What next for Arsenal after Watford victory?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 7, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 7, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

It may not have been pretty, but for Arsenal, the victory against Watford still counts for three points. Having gone ten matches without tasting defeat, which includes seven clean sheets and only two draws, there is every reason to believe that this Arsenal team is the real deal and here to compete against everyone – and yes, that means even Manchester City. Maybe.

For it was the 5-0 butt whooping that Arsenal received at the hands of Pep and his Blues that perhaps kickstarted this entire deal. It was a domination so complete that it embarrassed everyone with an Arsenal patch on their shirts. And yet, they have not been beaten in the matches since, and that stretches more than two months.

They now sit in fifth place on the league table, three points clear of the inconsistent Manchester United, two behind Liverpool and three behind West Ham. There is still a lot of football to be played, and the end of November starts an incredibly hectic and dangerous period for each and every team in the Premier League.

Should they be able to weather this storm they will then find themselves in really positive spirits as 2022 begins, and with it, hope for Europe and silverware might really be reasonable as well.

Arsenal: The third international break awaits after Watford and then a dreadful schedule of Premier League fixtures

Eventually, everyone faces everyone, and yet the Gunners do not have it too simple to end November. Liverpool is first, and after their loss to West Ham to end their own 25 match unbeaten run, they will be fired up for the match. Arsenal will find themselves hosting Newcastle, before games against Manchester United, Everton, Southampton, West Ham, and Leeds.

In those seven matches, The Arsenal would do well to accumulate between 12 and 21 points. 21 points assumes that they win all of their matches, which is somewhat unreasonable, even with the great form the club finds itself in.

12 points means they win four and lose three, while anything in between each number constitutes at least four wins and perhaps some draws as well. Staying undefeated would be incredible during this stretch, although even that is asking so much from this young, talented roster that Mikel Arteta finally has playing properly. But with this ten-match stretch, there is proof that this team is capable of the unexpected.

And regarding their depth and injuries, there is good news ahead as well. Granit Xhaka should return soon, and Kieran Tierney will be back and ready following the international break. Should the club be able to manage this next massive stretch of matches, they might find respite in January; while a big window can’t be assumed after all the money that was spent during the summer, I do believe that the Kroenke’s have to reward Arteta and the club for the turnaround they have endeavored upon since the rumors and whispers bounded around regarding the fate of this coach and club.

That reward will need a sale or two to help fund, but it should surely be there in January were the team to continue making strides and playing at such a high level. It might come in the form of a replacement striker for Alexandre Lacazette, who might be gone in January, or it could be to add depth in the middle of the pitch.

Bernd Leno too could find himself gone, and yet the team would keep on as if little had changed. Aaron Ramsdale has proven himself more than ready for this opportunity, and has grabbed it with both hands firmly. Should Leno be sold as well as Laca, a creative central midfielder might still be in the equation, even if Emile Smith Rowe is establishing himself to such a degree and Martin Odegaard is now struggling to see the pitch as often as before.

Yet more help in that department could really do the club some good, to be sure. Whether that help comes in the form of the perennially linked Houssem Aouar or someone else, it would only help to ensure that when the inevitable injury or suspension does come (or AFCON), that the team will not be too damaged by it.

Arsenal player ratings vs Watford: Smith Rowe secures 1-0 win. dark. Next

Arsenal must commit to maintaining this high level of play even after this international break saps some of the natural momentum away from this team. Should they be able to keep their recent record good in the coming Premier League matches, while moving forward in the Carabao Cup and eventually FA Cups, January could be a real chance for the team to regroup, rethink and re-imagine what this season might turn into for this club on the come up.