Report: Arsenal 3 – 2 Watford (inc. goals)

100

Result: Arsenal 3 – 2 Watford
Competition: Premier League
Date: 26 July 2020
Venue: The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal: Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Xhaka, Willock, Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Subs: Macey, Sokratis, Cedric, Kolasinac, Torreira, Smith, Saka, Nelson, Nketiah


Arsenal sleepwalked to a 3-2 win over Watford in the last game of the season at the Emirates. The Gunners were mediocre for most of the game but somehow contrived to score three goals without reply with Tierney’s first goal for the club coming between goals by Aubameyang.

In typical Arsenal fashion, they let Watford back into the game through poor defending as Luiz conceded a penalty that was converted by Deeney and Welbeck scored their second in the second half.

Pre-Game

Despite an upcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea looming ahead, Arteta persisted with a line-up primarily consisting of first team players like Aubameyang, Tierney and David Luiz. However, regular subs Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles got a start at midfield and right back respectively in a 4-3-3 formation.

First Half

Watford started the day needing all 3 points to avoid relegation and came out of the traps by lumping the ball into the Arsenal box at kick off but it was the Gunners who drew first blood in reply.

David Luiz regained possession and sprayed a long pass to Aubameyang down the left who crossed it for Lacazette who looked to have been impeded in the box by Dawson while challenging for the ball. VAR took ages to confirm the foul before eventually prompting Mike Dean to point to the spot. Aubameyang put the first nail in Watford’s coffin by tucking away the penalty effortlessly. Arsenal 1 – Cojones FC 0.

The goal put even more pressure on Watford to push men forward to score a goal and the visitors almost got their equalizer when we didn’t manage to stop Sarr’s dribble down the right. Sarr pulled the ball back for an onrushing Doucoure whose shot was blocked by Ceballos. The ball found its way to left back, Mesina, who could only shoot directly at Martinez who saved with his feet.

20 minutes in and Arsenal were still on the back foot and struggled to keep possession as Watford agitated for a goal – our midfield the biggest guilty party in giving the ball away. However, Tierney helped calmed the team’s nerves by scoring a second for Arsenal. He received the ball down the left channel and took what looked like a pretty tame shot on goal. Lady Luck was smiling on the Scotsman as his shot took a big deflection and wrong footed Ben Foster to nestle itself at the back of the net for his first goal for the club. Arsenal 2 – 0 Cojones FC.

Despite the scoreline, Arteta was fuming with Arsenal’s poor control of the game and was berating his players during the water break. That verbal rocket set the tone for a much improved spell of possession by Arsenal. The passing was more metronomic, Tierney was stretching the play and Maitland-Niles tucked in at central midfield.

Ironically, it was a direct long throw from Tierney which created the next goal. Captain Aubameyang was the recipient under little pressure near the 6 yard box. He had time for the ball to bounce in front of him before executing a superb overhead kick in his late bid to win the league’s Golden Boot award. Arsenal 3 – 0 Cojones FC.

It isn’t an Arsenal performance without a defensive error though and it was David Luiz this time who obliged with his fifth penalty conceded this season (let that sink in for a minute – 5 penalties by our most experienced defender). A late challenge on old boy Welbeck in the box prompted Mike Dean to point to the spot. Deeney scored to make it 3-1 and give Watford a lifeline before half time.

Second Half

No doubt under instruction to patiently play out from the back and to keep the ball on the ground, Arsenal’s execution of the plan continued to be patchy, overturning possession often.

The poor possession and increased pressure from Watford saw the Gunners revert to a back five with Lacazette and an anonymous Willock leaving the pitch on 56 minutes for Nketiah and Kolasinac.

With passing lanes blocked and spaces in the backline covered, Arsenal looked to have gained a little more confidence with and without the ball in the familiar back three formation. But still, the Gunners allowed Watford another chance on goal on the 62nd minute as Pereyra striked up close only to have Martinez block with a “starfish” leap. Just minutes later, Welbeck punished Arsenal’s malaise by pouncing on a low cross for Watford to half the deficit to 3-2. It seemed like a matter of time.

Arteta’s solution to stem the tide was to bring on Torreira and Nelson for Pepe and Ceballos. The Ivorian’s departure was understandable considering how he was peripheral all game but Ceballos has been one of the better players in possession in a team struggling to keep the ball.

