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Why Emile Smith Rowe is not in the squad for Arsenal’s trip to Watford

Emile Smith Rowe was nowhere to be seen when Arsenal named their matchday squad to take on Watford at Vicarage Road.

Arsenal travel to Watford knowing that a win would take them (albeit perhaps temporarily) above Manchester United and into fourth place, ahead of the Manchester Derby on Sunday afternoon. Better yet, they would have two games in hand on the Red Devils, strengthening their grip on potential Champions League football next campaign.

However, they will have to make do without club top goalscorer Emile Smith Rowe, who also missed the last game, his side's 1-0 win over Wolves. That was as a result of testing positive for COVID-19, but he has since been in training with the side, and was in line to feature against the Hornets.

However, it has since emerged that Arsenal's talented youngster has once again tested positive for COVID-19, for the second time in two weeks.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, labelled a doubt by Mikel Arteta before the game, also misses out having failed to recover from a thigh injury.

The form to be telling?

On paper, this is an easy game to call. Arsenal have won their last three away games in the top flight, and have won 9 of their last 11 Premier League fixtures. By contrast, Watford have lost their last 7 home Premier League matches, suggesting that the game should end in a comfortable win for Arsenal.

However, Watford have improved under Roy Hodgson since the veteran manager came out of retirement to take over at Vicarage Road, and took a very credible point away from Old Trafford in their last outing, where they managed a 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

It may, therefore, be a more challenging encounter than expected.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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