Defending champions Arsenal welcome fellow Premier League outfit Watford to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon for their FA Cup quarter-final clash, just days after defeating Championship side Hull City in the competition.
The Gunners; who have lifted the trophy for the past two successive seasons, were forced into a fifth-round replay on Tuesday night after the Tigers initially held Arsene Wenger’s side to a goalless encounter in the original tie, although the hosts knocked four goals (4-0) past Steve Bruce’s men at the KC Stadium to progress to the last-eight this weekend.
Standing in their way of another semi-final appearance in the FA Cup is Watford, who Arsenal have defeated four times in their five previous meetings in this competition – including an enthralling 4-2 victory en route to winning the tournament back in 2002.
The Hornets’ only taste of success over the Gunners in the FA Cup harks back to 1987, although it was produced in the quarter-final stage after a terrific 3-1 win.
However Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have never beaten Arsenal since the Premier League era began, with today’s home team having won October’s English top-flight clash 3-0 at Vicarage Road thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey.
Even more encouraging for Arsenal ahead of kick-off is the fact that the Gunners have won 15 consecutive rounds in the FA Cup. The post-war record is 16, which Wenger’s club already hold during their terrific spell between 2002 and 2004.
Meanwhile Watford have won each of their three FA Cup matches this season by 1-0 – defeating Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United in the process.
But the Hornets, who are appearing in their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2007, have not scored in their last three games having lost seven of their last 11 Premier League outings.
Arsenal defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are fit for Arsenal on Sunday, despite both being injured during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay against Hull.
However midfielder Aaron Ramsey is ruled out with a thigh problem sustained during that match at the KC Stadium, while another centre-half Laurent Koscielny (Calf) is unlikely to feature.
Watford defender Craig Cathcart (Calf) faces a late fitness test, meanwhile fellow centre-half Joel Ekstrand (Hamstring) and midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado (Calf) remain in the treatment room.
League Position: Arsenal – 3rd (52 pts); Watford – 13th (37 pts)
Previous Meeting: Watford 0-3 Arsenal – October 17, 2015 (Premier League)
Form: Arsenal – DLLLDW; Watford – LWWDLL
Key Men: Arsenal – Theo Walcott; Watford – Troy Deeney
Shoot Says: Arsenal 2-1 Watford