Report: Watford 0-1 Arsenal (inc. goal)

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Result: Watford 0-1 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 15th April 2019
Venue: Vicarage Road

Starting XI: Leno, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavropanos, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang

Subs: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Elneny, Guendouzi, Ozil, Lacazette



Arsenal bolstered their chances of a Premier League top four finish as they laboured to a 1-0 victory against ten-man Watford. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed the vital goal as he forced an error from Ben Foster on 10 minutes before Troy Deeney was given his marching orders two minutes later for an elbow on Lucas Torreira. The Gunners had chances to extend their lead before and after the break but in the end settled for a first clean sheet of the season away from home.

First half

Ahead of Thursday’s clash with Napoli in Italy, Unai Emery was always going to rotate his side, however, few predicted the inclusion of Dinos Mavropanos – making his first Premier League start of the season – and a switch to a back four with Shkodran Mustafi at right-back. In the absence of the suspended Sokratis, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal made up the rest of the defence. In midfield, Granit Xhaka returned from a groin problem to partner Lucas Torreira with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi charged with providing the ammunition for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Mesut Ozil and Alex Lacazette had to settle for places on the bench.

A nervy start by the Gunners that included Mavropanos missing a header and Bernd Leno being forced to kick out for a throw under pressure from Andre Gray seemed to suggest that this was going to be another horrible night on the road. And then Watford miraculously self-destructed.

In the space of three hilarious minutes, we not only scored courtesy of a goalkeeping howler but our arch-nemesis, Troy Deeney, was given his marching orders.

It all kicked-off on 9 minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sniffed a chance to close down a square ball played to Ben Foster. Chasing down from behind he forced a panicked clearance from the keeper that clattered off his heels and back into the net. His determination handsomely rewarded, Auba picked himself up off the turf and performed a celebratory flip for the nearby Gooners. (1-0)

Almost immediately, came the second plot twist. A clearly revved up Troy Deeney, who’d earlier accused Granit Xhaka of diving, waved an arm in Torreira’s face as he chased past the Uruguayan in the middle of the pitch. The linesman spotted the incident and referee Craig Pawson wasted no time reaching for his red card. The Watford captain couldn’t believe it. Off he trudged.

Enjoying the moment, the travelling Gooners goaded the incensed home crowd. “We’re winning away, we’re winning away, how shit must you be, we’re winning away.” Aubameyang nearly had a second but his first time effort from an Iwobi cross was deflected wide.

A goal up and with a man advantage we really should have wrestled control of the game, but for the rest of the half we laboured as the Hornets, playing free of any expectations, came at us full pelt.

A long free-kick to the back post fell to Cathcart who forced a fine save from Leno. Not long after, Monreal dug out Mavropanos with a last-ditch clearance after the Greek tried and failed to clear out Gray.

At this point, the home crowd sensed that every decision was going against them. It was therefore very amusing that Leno’s push on Gray at a corner went unpunished. The atmosphere provoked a spell of kamikaze football from the Hornets who kept surging forward. We looked to pick them off on the break but Foster was equal to Iwobi’s effort.

After Torreira tripped Will Hughes on the edge of the box, Leno produced another great stop, this time at full stretch to his left, to deny Capoue’s free-kick.

Second half

Looking for more composure on the ball in the middle of the park, Unai Emery took Torreira out of the firing line at half time and sent on Mesut Ozil on in his place. It seemed to have the desired effect as we created three gilt-edged chances before the hour mark.

First Aubameyang failed to connect with an Iwobi cross, then Mkhitaryan squandered two efforts from close range after great build-up play. The first really was a bad miss, coming from just two yards out with only Foster to beat. The England international somehow got the ball out for a corner with his feet.

The introduction of Matteo Guendouzi for Mavropanos – sensible given the Greek looked far from comfortable – saw us switch to a 3-4-3 formation and we immediately looked shaky again. Adam Masina clipped the bar from 30-yards with a rasping effort and only a poor touch stopped Andre Gray from being one-on-one with Leno. The game was being played at a frantic pace. 

The experiment with three defenders didn’t last too long as Maitland-Niles came on for Ramsey to take up the right-back slot. With substitute Isaac Success causing trouble, we looked torn between sitting back and pushing forward.

