Monday, September 26, 2022

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

Result: Watford 2 – 3 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 6 March 2022
Venue: Vicarage Road

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette

Subs: Leno, Holding, Tavares, Swanson, Elneny, Lokonga, Pepe, Hutchinson, Nketiah


Arsenal showed amazing attacking ability against Watford with 3 scintillating goals by Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli with the England international claiming the Man of the Match award for a brilliant performance.

Defensively, Arsenal were solid for most of the game but had moments where they should have done better and were penalised both times with goals conceded in both halves. The second goal by Sissoko in the 85th minute caused the final stretch of the match to be nervy but Arsenal did just enough to close the game out.

Pre-Match

Arteta named an unchanged side from our victory against Wolves in a bid to secure a top 4 league position. All eyes would be on Partey who has been one of the standout performers in recent weeks as the midfield pivot.

Nketiah and Pepe made the bench as possible gamechanging subs while Emile Smith-Rowe and Tomiyasu remain sidelined due to injury.

First Half

It took only 16 seconds to jangle our nerves as Watford pierced through Arsenal’s defence to put Dennis on goal. The Nigerian international scored only to be called off for offside – an early warning shot to keep the Gunners on their toes.

The Gunners were definitely not shaken as they danced through the Watford team to score 4 minutes later. A nice combination of passes on the right wing saw the Norwegian put Saka through with a delicate swiveled backheel. Saka drove through the right and cut back for an onrushing Odegaard who calmly slotted the ball into the far corner with his side foot. 0-1 Arsenal

Not to be upstaged at home, Watford hit back with an excellent goal by Hernandez. The striker scored with a tremendous overhead kick though the Arsenal defence could have done better to deny the cross and deny Hernandez the space as there were 3 defenders the around him. 1-1 Watford

The game continued to be end to end as both teams were hunting for 3 points. Partey had a couple of long distance shots go just wide while Watford almost went in front after Ramsdale spilled a Dennis shot in the box.

But it was Arsenal won back the initiative amidst the chaos – in beautiful fashion no less. Saka won the ball back from a Watford player who was caught out outside the penalty box. He passed the ball to Lacazette who laid off beautifully for Saka who lashed it into the top corner. 1-2 Arsenal

The goal took the sting out of the tail for Watford and gave Arsenal the perogative to keep possession for the rest of the first half. Odegaard and Saka were brilliant with their interchanges, Lacazette did his best to be a nuisance with his hold up play and pressing.

The Gunners went into the half time as leaders, a reward for their strong performance thus far.

Second Half

Watford had their first chance of the game within the first minute of the first half and it was no different in the second. Arsenal played a high line and Watford slide in a through pass. Ramsdale rushed out to claim it outside the box but his reckless clearance reached an opponent on the halfway line.

He was lucky that Watford couldn’t take advantage of that slip up as Gabriel mopped up with a tackle and pushed out the ball for a throw in.

Where Watford couldn’t take advantage, Arsenal pressed theirs. Saka took a quick throw in for Cedric. The right back passed it on to Odegaard who chipped it for Lacazette on the edge of the box. The striker needed only one touch to lay off for Martinelli who fired a rocket into the top corner. A top class goal from the Brazilian who has been quiet for most of the game. 1-3 Arsenal

The goal sparked the home side to life. Chances came for Watford as the Arsenal defenders had to make last ditch attempts to keep the lead. But this also left them open to Arsenal’s counter attacks as Lacazette, Saka, Odegaard and Martinelli threatened.

Arsenal showed some of their best patterns of play all season as their quick feet were accompanied by quick thinking and “automatisms” in movement. Nketiah and Pepe soon came on for Lacazette and Martinelli and the waves of attack continued.

Unfortunately, all that domination caused a slip in concentration for the Arsenal. Watford lobbed through a ball for Sissoko who darted into the Arsenal box. Ben White over-committed with his challenge and Sissoko slipped past him and slotted the ball into the far corner to make it a nervy last 5 minutes. 2-3 Watford

Arteta brought on Holding for Odegaard to see out 5 minutes of injury time, and see it out we did though in usual Arsenal fashion, we made it tougher than we should.

Still, Arsenal took all 3 points to leapfrog over Manchester United in fourth with 2 games in hand. Another great step forward for this young team.

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C.B.

3 of the Fab 4 scored (ESR not playing) and top 4 tonight so long as United don’t win. Looking good!

Omash

I see us doing great things this season and beyond. Feels Good to be back.

Gabe

One of my takeaways from this game is, “we seriously need an upgrade to Xhaka in the summer_

Martin R

Why? What exactly did he do wrong. He was excellent with a good forward passing range as usual.

The Arsenal

Its not about what he did wrong..Its about getting a better player in his position. This is the attitude why the squad stagnated over a decade.

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

There’s definitely better out there

The Arsenal

Not according to many on here. He’s the best in the world apparently.and we couldn’t possibly do better than him.

The Beast

I’ve literally never seen anyone on here post anything remotely resembling that.

