the 40-point mark, which is regarded as the amount required to guarantee Premier League safety, meaning they can focus on this tie without being concerned over a relegation battle.

The last meeting between these two sides saw Arsenal run out as comfortable 3-0 winners in a Premier League clash at Vicarage Road back in October.

Team News

Arsenal defenders Per Mertesacker (head) and Gabriel (muscular) both went off injured in midweek but should be passed fit to play. Aaron Ramsey (muscular) also limped off and may not be risked. Laurent Koscielny (calf) is almost back to full fitness but Sunday’s game could come too soon. Petr Cech (calf), Santi Cazorla (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Carl Jenkinson (knee) all remain out.

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Watford defenders Miguel Britos (hamstring), Craig Cathcart (knock) and Joel Ekstrand (fitness) are all doubts for this one, while midfielder Jurado (calf) is also yet to recover from injury.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: L/L/L/D/W

Watford’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: Arsenal haven’t lost to Watford since April 1988 – the Gunners have since won all six meetings between the two sides, scoring 16 and conceding five goals in the process.

Key Player: Joel Campbell – The Costa Rican was instrumental in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Hull in midweek, so he’ll be hoping he’s done enough to earn a starting berth for this quarter-final tie. You get the feeling that Campbell could have a big future with the Gunners and he could be the difference on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Watford – This should be a very tight game. Quique Sanchez Flores has drilled his Watford team to be very organised defensively, so it won’t be easy for the Gunners to break them down and they’ve also got an offensive threat in Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. However, Arsenal’s win over Hull will have given them a big boost and they’ll be desperate to keep their hopes alive of becoming the first team to win three successive FA Cup’s since 1886.

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International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Costa Rica

Competition: International Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Tuesday, October 13 – 23:30 BST (18:30 ET)

Match Odds: USA 4/5 – Draw 9/4 – Costa Rica 11/4 

Match Preview

Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT will want to quickly forget the heartbreaking loss on Saturday with a win when they host Costa Rica on Tuesday night in an international friendly.

The USMNT lost out on the chance of playing at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia with the loss to Mexico on Saturday as they went down 3-2 in extra time.

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That loss followed the the disappointing Gold Cup run on home soil in the summer in what will go down as a year to forget for the US national team. And they will not be too confident of turning things around instantly here, after only winning twice in their last eight against Costa Rica.

For those that remember, England were knocked out of the World Cup in 2014 at the expense of Costa Rica so the nation possesses a great team. However, they have also endured a difficult 2015.

Costa Rican have won just once this year, coming in a 1-0 win over Uruguay in September but they will see Tuesday’s game as a good chance to seal another victory over the USMNT.

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Key Points

USA’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

Costa Rica’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: The USA have never beaten Costa Rica in an international friendly (P3 – D1 – L2)

Key Player: Joel Campbell – Everyone that saw Costa Rica at the World Cup should know how much of a talent Campbell is and it still baffles many as to how Arsene Wenger leaves him on the bench all the time at Arsenal.

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Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Costa Rica – Hopefully this meeting will be more than just another game as both sides have a point to prove as CONCACAF rivals. Both have proved themselves as solid sides over the past few years and this will be a good test for both. This should be an advert for how good football has become in North and Central America and an entertaining affair is expected.