Aubameyang missed another chance from close range, hitting a Mkhitaryan cross to the near post high and wide, and Xhaka stung Foster’s palms with a curler from the edge of the box.

As Sky reminded fans watching at home that Arsenal hadn’t kept a clean sheet away from home, Gray rounded Leno and looked destined to tuck home. Maitland-Niles slid to the rescue. A Hughes header over the bar with 8 minutes remaining was another shot across the bow.

Aubameyang should have killed the game but after a fine dart into the box his finish was again lacking. To add to our frustrations, Guendouzi, on the break, fluffed a chance to play in Ozil who was standing in acres of space at the back post. Thankfully, our profligacy didn’t matter as we closed out the win.

The result takes us up to fourth in the table, one point behind Sp*rs. Next, we go to Naples before Palace visit the Emirates on Sunday. If we can win that one as well, we’ll really be in a solid place heading into the final three games of the season. Here’s hoping.

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Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

Deeney MOTM. Dude would probably manage to elbow himself if he set his mind to it.

GoonerJust
GoonerJust

Deeney just love to show his, you know what…, when playing against us. He worked very hard for 10 minutes to be the motm

Dastardlydick
Dastardlydick

Deeney mouths off so much to the press it can’t have escaped the attention of refs. It must plant something in the back of their minds and make it an easy decision to send him off. Master of his own downfall

Maniac

Well we just stole 3 points. That was absolutely atrocious – easily the worst we’ve played all season while still managing to win.

Maniac

How we go from comfortably dispatching Napoli to this steaming pile of turd against a 10 man Watford side is truly beyond me. Something in the team mentality when we are away from home is so, so broken.

Runcorn Gooner
Runcorn Gooner

Atrocious is an understatement. We got the 3 points but if we play like that in Naples we will be slaughtered. We allowed Watford to get very close to points.

There was some serious bottling by some players tonight notably Mkhitaryan.

You would not have known which team had 10 men.

Will still 3 points playing badly but not good for my blood pressure.

Whocares
Whocares

Miki didnt bottle it he just had one of his very wayward shooting days.

David C
David C

Papa will bring the shithousery back on Thurs against Naploli. We will be a different team

Anne Noyd
Anne Noyd

Seriously? Back to front the team was fully committed today. With even an ounce more composure they could have had 2 or 3 by the hour, a gritty win. And fu-k you deeney, how’s that for karma.

Adam
Adam

I was never so happy after such a disastrous performance. I shit my pants tonight about fifty times. Fuck it though, three points closer to champions league! Ps. Where are your cojonesc Troy?! ;D

Flash
Flash

Unfortunatelly….

This mach proved: there were something in those words.

Chickenshite

Yeah the only thing in those words was that Deeney is an utter idiot. His ‘cojones’ got him thrown out in under 15 minutes. Complete tool bag he is

myrtle
myrtle

The game changed when Torriera went off. Simple as that.

Niran
Niran

Totally spot on !..Torreria is just so important he nicks possesion off the opposition and he immediately we are on the counter attack…Take him off and we a different team…Wonder what could have been if he and Xhaka played against Everton

A Different George
A Different George

This is crazy: the first few minutes of the second half was our best period of the whole match.

Santori
Santori

We were already lost amongst the Hornets when he was on. NO diff. Simple as that.

We never had effective control.

martin
martin

You must have a large selection of pants 😂😂

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

I went from bricking it to shitting it and then to Defcon1 scared. However we won! It’s a funny old game…3 nil win at Napoli you heard it hear first! COYG!

Shivam Kinjal
Shivam Kinjal

Saving this for future reference 😉

PeteyB
PeteyB

So pleased I didn’t sit up late to watch that one!! Sounds dreadful.

H2k
H2k

Should have scored more. But,
-3 points
-Back into the top 4
-Clean sheet away from home, finally
-A lot less energy burned tonight than what we were probably expecting
-And we all got to have a laugh at Troy Deeney

David
David

You call that a lot less energy? I think we burned more energy than 10 man Watford. That game should have be been over before the 70th minute. I couldn’t tell who had 10 men

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Napoli were watching that and rubbing their hands together.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

I think we burned more energy watching the game 🤣

Jack
Jack

Phew! That was absolutely unbearable. I don’t think I remember a more uncomfortable 80mins. Honestly we looked so timid attacking. Other teams would have absolutely destroyed Watford when they went down to 10, but it was like we were desperate to hit the self destruct button!!

