The door is still open for a top four finish, and next up on our challenge list is Watford – away from home.
Yep, if this game was at The Emirates we could go into it looking forward to seeing our boys at their best, putting together a display full of vigour and 90 minutes of football on the front foot.
Instead, we know that because this game is away from home, chances are we could struggle, knowing how disparate our home and away form really is.
Then there is the small matter of our opponent, who is well in the hunt for a seventh placed finish that would guarantee a European spot.
Unai Emery will be glad matters are still in our hands, but he will be painfully aware that his methods seem to fall flat when not at The Emirates. This is a continuation of last season, and one that needs to be remedied sooner rather than later.
A trip to Vicarage Road would normally hold no fears, but not only have we slipped, but the Hornets under Javi Gracia are a different prospect, and not only are they challenging for Europe, but they are also looking forward to a first FA Cup final for quite some time.
The stage is set for quite the battle, and this match could give us a real watertest in regards to our top4 hopes.
Lucas Torreira is fit and raring to go after his recent suspension, and the Uruguayan could hold the key to a stiffer midfield than the one which limped so badly against Everton last weekend.
That could mean a return to the bench for Matteo Guendouzi, unless Unai Emery opts for a three man midfield, with flavour of the month Aaron Ramsey sure to start.
Will Emery go for something different? He chose to keep one of our star strikers on the bench and keep it safe against the Toffees, and it panned out badly. The facts are simple, when Laca, Auba, Ozil and Rambo all play, we have never lost. It may be a tad attack-heavy, but it works wonders.
Not away from home so far though, but maybe that’s because Emery chooses a different style when we take it on the road. He hasn’t found the right balance yet, but he will have to do without Sokratis, who picked up his tenth yellow card last week and is suspended.
Player to Watch
The Spaniard is a bit of an enigma, and can blow hot or cold, but his Semi-Final display showed he can turn a game on a sixpence should he wish, and his enigmatic play could cause us nightmares. With Troy Deeney most likely giving our centre backs headaches, it will be up to our full backs to concentrate on their defensive duties and close this guy down.
How This Could Go
Two away wins from the last twelve. That is an abysmal stat, and Watford will know this going into it. They are in fine form, but they haven’t kept a clean sheet in a while, and we can harness that fact.
They are weak at the back, but that won’t matter if we turn up like we did against Everton, where we failed to muster anything worthwhile at Jordan Pickford.
Lucas Torreira is a huge key for us. If he can help batten down the hatches for our defence, then that leaves the likes of Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and our full backs to show a bit more impetus and be less wary of counters.
This match really is on a knife edge, but with a Wembley showpiece coming up on the horizon for the Hornets, I would expect them to have on eye on that. They will want to avoid injury, and that may rob them of a few percent.
If we turn up, we can take the points – but it will take a lot more than we have shown of late away from home.
It’s high time we started to erase that away record.
Predicted Lineup – Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal