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Watford 1-3 Arsenal: A Game of Two Halves

Team celebrate Cazorla's goal against Watford

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

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 31-year-old watches on as his spot-kick beats Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes

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.

Image result

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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Watford Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Image result for ozil goal watford

Under the new guidance of Italian gaffer, Walter Mazzarri, Watford are yet to hit the ground running, earning themselves a opening day draw with Southampton before narrowing losing at home to Chelsea. The Italian manaher has quickly set up a 3-5-2 tactical formation that is so renowned in his native country, reminiscent of his formation in his Napoli days.

Watford has a shambolic record against Arsenal in the league, losing all six games when both sides met. However, they ran out as 2-1 winners when they visited the Emirates in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup last season. Their last win over Arsenal came as far back as 1988, when Rick Holden scored a lone goal for the Hornets.

Arsenal hasn’t started the campaign as well as they would have hoped with just one point from their first two games. Arsene Wenger’s worst start as Arsenal manager came in the 2011/12 season where his side amassed a meager two points from a possible nine before hitting the ground running and finishing the campaign in third place.

Watford Team News

The team would be spurred by the new signings, Daryl Janmaat, Younes Kaboul and Roberto Pereyra but you would expect to see more of them after the international break. Mazzarri fielded a make-shift squad that suffered a shock home defeat to lowly Gillingham, so you would expect the big guns to come to the party when Arsenal comes around.

Watford Injuries / Suspensions

Brice Dja Djedje (foot)

Watford Predicted Lineup

Watford 3-5-2 football formation

Arsenal Team News

According to the boss, Olivier Giroud is still a ‘little fraction physically behind’, which means that there is a likelihood for Alexis Sanchez to retain his place as a center forward. The manager remains optimistic about the fitness of Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey with the duo scheduled to return after the international break. There is some ‘good news’ on Gabriel Paulista’s ankle injury, as the boss has confirmed he would be back in six weeks.

Arsenal Injuries / Suspensions

Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson, Danny Welbeck (knee), Alex Iwobi (thigh), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Serge Gnabry (lack of match fitness)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Team Form


  • Last Five Games: W L L D L
  • Last Result: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
  • Leading Goalscorer: Etienne Capoue (2)


  • Last Five Games: W W W L D
  • Last Result: Leicester 0-0 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers (1)


Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 0 win for Arsenal.


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