Jai
Jai

When you have players like Iwobi and Mkhi as your wide forwards there’s not much hope is there?

Put Iwobi in that Watford team and imagine how much more atrocious he would be? Simply not good enough for Arsenal. Every other top club have wide forwards who score, are ruthless and can think fast and effectively -none of which Iwobi can do

Job done I guess. Perform like that in Napoli and we’re out.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

I thought Iwobi was great.

Whocares
Whocares

We need to keep hold of iwobi for squad registration purposes. He should however be a squad player rotated in and out not our only left winger. I doubt we’ll be able to offload Miki because of his wages so the best we can hope for in the summer is 2 new wide players that push these 2 down in the pecking order.

Chidi
Chidi

Very unfair on iwobi

Mekus
Mekus

Not really. The truth is that his quality level has dropped for some couple of matches and he’s not been consistent in his end product. If he work effectively on his weaknesses and lapses, he can rather turn out a big impact player during key matches for Arsenal. But he looks contented already.

kleinmeister

Deeney thanks for being an absolute idiot. COYG

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

How are we going to beat Napoli if we play anywhere near as badly as that??

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

We wont

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Play as badly I mean…

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

Here’s hoping. Struggling to find the optimism based on how shit we’ve been consistently away. Very strange the chasm that exists between our home and away form

Voldermort
Voldermort

We can keep saying it’s about the 3 points etc but that was a pathetic showing. Space all over the pitch yet we kept getting offside. Losing possession time after time and when we did have a shot we were often miles off.
Terrible display and we absolutely got away with it. This team needs serious surgery come the summer. If we manage to stumble in to the top 4 then I hope the board backs Emery. As it stands this team is seriously lacking leadership and some top quality.

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

Purely as a reaction to all the negativity on Twitter… that was our third game in a week and the toughest one we had left, a must win for top four – and we won it. I’ll go glass half full and say this could be a building block for improving our away form.

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

Agreed but it’s a bit embarrassing being bossed by a 10 man Watford!

Cycs
Cycs

I couldn’t have put it any better mate…cheers 👍🏾🍺

Whocares
Whocares

If this game had been played on Sunday we wouldn’t have won.

Zepo
Zepo

That was a really bad game despite the win. And this time it’s more towards our attackers being worse than our defenders. Auba, what happened?

bobbyp
bobbyp

Really pleased with the point, but think we really rode our luck. The gods were on our side for sure. If Deeny hadn’t been sent off, not sure we’d have won. Back in the top four. Come on you reds!!

Duno
Duno

WHAT. THE. FUCK!!!
I almost died!

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Shit game and another shit away performance against 10 men.

At least we got the three points.

Man of the match? The referee!

SB Still
SB Still

That was hard work, even against 10 men. However, finally an away victory and a clean sheet, brilliant.

Fuzz
Fuzz

What a goal by Auba – pure effort

Conrad Wilkinson Schwarz
Conrad Wilkinson Schwarz

That was such a weird game. And just shows we really need to upgrade our wingers. We were so so poor going forward.

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

Iwobi is so frustrating at times. And mhki was so poor Going forward today it hurt. Who do you upgrade on in the summer? I’d be tempted to free the wages of mhki up and give iwobi another season to find consistency due to his age. Really missing that killer instinct that Sanchez gave us a away from home at the moment.

Cycs
Cycs

I voted u down for even mentioning Sanchez in Arsenal matters…!

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

Haha I know it’s still quite sore. Just could help thinking on a couple of occasions last night when iwobi was cutting back inside aimlessly of when Sanchez used to do that for us and let fly with ruthless efficiency. Need an upgrade in the wide forward positions IMO

Goonershk
Goonershk

Wow…Didnt realize Watford got one man sent off
Almost got a heart attack watching this match

Jordan
Jordan

Really enjoyed the win, although outlr lack of creativity, firepower and goals is a concern. 80 minutes and aside from crosses and long distance shots, we offered little in terms of xG. Hope the goals return fast!

