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If not Sanchez, then Arsenal can trust Walcott to perform against Watford

16 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
If not Sanchez, then Arsenal can trust Walcott to perform against Watford

Victory at Vicarage Road would be the Gunners' third in succession and position them for a genuine - and long-overdue - title challenge

The resentment Arsene Wenger feels when Alexis Sanchez represents the Chilean national team is baffling.

Long-haul flights to a slew of faraway nations – and the inevitable late return – is one of the main considerations when signing internationals from South America.

Sanchez, of course, is worth it, while the determination he has to play for his country is an intrinsic part of the character that makes him Arsenal’s – and perhaps the Premier League’s – best player.

It is not like Wenger is reluctant to pick him at every available opportunity, either, having done so 62 times since the forward joined the club 15 months ago.

That is a lot of football for someone who also featured in last year’s World Cup and this summer’s Copa America.

But Sanchez is durable and, despite the Gunners manager’s inference that he might not face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday night, it would be surprising if he is left out.

The 26-year-old has six goals in his last three matches – including two against Manchester United and a hat-trick at Leicester – and is 9/2 to score more than once against the Hornets.

And even if Sanchez is below his best after a long week of travelling, Arsenal should be able to rely on another explosive, in-form attacker.

Theo Walcott might not have scored against United, but his effectiveness as a central striker was proven by two assists and a fierce sliding challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Walcott has four goals in nine appearances and, having found the net for England against Estonia last week, is 11/2 to open the scoring in an Arsenal win.

The excellent result against Louis van Gaal’s side two weeks ago will be undermined if the Gunners fail to take all three points against Watford.

Not that beating the promoted side, who have lost twice in just eight games this season, will be simple.

With just seven goals against, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have the joint-best defensive record in the division.

But while 10 points is an accomplished start to the season, their status as the worst goalscorers (six) has prevented them from securing more.

Five-goal forward Odion Ighalo will, therefore, be relied upon once again.

The Nigerian’s strike at Bournemouth was his 21st of the calendar year – more than any other player in English football – and he is 13/5 to register at any time against Arsenal.

That is possible considering the visitors have only kept one clean sheet in five domestic away matches this season.

They have won four of those matches, however, and the side that are two points behind league leaders Manchester City should record their third successive top-flight victory.

And while this topsy-turvy season has made predicting the outcome of it difficult, doing so should position Arsenal for their first genuine title challenge in longer than Wenger would care to remember.

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