By Editor Wayne Veysey
Messi and co will be licking their lips
The last thing that a struggling, injury-hit team whose defence can’t cope with mobile front men need is another assignment against Europe’s best team. All-conquering Barcelona are undefeated in 37 matches, swatted aside Getafe 6-0 on Saturday and have three forwards who are eating every defence they come across for breakfast. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will be licking their lips as they await Wednesday’s Camp Nou clash against Arsenal. You fear what could happen to the Gunners if the European champions really turn it on.
It’s Premier League or bust for Wenger
Out of the FA Cup, surely heading out of the Champions League, the only salvation for Arsene Wenger and his team lies in the title race. Arsenal are eight points behind leaders Leicester and their only realistic chance of silverware this season lies in overhauling Claudio Ranieri’s team and Tottenham. It is Premier League or bust for the Gunners.
Welbeck has spring in his step
The one consolation for Arsenal was the late cameo from substitute Danny Welbeck. The striker scored one and was inches away from an equaliser with two other strikes. He did more in injury time than Olivier Giroud had done in the opening three-quarters of the match. Welbeck appears nailed on to start in the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Arsenal defence can’t cope with counter-attacks
To a man, Watford were superb. Their excellence was typified by the alpha-male forward combination of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, who will give Per Mertesacker and Gabriel nightmares for weeks to come in the wake of this clash. Time and again, Arsenal were caught out by blistering Watford counter-attacks, as the visitors absorbed pressure and then poured forward to take advantage of Mertesacker’s lack of pace and Gabriel’s errant positioning.
Sanchez still searching for mojo
Following a recovery from a hamstring injury that proved far more complicated than initially expected – hardly uncommon at Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez has looked a shadow of the player who was once in total mastery of English football. In 11 matches since returning to the team, he has scored just twice, in the FA Cup against Burnley and last weekend’s equaliser against Tottenham, but it is his performances that are of more of a concern to Wenger and his coaching staff.