Arsenal are chasing a third win on the spin when they make the short trip to Vicarage Road.

The Gunners are off the pace in the title race following a stuttering start to the season but back-to-back wins against West Brom and Brighton have fired them back into the mix.

Watford are just a point behind the Gunners in the table and will leapfrog Arsene Wenger’s side with victory.

Don’t miss a kick and follow all the drama in our live minute-by-minute coverage below.

Watford XI: Gomes, Kabasele, Mariappa, Britos, Femenía, Doucouré, Cleverley, Holebas, Pereyra, Gray, Richarlison. Subs: Karnezis, Wagué, Janmaat, Watson, Capoue, Carrillo, Deeney.

Arsenal XI: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Welbeck, Iwobi, Lacazette. Subs: Ospina, Holding, Coquelin, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud.

It’s been a disappointing game for Watford so far, as they’re struggling to find much joy inside the final third of the pitch due to slow and lacklustre play. Arsenal, on the other hand, have broken at speed when they’ve had the opportunity to do so, with Bellerin looking particularly dangerous out wide. As a results, it’s they who head into the half-time break with a well-deserved lead, and it’s one the hosts may struggle to cancel out if they don’t soon improve.


45+3 minsminute by minute

Xhaka eventually steps up and curls a cross into the middle of the box, but it’s poorly hit by the midfielder and the ball is easily headed away from danger by Christian Kabasele.

45+2 minsminute by minute

Lacazette is clumsily caught by Mariappa as he tries to skip past the defender, resulting in a free-kick for Arsenal in a dangerous position 25 yards away from the Watford goal. The Frenchman looks to be in quite a bit of pain after landing awkwardly, and he’ll have to make his way off the pitch to receive further medical treatment.


HT Arsenal lead 1-0

Neil Swarbrick blows his whistle and that’s it for the first 45.

Arsenal lead by a goal to nil, thanks to Mertesacker’s header.

The game hasn’t been much of a spectacle, but Arsenal probably just deserving of the advantage.

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

44 minsminute by minute

Xhaka is able to get another shot away after being left in space by the Watford midfielders, but, once again, it’s comfortably saved by Gomes and fails to get the better of the Brazilian at the near post.

45 minsminute by minute

The fourth official has indicated that there will be three minutes of added time.

43 minsminute by minute

And now Bellerin goes close! Arsenal keep pushing forward and do well to carve out another chance on goal, but this time it’s Bellerin who sends his effort just wide of the far post. They’re putting Watford under plenty of pressure whenever they’re penetrating the final third of the pitch.

45 minsSTATS

Overall Possession Ratio


42 minsminute by minute

Thumping strike by Xhaka! The Switzerland international is left in a pocket of space 25 yards away from goal and manages to get a shot away, but it’s well saved by Gomes and pushed wide of the goal.

41 minsminute by minute

Watford quickly push forward from the restart as they try to find an immediate way back into the game, but Richarlison can’t make decent contact with the ball once again and the ball ends up bouncing straight into the hands of Petr Cech.

38 minsminute by minute

Richarlison makes a good run into the Arsenal box and manages to latch onto a chipped pass forward from Cleverley, but he can’t make decent contact with the ball and sends his attempted headed effort well wide of the goal.

39 minsminute by minute

GOAL! Mertesacker heads Arsenal in front! The visitors win themselves a corner after Iwobi puts Holebas under pressure and forces the Greek defender into poking the ball behind. It’s whipped in by Xhaka and picks out Mertesacker, who rises high and marks his return to the starting line-up with a bullet header. That’s his first league goal since December 2013!

39 minsminute by minute

Xhaka’s ball into the middle of the box was brilliantly placed and perfectly picked out Mertesacker, but Watford should have done much better to deal with the big German, who got the better of Cleverley far too easily.


GOAL! Mertesacker gives Arsenal the lead!

We have ourselves a breakthrough!

Mertesacker, making his first start in the Premier League for the Gunners for 18 months, gets the goal.

It’s a simple, powerful header from a corner. Superb stuff.

36 minsminute by minute

Arsenal come back once again, with Iwobi finding plenty of space deep down the right wing. He gets the better of his marker and cuts onto his left foot before fizzing a cross-cum-shot towards goal, where it’s easily cut out by Gomes.

34 minsminute by minute

Great interception by Holebas! Lacazette somehow manages to muscle his way into the left-hand side of the Watford penalty area before chipping a pass over to Welbeck, who tries to shoot but loses out to an excellent clearance from Holebas.

33 minsminute by minute

A heavy touch from Mertesacker knocks the ball out for a throw-oin midway inside the Arsenal half of the pitch. It’s sent short and eventually worked up to Gray, who tries to tee up Pereyra on the edge of the penalty area but can’t quite pick out the Uruguayan.

Somehow, this game is almost more dull than the Liverpool vs Manchester United game earlier.

Not much to report on of note.

Looks like this could be decided by just the one goal.

Andre Gray of Watford and Nacho Monreal of Arsenal
Andre Gray of Watford and Nacho Monreal of Arsenal (Image: Getty Images)

31 minsminute by minute

After a couple of minutes on the back foot, Arsenal are able to push forward on a patient attacking move. Lacazette and Iwobi link up nicely before Welbeck is set up inside the penalty area, but Mariappa is there to dispossess the forward with a great piece of defending.

32 minsSTATS

Overall Possession Ratio


29 minsminute by minute

Thumping strike by Mohamed Elneny! The Egyptian receives the ball in a pocket of space 25 yards away from goal and quickly shoots, and his effort is a great one that flies just a yard or so over the top of the crossbar.

28 minsminute by minute

Vital tackle by Bellerin! Richarlison embarks on an excellent run as he flies forward on a quick counter-attack out wide. He easily gets the better of Koscielny as he makes his way into the box, but Bellerin does really well to dart back and dispossess the Brazilian with a brilliantly timed sliding tackle.

26 minsminute by minute

Iwobi fires a long pass down the right wing and into the path of Bellerin, who rushes towards the ball just outside of the Arsenal penalty area but loses out to Heurelho Gomes, who darts out of the box to deal with the danger.

Still tough to separate the two sides here.

Watford looking reasonably intent on attacking.

Richarlison looking the most lively player on the pitch.

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

24 minsminute by minute

Richarlison goes close! Another excellent cross penetrates the Arsenal box and causes all sorts of problems, but Richarlison can’t quite make contact with the ball in front of goal and the visitors hold on once again.

22 minsminute by minute

Pereyra spins round his marker over on the right wing before cutting inside on a great run. He then tries to tee up Gray with a through-ball towards the penalty area, but it’s slightly underhit and easily dealt with by the visitors.

20 minsminute by minute

Holebas sends a dangerous cross into the Arsenal penalty area that manages to pick out Tom Cleverley on the edge of the box, where the midfielder is quickly put under pressure and is forced into playing the ball all the way back to the halfway line.

18 minsminute by minute

Richarlison and Jose Holebas link up well over on the left flank, setting up the latter to poke a pass into the path of Abdoulaye Doucoure. The midfielder cuts inside and gets the better of Bellerin before firing a fierce cross into the box, where Pereyra gets a head on the ball but can’t send his effort towards goal.

A huge banner was unveiled by the Watford fans ahead of kick-off.

It covered the entire stand behind the net.

Very impressive!

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