Arsenal’s 2017-18 season may have taken its time to get up and running, but after piecing
together a seven-match unbeaten streak and solidifying their defence, the north Londoners are
breaking new ground in their domestic endeavours.
In spite of any disappointing form early on this term, the team is showing signs of improvement
and sits on the cusp of beating a defensive record this Sunday.
Arsene Wenger’s men have conceded in their recent UEFA Europa League wins over Cologne and
BATE Borisov, but a clean sheet at Vicarage Road would see them go six successive domestic
fixtures without leaking a goal for the first time in close to 20 years.
The last time the Gunners did so came during the 1998-99 campaign, when they won five of six
consecutive Premier League matches over the Christmas period, the sixth clean sheet coming in
the form of a 0-0 stalemate at home to Liverpool, per Soccerway records.
Unfortunately, that streak didn’t yield much for the rest of their season, and they went on to finish
second to Manchester United in the Premier League. They also exited the Champions League in
the group stage and failed to defend their FA Cup crown after being knocked out in the semis.
By that logic, perhaps it’s best Watford do get on the scoresheet this Sunday.
The Manchester Titans and the Best of the Rest
Joint-Premier League leaders Manchester City and Manchester United have showcased nigh
unstoppable form thus far in the campaign, with both outfits five points clear of their nearest
competition at the summit.
However, both teams could come undone in Week 8 if last season was anything to go by.
United headline Saturday’s schedule with an early kick-off at Anfield, and though Jose Mourinho’s
side have scored in each of their seven league outings so far this term, it was their Merseyside
rivals who held them to a goalless draw on their turf last October.
Similarly, the Citizens were forced to settle for a stalemate at home to Week 8 opponents Stoke
City back in March, meaning both teams will have to best their 2016-17 results in these fixtures if
they’re to emerge triumphant.
Elsewhere, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur will play host to a Bournemouth side that’s kept only
one clean sheet in seven league games this term. The tricky thing is that clean sheet came in the
Cherries’ last outing, a bore draw at home to Leicester City.
If we also take into account the fact that Spurs are yet to win at temporary home Wembley in three
league attempts (one loss, two draws), a seemingly one-sided fixture all of a sudden becomes a
bit tougher to call.