New Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores wants his side to surprise Unai Emery’s Arsenal when the clubs meet at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
The Spaniard took the helm at the Hornets for the second time earlier this month, replacing Javi Gracia and becoming the club’s ninth manager in just over eight years.
Sanchez Flores previously guided Watford to a mid-table finish in 2015/16 before departing the club at the end of that campaign.
His record against Arsenal boss Unai Emery stands out, with Sanchez Flores having won three matches compared to Emery’s one in the seven meeting between the two managers.
When asked about the record, the 54-year-old said: “When you are competing against managers, this is not our goal, because we are competing against teams, if you have better players than the other coach, usually you are winning more.
“With Emery, we know how he’s working. I know he’s a clever guy, he’s always thinking about how he can take advantage in different situations, very good in set pieces, very hard in the work, very constant.
“We know each other well, so of course we will try to surprise each other. But…it is very hard to surprise so it basically depends on the performance of the players.”
Arsenal have won the last three meetings between the sides, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Gunners in April.
When asked about the threat offered by the Arsenal forwards, Sanchez Flores said: “It’s not just Aubameyang, it’s (Alexandre) Lacazette (currently injured), it’s the midfielders and the way they defend and the way they attack, it’s many things.”
Defender Craig Cathcart has been ruled out with a thigh problem, but insisted the players were looking forward to the game.
“We’re just focusing on working hard and we’ll start with the Arsenal game this weekend,” said Cathcart.
“The Premier League is a really, really tough league, we’ve got a home game against Arsenal to look forward to, these are the games as players, you want to play in the big games against big clubs so we can’t really be too apprehensive about it.
“We want to go there and put on a good performance and try to get the three points which is what we desperately need.
“Playing against one of the top teams in the Premier League, at home in front of your own fans has to give you an extra boost and we’ll be doing our all to try and get the win.”
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