The ensuing minutes were a blur of chances and great saves. Welbeck almost scored from a brilliant back flick if not for Martinez’s sharp reflexes and Aubameyang replied with a low shot which Foster dived to prevent the Gabonese a hattrick.

The rest of the game remained an open affair without much cutting edge from both teams with Watford coming close on a couple of occasions to embarrass Arsenal with a draw. Fortunately, the game ended 3-2 in Arsenal’s favour.

The result confirmed Arsenal’s place outside Europa League places, with the only consolation being that we managed to relegate Troy Deeney to the Championship for the next season.

Arsenal need a major improvement in performance in the cup final game against much better opposition in Chelsea to salvage some pride and a European place in Arteta’s first full season ahead.

Arsenal’s performance was representative of a really poor season and I definitely couldn’t wait for the end of this dreadful game and look forward to the 20/21 league campaign.

guest
100 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Don Cazorleone

That didn’t feel like a win

Anonymarse

Relegating Deeney is a definite win

Managanese

Yeah. I bet we should get a shiny giant trophy for that.

Anonymarse

I think we should. Big gold pair of testicles.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

So basically, this season Watford lacked cojones

Mick Malthouse

Please let that be the last time I ever see Arsenal as shit as that.

Anonymarse

Don’t bet on it

Naked Cygan

Totally agree with you. Being 3-0 up after 35 minutes, and totally switching off again and playing like a pub team after that was a fking joke. We were totally dominated after that, and if it wasn’t for Martinez we could have lost a 3-0 lead. If we play like that with Chelsea we will have no chance of winning. Not sure what the fking tactics are, but why the fk do we just switch off and let’s teams just shit on us?? 8th is not good enough…

Adrian

Don’t know why we play as if we are getting relegated and trying to hold on 1 goal lead. If we play so defensively against Watford then what will happen against Chelsea. I hope we will see performance of City and not Villa.

C.B.

Not convincing that we can’t extend or defend our lead at home against a relegated team. Hope we can win the FA Cup but worried we aren’t strong enough.

Qwaliteee

They weren’t relegated until we beat them this afternoon. Which goes some way to explaining why playing relegation threatened teams on the final day of the season isn’t the easy-fixture-we-should-have-walked that you’re alluding to.

Maniac

Scraping the win after being 3 goals up against relegation zone Watford really does not fill me with confidence for the FA Cup final. Both Luiz and Holding were all over the place today; we looked like we were about to concede any time the ball was whipped into the box. Fortunately the Sheffield and Burnley results went in our favour, so we jump two places into 8th and the additional bit of cash that comes with it will no doubt be very welcome. All eyes on next weekend now. Let’s hope we can pull out a performance that looks… Read more »

Jack

Pretty comfortable at 3-0 up and then BANG – Rob Holding does the worst pass of the season that makes the next 60 minutes unbearably tense, even when we didn’t have anything to play for! Oh to be an Arsenal fan

Okester

Worse than Kolasinac backpass against Spurs?!?

Qwaliteee

Worse than Mustafi’s pass at Chelsea?

Kostas

Worst than Kia passing us Luiz?

yen

Can we purchase a new defense prior to the FA Cup final?

Anonymarse

Hopefully we won’t need to

Public Elneny

If Sokratis is fit enough, I’d honestly be happy to see him start. I’m not convinced he’s any worse on the ball than Holding or Kolasinac, and most of the time he can actually defend

Teryima Adi

We need Mustafi to stabilize things a little bit. And that says a lot on how Mustafi had improved this season. A pity he is out injured.

Trigg27

I feel sorry for Welbeck, but Deeney and his cojones can fluck off to the championship where they belong

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I would love us to sign Deeney for 2 years.

Cultured Determination

On £20 per week sellinh hot dogs outside the stadium on rainy days? Yes.

Tomaury Bischfeld

Or meatballs?

oregoon

Rocky Mountain oysters. Delish!

Public Elneny

Can he play CB?

Granit(e) hard!

You got to be kidding me right?..saying you want to sign Deeney is as sacriledgious to most Gooners as saying you want Mourinho for manager, or a statue of Mike Dean at the Emirates stadium😄

Adrian

Two good things

1. Goal from Auba
2. And seeing Deeney getting relegated

karl

I think it is obvious why Arteta is reluctant to play Rob Holding now. His style doesn’t suit all that risky passing around the back.