Milo
Milo

Had a feeling Ozil didn’t give a fuck if we won or lost when he came on.

myrtle
myrtle

He came on?

Alex
Alex

I had the same feeling when he played the finale of the 2014 WC.

Assshavin
Assshavin

Ozil was well in to the idea of keeping possession, which is what you should do to keep a 10 men watford out of the game. Unfortunately for him some of the others were more keen on giving Watford the ball immediately after gaining possession.

martin
martin

Oh dear another anti Ozil comment. He actually made a difference and was totally involved and committed after he came on. At least you didn’t mention his wages.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Mustafi haters gone quiet.

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

That was terrible! It looked like it was 11v11. Deeney deserves man of the match, if he stayed on, Watford would have won.
The main thing is 3 points in the bag and the chance to go 3rd on Monday night.

Jack4343
Jack4343

3 points, away clean sheet. I’ve blacked all the rest out.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

That was torture.
We have many useless players that add next to nothing.

Jijo
Jijo

Alex Iwobi is a frustrating player. Does the hard part well and when he is in a position to deliver the final ball, he just doesn’t know what to do! Most of the times he holds onto it for so long and the chance is gone..

Anyway…no noteworthy performances from anyone except Kos and Leno.

Usmanov
Usmanov

Alex Iwobi created our best chances tonight. Mhki’s worst miss of the night was from an Iwobi cross.
I think Iwobi is showing he can really improve his game. I’m loving his direct running at defenders.

Sussexfan
Sussexfan

I could run at defenders and be as productive as Iwobi, but seeing he’s being paid thousands we have a right to expect something more in perhaps an accurate cross or pass or even a shot that works the keeper.

Santori
Santori

Better than Mhkitaryan

Neil Gould
Neil Gould

Relieved to hear the final whistle but the performance was far from convincing .

Chickenshite

What’s up with all the negativity? I know we weren’t awesome by any sort of imagination. But I would have chopped my hand off for a one nil to the Arsenal before the game began. Enjoy the win! It’s an important one and at least the players worked hard to not concede. They had half chances but Leno dealt with it all brilliantly

Usmanov
Usmanov

“They had half chances…”

Are you for real?
They hit the woodwork twice!!
They had a clear post to shoot in which AMN (god bless his soul) cleared with a last-ditch tackle.

Usmanov
Usmanov

…all that while we were supposedly playing with a man advantage

anothergoon
anothergoon

Usmanov, please come back and throw Kroenke out. We need serious money to get this team challenging for any serious competition.

Jordan
Jordan

It’s games like this that I actually miss Walcott, Podolski, Hleb, Rosicky, Cazorla, Cesc, Giroud, Eduardo. For all their flaws, at least they could entertain in front of goal.

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Dire.But 3 points and a clean sheet.. If a team in a better position than us plays like this and wins its the stuff of champions etc. Go through against Napoli this game is forgotten forever. Fuck deeney. Clown.

thw14
thw14

That’s our quota of luck done for the season. And we aren’t exactly over the hump yet.

Some of these guys should be playing for their careers. Why do they look like they’ve stopped thinking for themselves?

Win or not, I hope Emery lays into them, that was nonsense.

Ptafc

The type of arrogant performance we’ve seen too much in the past couple of years. Pure shite….and we won it. We would have lost yet again without the sending off

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Wow the first 12 minutes were great but after that OMD!!!! Anyway, I hope it helps us get out of the away day funk but does illustrate the fact we have missed holding, bellerin and wellbeck – gotta hope we get three or four top quality players in the summer: centre back, left back, right winger and left winger!!!

HansRott
HansRott

We weren’t that good tonight …

But, no less good and no less lucky than Manchester United and Sp*rs and Chelsea have been time and time again this season.

If they get praise for playing like dicks and still winning then I think we can be a bit easier on ourselves than we appear to be.

We were away against a decent, motivated, team capable of winning against pretty-much anyone.

We got our must-win three points, not suffered any injuries, and boosted our confidence ahead of another ultra-important mid-week match.

Fuck ’em. What’s not to like?

