Club football is back, as Arsenal face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday in the Gunners’ eighth match of the season.
After a poor August, Arsenal picked themselves up in September, and haven’t conceded a single league goal in the month and a half since that trip to Anfield before transfer deadline day.
There have been league wins against Brighton, West Brom and Bournemouth, as well as a draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and an 100% record in three matches in the League Cup and Europa League. All of which leaves Gunners supporters quietly optimistic of avoiding relegation in the current campaign.
So, now that the international break is done for this month (yes, there is another one in November), Arsenal travel to Watford to hopefully keep the good feeling going.
Before the international break, things appeared to be on the up in terms of injuries.
Danny Welbeck, Mesut Özil and Francis Coquelin all returned to full training, and the first two will be available for the Watford match, according to Arsène Wenger.
Laurent Koscielny is a doubt after his injury, but the French international and Calum Chambers are both close to returns as well.
However, the internationals did what they always do, and handed Arsène a couple more problems to deal with. Shkodran Mustafi injured his hamstring in a completely pointless qualifier against Azerbaijan, and Sead Kolašinac also picked up a knock in a very important but ultimately unsuccessful qualifier against Estonia. Bosnia won 2-1, but they were relying on results from elsewhere, so it didn’t matter.
Therefore, the Gunners are a bit short in defence.
If Koscielny and Kolašinac make it through late tests, things should be fine; if they don’t, that could be a problem. My guess is that Kolašinac will be available and Koscielny will make the bench at best, but that’s just my opinion.
Assuming that’s the case, here’s my predicted starting XI:
(3-4-2-1): Čech; Monreal, Mertesacker, Holding; Kolašinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Bellerín; Alexis, Iwobi; Lacazette.