Qwaliteee

He’s still a better bet than Mustafi.

Merlin’s Panini

Was wondering when you would show up with your obligatory Mustafi hate comment. Pathetic.

And really bad eggs

Not in this Arteta’s system he is not. I’m not sure what games you’ve been watching but even with their occasional slip ups, Mustafi and Luiz have been our best CBs in our new system.

Qwaliteee

They’re also largely the reason why we’ve finished this season in 8th place. And, in Mustafi’s case, not qualified for the ECL yet again.

Vivooty

Many players are better than Mustafi but not other Arsenal defenders, certainly not Holding….

Lula

not a good passer, not got great control and slow af.

but he beats deeney to a header, makes a few good interceptions and relishes the psychological warfare against imposing attackers.

physically and psychologically strong. not that gifted technically or in terms of speed.

i have a lot of time for him, personally. i want to see if more game time can inprove his defending all round. but i wont hold my breath for a gifted technical center half. thats not him.

Kieran Tierney’s Tesco bag

Cojones no more

Qwaliteee

Just relieved not to have sustained any serious injuries ahead of next Saturday. A nice win, but further evidence of what an absolute unreliable bag of shit David Luiz can be. And speaking of bags of shit – Troy Deeney: take your anti Arsenal tabloid ‘cojones’ and fuck off down to the earth’s core, where you and Watford belong, your fat cunt.

Public Elneny

I’ll need to watch the extended highlights again, but other than the penalty (I know) he seemed fine

Pakgooner

I don’t know what we’ll do against Chelsea. I am not gonna under/overstate anything, just that most of the players we are with are very, very limited in what they can offer to one of the biggest clubs in England. Don’t know what I saw today

Pakgooner

And Sounness should really stick it!! Literally rambles off the top of his head

Qwaliteee

What you saw was a typical end of season game involving a relegation threatened team fighting for their lives. Watford were never going to be a push over today.

David C

FA Cup team:
Martinez
Holding Luiz Tearney
Bellerin Ceballos Xhaka Saka
Pepe Laca Auba

Holding only starts because of Mustafis injury.

canon fodder

I’ll choose Reiss Nelson over Pepe. Nelson did much more as a sub than Pepe did when he was on the pitch

allezkev

I don’t think that Nelson will start ahead of Pepe next weekend but I also thought that Reiss looked really good when he came on.

Reality check

Easy for a fresh legged winger to run at tired legs..

Ben EagerBeaver

Can we return Pepe already pls?

A Different George

I thought Pepe was very impressive. Took on players and beat them, tracked back, very involved. Not sure what people are seeing.

Ausdrexler

if he doesnt score or assist then he is shit according to some. They dont look or care for the off the ball work players do to help the team.

ClockEndRider

Which stays a lot about just where Holding is now. Another one who has never really recovered from the ACL which is the injury of choice at Arsenal.

oregoon

Hopefully, Chambers does not lose the skill and confidence he was showing before his injury. Feel bad for Holding as he was doing so well before Rashford’s collision.

RedHotHornBlower

Yes. That has been the obvious team since before we beat $iteh. Never thought I’d say “we’ll mis Mustafi”.

Teryima Adi

Cannavaro Holding is the weak link in the defence right now.

Chuffy

David Luiz has 1 good game in 10 and Rob Holding cant pass a ball. Got battered in the second half and would had lost if not for Emi. Arteta still playing too many players in unfamiliar roles. The fact that we have to revert to a back 3 against Villa and Watford tells you everything. The central defenders are woeful, all of them. We’ll not improve unless that changes.

Jordan Tan

I thought Auba second goal the overhead kick was just pure brilliance. Like it was beach football or something. That pretty much sums up Auba for Arsenal in a nutshell – playing without control of the game, and yet still winning because someone decided to play beach football. Let’s get them Chelseas and OUR FA cup. Then we can start work on next season already. Go gunners!

Cklcrio

For all the defensive frailties we have, it’s kinda baffling how little we manage to keep the ball in the opponent’s half. We didn’t even need to do anything after going 3-0 up but simply tap it around.
If Lacazette doesn’t have good hold up play (like he didn’t today) we really do struggle, a really far cry from the Wenger teams we’ve seen before, even if they always did try to walk it into the net.

