“Surely Arsenal made their changes v Villa because they have a squad of players and some might conceivably have needed a rest after a hard FA Cup semi final vs “the second best team in Europe” and 12 games in 30 days or whatever stupid amount of fixtures they have had?” posits Paul Roome. Oh, absolutely. Arteta picked the team he wanted/needed to pick on the day. Which is fine, but the result did skew the relegation battle in Villa’s favour, and that team selection means he can’t then blather on about respecting said battle without looking like a git, in my opinion.

Arsenal won’t be playing a back four today, Mikel Arteta confirms. That’s as much as he’ll admit to at the moment, though.

There's keeping your cards close to your chest...

And then there's this from @m8arteta #ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/Y66LeISnKY

Eddie Howe says training has been “very intense”. “The early part of the game will be really important for us to build some momentum. We know what we have to do, so I anticipate the players will be giving everything. We looked at past seasons, just the unpredictability of the final day. We just have to do our job today and hope for that unpredictability in the other games.

I’ve got to say that Hayden Mullins, Watford’s caretaker bench-warmer, doesn’t look like the most inspiring of speakers. Maybe he’s just got a very straight media face. “The main feeling is they want to get the game going,” he says of his charges. “I’m sure they want the whistle to start the game and we want to go out and try and perform. They know the whole club’s behind them, the fans and everyone. They know the job they’ve got to do today, it’s just about staying focused and trying to get the result we need.”

The support and assistance offered by Watford to staff at neighbouring Watford General as well as other West Herts hospitals during lockdown was impressive, and even if events on the pitch this season haven’t exactly been encouraging the club’s continued community focus does reflect well on their ownership, and on their chairman, Scott Duxbury. Hopefully they will continue to look like safe hands in another year or two.

Our neighbours @WatfordFC have been with us every step of our COVID journey, so in true #TeamWestHerts sprit, we are sending them all the encouragement and support we can for today's match…. We will be cheering as LOUD as we can…...COME ON YOU 'ORNS! #watfordfc #ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/ZWuVHS3kwu

The line-ups in today’s two other relegation-related games:

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Branthwaite, Keane, Digne, Walcott, Andre Gomes, Davies, Sigurdsson, Kean, Richarlison. Subs: Baines, Calvert-Lewin, Sidibe, Bernard, Stekelenburg, Virginia, Baningime, Gordon, Simms.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Smith, Steve Cook, Kelly, Rico, Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, King, Callum Wilson, Solanke. Subs: Boruc, Ake, Danjuma, Lewis Cook, Stacey, Stanislas, Harry Wilson, Billing, Surridge.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.

“Today is more than three points,” says Abdoulaye Doucoure, “it’s the game of our lives.” Carpe the bloody diem, lads.

"It's the game of our lives."@abdoudoucoure16 #ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/BPseJWS3Zf

I’m just not sure that form can be turned on like a tap, from dry to gushing, and even if it can why there should be any rational expectation that a team that has so miserably failed to do so for months can suddenly manage it today. But still, where there’s life there’s hope.

Massive game for @WatfordFC today. Good luck to the watford lads it can be done

So Arsenal, with Aston Villa and Watford to play within the space of five days, make six changes for the Villa game, lose it miserably, then Mikel Arteta insists that because “we have to respect that there are a few teams in the relegation battle and we are responsible for that as well” and goes back as close as possible to the full-strength side that started last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City for the game against Watford. He’s got his own issues to worry about, and there’s no reason why he should give two hoots about Watford or anyone else, but if he was motivated at all by genuine respect for the teams in the relegation battle he should have started this game with the same players that lined up at Villa Park, surely?

Arsenal: Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Willock, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Papastathopoulos, Torreira, Cedric, Nelson, Nketiah, Kolasinac, Macey, Smith, Saka.
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Doucoure, Hughes, Sarr, Pereyra, Welbeck, Deeney. Subs: Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Quina, Pussetto.
Referee: Mike Dean.

Five changes from midweek...

➡️ Maitland-Niles, Tierney, Xhaka, Willock, Pepe
⬅️ Cedric, Kolasinac, Torreira, Saka, Nketiah#ARSWAT


Two changes for the Hornets...

⬅️ Mariappa & Cleverley
➡️ Masina & Welbeck#ARSWAT pic.twitter.com/NuaynMVZbr

Hello world!

In 2015 Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich were promoted together to the Premier League. Today they will go down together – unless, that is, we have ourselves some last-day fun.

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