Tag Archives: watford

Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 0 Watford

Arsenal (0) 2 Watford (0) 0
Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Saturday, 29th September 2018. Kick-off time: 3.00pm


(4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Ramsey, Özil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Substitutes: Elneny, Guendouzi, Lichtsteiner, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Welbeck, Kolasniac, Leno.
Scorers:Cathcart (o.g.), Özil

Yellow Cards: Mustafi, Torreira
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 60,019

And so a welcome to Hertfordshire’s finest, the last of four home games in the Premiership and a couple of cups too. Amazingly enough, we didn’t play The Hornets in the league until 1982, but since then, despite relegation and promotion issues for them over the years, they have earned a certain reputation for playing open, attacking football, a style that has paid off for them in this campaign, as they currently (at the time of writing) occupy the fourth position in the Premiership.

We started this match slowly and sluggishly, but all this was quickly forgotten when Alexandre Lacazette was desperately unlucky not to have been given a penalty in the fifth minute when he was blatantly tripped by a Watford defender; he valiantly carried on (although to be fair, most strikers in the modern game would have gone to ground) and was unlucky not to have scored from a very difficult angle indeed. Arsenal allowed Watford to make their mark on the game shortly afterwards and for the rest of the half looked disappointing at times, although it should be noted that our bandits (Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) looked dangerous on the break, and when supported by the midfield, looked likely to score. Now the bad thing. In injury time of the first half, our magnificent gardien de but, Petr Cech pulled up with a hamstring injury that will keep him away from his duties for circa three weeks. Woe. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man, and now is the time that our £19 million summer acquisition Bernd Leno is to come to the aid of the party.

Second half at The Emirates, and as form follows finction, we all know what that means; a kick up the backside and a clip round the ear from Mr. Emery during the break and they all start to play as if their very lives depend on it – only at first it looked like The Hornets were the home team and not us with the amount of good and clear chances that they had during this time. It has to be said that Bernd Leno was very much on his game and prevented Watford from scoring on several occasions. Then Mr. Emery played a superb trump card, and hey, what a card it was, too. Enter young Alex Iwobi and the rejuvenation in the chaps was there for all to see. Ten minutes from time, Alex Iwobi found space for himself over on the right and slipped a low ball to the near post where Hornets’ defender Craig Cathcart diverted it beyond the grasp of his own keeper. Two minutes later, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette played a superb one-two movement before the Frenchman passed the ball into the area near the far post where the much-maligned Mesut Özil lay in wait like a killer in the sun to administer the final act. Despite one or two late clashes, that was really the end of it all, and we can leave this match with three very important points, and another win on the board.

Okay, here we go, here comes the critique. Not wishing to be hypercritical, but at times it was a very tight match and we appeared to make heavy weather of things, particularly in the first half (surprise, surprise). We lack width and when it comes to playing the top sides (and we all know who they are), they will exploit this weakness in the formation. Arsenal need to play with concentration and vigour throught the whole of the match, and not just the second half, as one day a team will play us knowing that we are below par in the first half, and our punishment will be so bad, not even a half-time talk from Mr. Emery will be able to square that circle. Having said all this, we are looking fitter and there are signs of improvement; after all, this is our seventh win in a row across all competitions, so we are obviously ticking many boxes here. Our next match in the Premiership is an away tie at Fulham next Sunday before the international break, so fingers crossed that the chaps can continue their winning streak. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.


2-0 won doesn’t answer all the questions for Arsenal

It was like watching an Arsene Wenger side against Sam Allardyce’s Bolton.

Watford are a big, physical, athletic side. They place close to the line, often stepping over what is considered legal. Pull backs, clips, trips and body checks. All behind the referees back to try and gain an advantage.

For once it did not work as Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners.

Since returning to the Premier League, Watford have been a 70 minutes side.

They are physical with a high work rate, but die in the last 20 minutes. They did it against Spurs mid-week, they did it on Saturday against Arsenal, and they will probably do it in the league.

I expect them to continue a fine start to the season – this was just their XX defeat – until about February. At that point they will have enough points to stay up and will collapse in exhaustion, having put so much energy and effort into the first 5 months.

On Saturday, for much of the game, their dirty tactics worked as Anthony Taylor waved away late challenges and off the ball incidents. The fact the referee decided to book Shkdoran Mustafi for asking for a corner, whilst not giving Trot Deeney a justified second yellow for a crude and late challenge summed up what Arsenal were up against.