Public Elneny

Least important game of the season but still, terrible performance. Bailed out by Aubameyang and our GK again, story of our season. Ceballos, Tierney, Maitland-Niles and Nelson were good too

Not just based on this game, but we’ll never get anywhere with players as flawed as Holding, Kolasinac and Torreira

Let’s just hope Holding has one last solid game for us

shokim

Luiz is so, so poor…yet we know Arteta will play him in the FA Cup Final, inevitably.

Crash Fistfight

Well, yeah. Who else is gonna play? I don’t understand what he has against Sokratis – when we have to defend as much as we do, I’d rather have someone who can defend instead of someone who can hit a long ball every once in a while but otherwise strolls around like he’s in a daydream.

Vonnie

Who else is he supposed to play? We are missing Mustafi, even if half the fans don’t want to admit it.

Merlin’s Panini

Might not be the best idea to play Luiz. He couldn’t handle the emotion of playing against Chelsea last time out. That could happen again. The last thing we need is 10 men against them. Otherwise let’s hope he has a Man City type performance.

shokim

It’s risky not knowing which Luiz will turn up…

Atom

Our primary issue is we have defenders who aren’t very good at defending – particularly our central defenders. That has major knock on effects

Gurjot

Looking at the positives, Ceballos had a good game..so did Xhaka, spread the ball around well..Nelson showed some good touches when he came on. AMN and Tierney did well too. However, Holding looked shite, panicking far too often and man is he a poor header of the ball for his height!!!

ClockEndRider

I thought Xhaka was a load of Xhaka today.

Jack

Xhaka was passing to Tierney in the second half as if he was shooting at goal

A Different George

When you watch Man City at their best, one of the things you notice is that, more than any other side, they usually pass the ball really hard, relying on the technical ability of the teammate who receives it. Liverpool not far behind. Might be a clue.

ClockEndRider

Yes but they tend to pass quite near to the player on their team. I saw at least twice when Xhaka pinged balls yards in front of Tierney. No chance to take them down.

Merlin’s Panini

It seems Holding needs a partner who will coach him through a game a bit, like Per did. I fucking miss Per.

ClockEndRider

Its Mike Dean I feel sorry for. I mean nobody out there worked harder to get Watford something out of the game. Still, chin up Mike…..

Kieran Tierney’s Tesco bag

Yeah and he looks like Harold Shipman with that beard

ClockEndRider

Expect a writ from the doctor for defamation.
Better than a home visit, I suppose.

Patrik Ljungberg

Get lost. A poor Arsenal performance, and you try to blame it on the referee? I won’t buy it.

ClockEndRider

I’m not trying to sell it. The look on his face when he was forced t9 give an obvious penalty, the fouls committed by them for which there was no booking and the booking of Martinez for time wasting tell the story.

A Different George

I think Dean is a self-important ass who needs to put himself in the centre of every match. Which is different than saying he is consciously biased. Still, that penalty seemed so obvious, it’s hard to understand how he could have failed to give it initially.

Patrik Ljungberg

I am a gooner since 48 years and people complaining about the referee have always been sore losers to me. Play well and we win. Play poorly and we lose, but don’t complain or try to find an excuse for losing. Work harder and we will win next time. COYG

DaDude

He wasn’t really forced to give it, cause he will have the final decision. A bit hard to remain with your “no”, though, when your pal on VAR tells you that it’s a clear cut penalty. The look on his face just meant either “Me? Wrong? How is that even possible?” or “Huh, What is the little man in my ear saying? Does that really mean I can’t screw the mighty Arsenal now?”. Otherwise I cannot say anything bad about him in this game. I don’t remember any other gravely wrong decisions and the one he wanted to push through… Read more »

ClockEndRider

And do you not think get lost is a bit strong? Where did I blame the referee for our performance? I said the referee was poor. He was. The two can both be true.
God, and the schools have only just broken up.,,,,

Patrik Ljungberg

I am 56 and quit school a few years ago, bit nice try.

ClockEndRider

Well don’t behave like you’ve just left the fourth form then.
and I’m still waiting for an apology.

Patrik Ljungberg

Wait no longer. I m sorry that I told you to get lost.

However, please stop complaining about referees. That is fourth form stuff.

Give youth a chance

The look on Dean’s face when VAR told him to award that penalty was priceless

Crash Fistfight

People will go on about it being good that we’ve relegated Deeney (giving us a bit too much credit, but never mind), but how much do you want to bet he rocks up at some shit-kicking team like Burnley or Sheffield United to kick lumps out of our centre-halves next season?

