BBC Sport pundit give his prediction for Watford v Arsenal
Mark Lawrenson believes Arsenal will edge to a narrow win against Watford on Monday night
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to edge to a narrow 2-1 win against Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday night.
The Gunners will make the short trip across London looking to avoid a second successive Premier League defeat, which would be catastrophic in the context of their top-four challenge.
Arsenal suffered a 1-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park last weekend to lose ground on their top-four rivals Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur with five games left to play.
Unai Emery’s side are in fifth place in the Premier League table and three points adrift of Chelsea FC, who appear to have found their stride at the right time of the season.
Arsenal warmed up for the trip to Watford with an impressive 2-0 victory over Serie A giants Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier at The Emirates on Thursday night.
Former Liverpool FC defender Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to ease to a narrow win against Watford to keep their top-four hopes alive.
“Arsenal are away again – and surely they cannot be any worse than they were at Everton last weekend?” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“I actually think the Gunners will win this one, although that has nothing to do with their form – they have only beaten bottom side Huddersfield on the road since the end of November.
“It is more to do with the fact I don’t think we will see quite the same intensity from Watford with the FA Cup final only a few weeks away.
“That is going to be a special day for lots of their players and it would be understandable if they were distracted by it. If it takes 5% off the team’s performance on Monday, then that is all Arsenal would need to take advantage.”
Arsenal have finished outside the top four in the last two Premier League seasons under Arsene Wenger.
While Emery has enjoyed a largely positive first season at Arsenal, the Spanish head coach is still facing a tough challenge to secure a top-four finish.