Watford 1-3 Arsenal: A Game of Two Halves
Any thing less than three points at Vicarage Road would have been regarded as a disaster. With a loss and a draw in the bag, Arsene Wenger’s team knew what was expected of them as they came up against Walter Mazzarri’s new look Watford side. With the vast options available to the Arsenal manager, he made some slight changes to the team that shared the spoils with Leicester, as Mohamed Elneny had to give way for Mesut Ozil to return to the team.
Wenger had confirmed that Olivier Giroud wasn’t fit enough to start, so he stuck with Alexis Sanchez up front, even though the Chilean had struggled in his first two games in that position. The maverick was quick off the blocks when he won a penalty for his side following a blatant foul from Younes Kaboul. Santi Cazorla banished the ghosts of West Brom last season with a spot kick that went straight to the middle, beating Heurelho Gomes that had dived to a corner.
The home side did their bit to get a goal of their own, but Petr Cech was in fine form, and he spared his captain’s blushes when Laurent Koscielny was very close to scoring a calamitous own goal. Arsenal grabbed the second when Sanchez reacted quickly to Theo Walcott’s punt and his chance was cleared but the Goal Decision System came in handy, as replays showed that the ball had actually crossed the line. As scrappy as it was, Arsenal didn’t care.
The Gunners were in cruise control at the stroke of halftime when Sanchez’s lofted cross was headed home by Ozil, justifying his manager’s decision to give him the minutes he deserved.
At half time, Watford were dead and buried, because it was going to be an uphill task for them to overturn a three-goal deficit against a rampant Arsenal side. Mazzarri made swift half time substitutions including bringing on new signing from Juventus, Roberto Pereyra. The Argentine marked his debut with a goal that took the wind off Arsenal’s sails.
From that moment, Watford piled the pressure but the Gunners did their bit go contain the threat. Wenger threw in Jack Wilshere and Mo’ Elneny to shore things up in midfield, then Nacho Monreal suffered a knock that allowed Kieran Gibbs to get his first appearance of the season. As you’d expect from Gibbo, he did his thing on the pitch. The game ended at 3-1 and the Gunners deservedly got their first maximum points of the season.
The manager was pleased with the performances of his lads and confirmed that Monreal just had a normal knock and with no football for a fortnight, and with the Spaniard not expected to be called up for international duty, there would be plenty of time to recuperate.
Time to focus on other things this Sunday.
Do have a lovely one.
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