Teryima Adi

A very poor season, even with a potential FA cup trophy looming in the horizon, but we move on.
Bring on Chelsea in the FA cup.

Twatsloch

Weak performance by us but bye bye to Cojones FC none the less. No more Premier Leave for them for a while.

Tomaury Bischfeld

So David got up but he fucked up again, over and over and over again..

Arsemusic

Glad our league suffering is over, that was such a painful seadon with some truly awful football. Fingers crossed we somehow find a way to win the Cup.

Merlin’s Panini

I guess Watford didn’t have the cojones to stay up, eh Troy?
Only one of them I feel sorry for is Dat Guy.
Nice to have moved up a couple of places but this PL season has been a total cunt. Glad to see the back of it. Here’s hoping the cup brings us some joy.

Almunia4Pires

ALL of our central defenders are substandard. Not a single one is a starter to a serious side.

mrugunner

and one of them got a new contract. tells you where we’re heading as a club

Rissan

It’s pretty unfortunate how you think it was all Luiz’s fault for giving away the penalty. Holding was so poor through the entire first half and was the main culprit for giving the ball away at the edge of the box before the penalty was conceded. If you’ve played the sport at a decently competitive level, you’d know that one only plays as well as his teammates. The game at this level is extremely instinctive for players and team chemistry (something we don’t have) is vital. When you have a guy whose been spazzing out throughout the first half right… Read more »

Kostas

Nobody claimed it was all Luiz’s fault.
But just as like Chelsea penalty it was needless because he just make things worse.
Emi actually blocked the shot. But they got a penalty anyway.
At Chelsea occasion they also got a red card bonus.
I am not sure why we renewed him

SG_Gooner

I really miss Giroud. Look how well Lampard has used him at Chelsea. It is such a pity that fans didn’t appreciate enough of his work. With a player like Auba around him, he would have been invaluable in providing an outlet for our lightweight midfielders. Real mistake on part of Wenger to let him go. We have a very disjointed team. And those who laughed at Chelsea and Lampard will see the difference when a manager who has managed a Championship side and brought that experience to EPL, how he has improved their play. They have a mix of… Read more »

A Different George

The reason “Wenger let him go” was to get Aubamayang. Auba wanted to leave Dortmund, but they wouldn’t let him go without being assured a replacement. They wanted Giroud, who refused a move to Germany (mainly, as I understand it, because his family was settled in London, with his kids in school–not exactly a horrible reason). So, Giroud moved to Chelsea so that Chelsea would agree to send Batshuayi to Dortmund. Effectively, we swapped Giroud for Aubamayang. As much as I like Giroud, I would much rather have Auba (who is, besides everything else, also younger).

Granit(e) hard!

I agree with everybody else, performance was shite, but i couldnt stop grinning ear to ear, not for the win, but for the poetic justice that its Arsenal, that help send Deeney’s cojones to the championships…priceless!😁

Dave cee

I don’t get the hate for Watford and Deeney, he only said what all of us have known for years

Granit(e) hard!

I dont think any Arsenal fan hate Watford, there is no need to, but Deeney?..yes!. and, Its not what he said per se, its the derisive way he said it in the context of Arsenal’s defeat that got most fans, and players up in arms. Every team has an off day and its unethical to mock your professional colleagues like that . For example, watford themselves recently got thumped 5 – 0, and you dont get any of the opposing players gloating to the media after that match about watford players’ cojones. Shows how crass and pea brained Deeney is.

Lula

Well we need to up our game substantially to beat Chelsea. Lets hope we do it.

Thebounder_ph

Priceless look on that complete and utter cunt Deans face as VAR confirmed what everyone clearly knew

Santori

All the problems still of course there. I don’t feel enough hunger from some players considering we are facing a team desperate to claw out of relegation. We were lucky they were rubbish in defending and Deeney misplaced his fabled Cojones. Lukewarm end to the season finishing 8th (not much better when Unai left) I suppose jury still out in terms of our overall performance as we still have one last shot at it with FA cup and possibly a Europa spot. BUT what a shame we could not muster more impetus to beat Spurs and Villa. We would be… Read more »

Ozenal

Would the European place not go to Arsenal by default since Chelsea are qualified in the knockout round of Champions League