But like at home against Bolton, we got through. We got the 3 points. We made it 7 wins in a row. And with Chelsea and Liverpool drawing 1-1, we sit fairly pretty in the league.

The game changed in its substitutions. Not the one where Petr Cech went off for Bernd Leno, but the two late ones.

Firstly on came Alex Iwobi for Aaron Ramsey.

The game passed the Welshman by, and not for the first time this season. You can see by that performance, how he struggled to fit in, why Emery, Sven and Raul are now unwilling to make him our second highest paid player. He was ineffective.

Iwobi meanwhile is proving a lot of people wrong this season.

Physically he has it all. He is big, strong and quick. He has silky skills but just needed the confidence and vision to match his size and strength. This season he looks a new player and he changed the game.

Always busy, always direct. It is easy to forget that he only turned 22 at the end of last season.

Danny Welbeck also came on with a fine cameo. He is so good in these situations. Able to both hold the ball up, win headers, and stretch teams. He and Iwobi showed why those who called for Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson to be in the Arsenal first team squad ahead of them are premature.

What Emery has done in his short Arsenal career so far is make the right substitutions depending on the situation.

In recent weeks we have seen Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette pulled off. Saturday it was the turn of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Aaron Ramsey. The Spanish manager is clearly not one for reputation. It is all about winning the game.

One man who can be concerned about his future – alongside Aaron Ramsey – is Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The early goal keeper change meant that only two outfield options could be used to change the game. Emery went for Iwobi and Welbeck ahead of the Armenian.

He might have been coming back from a slight knock (again) but it is hard to see how he fits in with what Emery is trying to do.

Emery does have some decisions to make before next weekends games against Fulham (why is this on at noon on Sunday?)

Aubameyang looks ineffective out wide. Playing him to the side of Lacazette does not work.

Likewise Ozil does not influence the game on the other wing, with Ramsey inside him.

We looked a much better side with Welbeck and Iwobi our wide and Ozil in the middle.

It could be time to make the two ultimate decisions. Ozil or Ramsey; Lacazette or Aubameyang.

It suddenly feels like I am being very negative.

7 wins in a row. With Qarabag and the Fulham, we can make that 9.

The future is bright.


Arsenal show their cojones

Two wins in a row. Get in. Arsenal are on a fine run of form. Wenger In. Wenger knows best. Give him a new 3 year deal. Etc. Etc.

We live in a world where we over react to everything. Things are either brilliant, or they are awful. Players either the best in the world, or the worst. Arsenal beat Watford. It was only Watford. It does not change the opinion that Arsene Wenger need to leave at the end of the season.

But nor will I not enjoy myself. Not celebrate.

As I have said before, you can want Wenger out and still want Arsenal to win. Just because you have a view on the manager, or the club, does not mean you should not be allowed to enjoy The Arsenal winning.

Arsenal were impressive. The front 3 of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhytaryian worked well together.

The three work brilliantly together. It might be too little too late for this season, but 6 months of playing together and a full pre-season is cause for excitement.

It was interesting yesterday to see Wenger’s priorities change.

I know there were injuries, but a team that did not contain; Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere highlighted that this weeks 2nd leg against AC Milan is no more important than a Premier League fixture.

I am sure had we been in the running for top 4, some of these would have played. Instead none were risked as we focus on the AC Milan game.

After a 3-0 win, there were plenty of positives to take.

Alongside the above mentioned trio, Ainsley Maitland-Niles was excellent at right back.

He has shown this season that he has more than enough to his game to be part of any future Arsenal squad. Key to his Arsenal career will be his versatility.

Able to cover both full backs, and the middle of the park, into next season, his primary role should be to provide cover and competition for Hector Bellerin.

I remember Francis Coquelin breaking through the first time, and Maitland-Niles reminds me a bit of him. Coquelin would often for the youths cover both the middle of the park and the full backs. Maitland-Niles could forge a career similar to James Milner as long as he works hard.

He is much better technically than Francis Coquelin, and you have to think the decision to let the Frenchman go in January was the development of Maitland-Niles.

Arsenal also lost Macus McgGaune in January to Barcelona. The youngster refused to sign a new deal after “not being presented a clear path to the first team”. That is due to Maitland-Niles.

Petr Cech saved a penalty.

It is a moment of Arsenal history alongside 89 and John Jenson scoring against QPR. One of those moments that everyone will say they were there for, even though the ground was half empty.

Poor Troy Deeney, bottled it didn’t he. Just a pity no-one went full Martin Keown on him.

So on to AC Milan…