Bosscielny
Bosscielny

I see a lot of negativity amongst the fans, blogs included despite the win. At this time of the season it’s all about the 3 points. Maybe some people we’re expecting us to absolutely blast Watford after the red card. A lot of times, it is more difficult to play against 10 men than 11.

A bit of perspective is needed. We are without our 3 first choice defenders, playing away to a team, that is a pretty good team, probably one of the best outside the top 6, in the FA cup final, who had a full week off while we played Napoli. We are playing our 4th game in 15 days with an eye on another tough game away in Europe in 2 days. We got the 3 points. That’s what matters.

Move on to next. Honestly I would be fine with 1-0 in the rest of the games if it gets us to our target.

Sir John King
Sir John King

Thanks Blogs for preparing us for that silly goal we were bound to concede! Now this just feels like a bonus 2 points that I fully expected us to drop.

Ed the Red
Ed the Red

What a shame that game wasn’t later in the season, thus denying Deeney his day at Wembley, the big fucking bawbag.

UpNorth
UpNorth

This team is fully capable of giving me multiple heart attacks against a lower ranking team with 10 men. We can blame fatigue, but this happens each time we play away. I for once, tried to look into details tonight. One is of course the lack of quality in defenders. Our defenders are not bad, but we’ve a surplus of CB’s ( Mustafi, Mavropanps, Sokratis ) who defend by fight and not thought. They slide, kick, block and head allright, but are too often a little bit to late. Secondly we lack defensive disipline when we have the ball. We don’t close down the most dangerous opponents and get caught on the back heel time after time when losing the ball.
Third, we do not backtrack when losing the ball, our players have adapted a wait and see attitude and react too slow when defends get into trouble.
Fourth,we do not win 50/50 duels from midfield and up. It seems that our guys go all in, but they just put too little force into the tackle in order to win. When you lose 50 duels during a game it’s difficult to win a game in PL.
The upside is that this is not really difficult to fix, but the team need a few players with hogger quality and a proper leader out there

TCGNR
TCGNR

Watford is not a lower-ranking team, not this year.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Well, we don’t like doing it the easy way do we? Credit to Watford I guess, didn’t feel like we were playing against 10 men at all.

CS Gooner
CS Gooner

3 points, first away clean sheet of the year, now back in the UCL race, spuds v City to lose and we are in 3rd. Keep the faith, the glass is half full.

Nope
Nope

So much has been made of our away form it became a self fulfilling prophecy for the players. As we’ve finally got over that hurdle we can play “with the handbrake off”.

I want third I don’t just want top 4!

Cycs
Cycs

People cmon we’re in the top four, aren’t we? Wasn’t that what we wanted? Reading most of you here would have one thinking we were in a relegation battle. You can’t expect us to play fantastic footie every game. I watched our invincible team and not all their games were convincing. Some were lucky last minute draws, remember? (Middlesbrough away if I can recollect correctly)!

Walleye
Walleye

Completely agree this year we have a very unbalanced team that is being very well coached.
A top four finish with this lot and emery is coach of the year.

Santori
Santori

Absolutely dismal showing.

We were bloody lucky the Ref took out Deeney for us.

Whatever we spent for favours with the linesman and Foster well worth every penny.

Rubbish decision but just as well. Struggling against 10 men for much of the game, unable to impose any semblance of control, lousy decision making and lack of investment in the match.

If we carry on like this away from home, we won’t make top 4.

Sure clean sheet away from home but don’t let that fool you. We will need to ratchet up our belief and effort if we are to do the business with 6 matches remaining.

6 Matches none of which will be easy.

Shazy
Shazy

Let’s put things into perspective. Yes, it wasn’t a great performance. But a win’s a win. Despite the negativity regarding the substitutions, I can understand why they were made. Emery has one eye on the 2nd leg!!

Hopefully we will put in a performance at Naples. We need to!!! We need a trophy to mark the start of Emery’s legacy. What’s better than having a European trophy in the trophy cabinet?!

Badaab
Badaab

Love to hear the commentary team, the Watford fans, the pundits, the highlight video comments… all claiming that violent conduct isn’t worthy of a sending off. Deeney got what he deserved, and ever since that cojones remark, we’ve had Watford’s, and Deeney’s, number.