Watford will look to seize control in the race to finish seventh in the Premier League on Monday evening when they entertain Arsenal at Vicarage Road, but they will be without a key defender for the contest.

The Hornets will be playing for the first time since their epic turnaround in the FA Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Wembley Stadium last weekend, and having seen their rivals for the possible final European place all lose already in this round of matches, there is a lot to gain for Javi Gracia’s men.

All eyes will be on the Watford players in this match to see if they have put any thoughts of next month’s big final to one side, or if they are going to ease their way through the remainder of the campaign, and ensure they don’t miss out on the big day against Manchester City.

One man who will not be on the team sheet for the Hornets is defender Jose Holebas. The veteran full-back came off during extra time last week and Gracia has confirmed he has been ruled out for this match at least.

“I’m not sure about Holebas,” the Watford official website quote him as saying.

“We need time to see how he is. He will not be ready for the next game, for sure.”

Gerard Deulofeu and Kiko Femenia were also forced to come off during the extra 30 minutes in the Hornets’ cup success, but unlike Holebas they are both fit to feature against the Gunners, according to their Spanish manager.

“Kiko trained all this week and Gerard as well.”

Two other men who the Watford boss is likely to be without are Tom Cleverley and Domingos Quina. Gracia provided an update on both men ahead of the visit of Arsenal.

“Tom Cleverley is injured and Domingos Quina as well,”

“Yesterday he had a problem in a training session with his shoulder. Some players have different pains so we will see in the next days if they are ok to play against Arsenal.”

The Hornets have had more than a week to get over their cup win and come back down to earth, with business resuming on Monday, as they look to build up momentum to take into the showpiece final next month.


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