...and really bad eggs

I think Youri Tielemans might be moving on from Leciester in the summer. He doesn’t seem to want to sign a new contract and he’ll have one year left soon.

Would be a good player to get in that second no 8 spot.

Wengerball

Did alot wrong but Partey was good enough to erase all the hospital balls Xhaka was playing him. He’s just too prone to mistakes. Gave the ball to Watford for their 2nd goal.

Martin R

What hospital passes? Another Xhaka hater creating fiction. His passing today was as excellent as usual.

Badaab

xhaka isn’t athletic enough to play the game the rest of the team wants to play- we need to make a signing for the midfield this summer anyway as elneny is out of contract, so why not look for someone who can play the same role? xhaka could be fine backup in the same way lokonga seems to be partey’s understudy

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

Not athletic, or technical enough

goonero

This has been true every summer for the last 5 years!

The Beast

Not saying an upgrade wouldn’t be nice but what did Xhaka do wrong in this match? Thought he played well.

The Arsenal

Gave the ball away for their 2nd goal making the end of the game awkward for no reason. But he played well and has been good since he came back from injury around the Everton game. I really don’t understand people who cant see what an upgrade in his position does for the team. Its like Lacazette i love the guy and everything he does for the but if you cant see what an upgrade does for the team then your allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement. They seem like good characters so i wouldnt mind them getting one… Read more »

The Beast

Who said they couldn’t see the benefits of an upgrade? Think most would agree that there are better players than Xhaka out there but I was wondering what Xhaka did in this match for that to be today’s take away.

Didn’t notice his part in the 2nd goal (not denying he didn’t play a part) but you’d have to be pretty myopic to place blame solely on him. He had a decent match, played his part in getting the 3 points &, imo, didn’t really do anything worthy of getting singled out

Bleeding gums murphy

He does when it’s his brain fart that leads to their second goal. We were in total control and he decides to play a 70 yard pass that is not on and we end conceding and then hanging on.

The Beast

Fair enough, my mistake. I must’ve missed Xhaka playing an inch perfect ball to put Sissoko in on an empty goal.

Martin R

The goal was purely the fault of White. Xhaka wasn’t remotely at fault

Wrighty’s hats

To be fair I blamed their second goal on him too. There were safer options beside playing a cross-field pass, and it led to their counter which led to the goal. Inside the last ten minutes when we’re ahead, no need to be fancy, so I thought it was an avoidable and careless error considering the circumstances. Thought he could have done a little more alongside White to put Sissoko off too. But yes overall he played okay – some of the others misplaced their passes too so you’re right that he shouldn’t be singled out. I feel like any… Read more »

The Beast

Can’t argue with that. That was my general impression of his performance as well. Didn’t do anything spectacularly brilliant or diabolical.

Just managed to have a generally solid game without being outstanding imo. Which is why I found it weird that one of Gabe’s take aways from the match was his performance.

Wrighty’s hats

Mine was that we really miss Tomi and very much need an upgrade in second choice right back…. haven’t noticed that anyone felt as strongly here so maybe I’m alone in that!

The Beast

I think that’s because Cedric’s been generally fine since he’s come in. But I agree that yesterday we didn’t look anywhere near as defensively solid as we do with a back 5 including Tomi. Gabriel, White & Ramsdale all looked a bit short of their usual standard & maybe that’s something to do with Tomi being out the side. As one of our best defenders this season, it’s a tough ask to replace him when he’s out injured.

Henrik

I feel like the bar for Xhaka “playing well” is incredibly low, we need players that contribute not just managing not to take a red card or kick someone and give away a penalty..

Arsenal standars are a lot higher than whats possible for Xhaka, he can stay but he can never be more than a third or fourth choice, simple as that..

The Beast

Agree & disagree. I feel like the bar for Xhaka’s on pitch discipline is incredibly low. It should never be an achievement making it through a mtach without getting sent off & far too often it feels that way with Xhaka. However, I think the bar for acknowledging his general play is way too high. In matches where he doesn’t have any discipline issues I think the default sways to thinking he performed poorly when at worst he hasn’t been any worse than anyone else on the pitch and at best he was one of the better players. He’s easily… Read more »

Martin R

It’s the usual Xhaka hate brigade. Thank goodness Arteta realises how our performances have improved since his return from injury and I think he knows best.

Wrighty’s hats

I think he has been playing okay but not magnificently, and I will give him credit for being better behaved and more disciplined on the pitch lately – I don’t hate him by any means but we can do better. That’s not to say that the midfield isn’t working quite well at the moment, it is, but finding someone with his strengths but without the long-standing weaknesses would improve us as a team… would you agree?

Jack

Great win, but honestly I have never EVER seen Watford play that well. Also that’s a 1000% stonewall penalty for Laca, no idea how it wasn’t even checked

Steinn

I thought it was one of those where the ref should have given it but not so obvious as for VAR to overrule him. There was contact but Laca did fall quite easily.

Maniac

Watford players were going to ground for basically identical tackles all game and getting them given every time. It probably would have been a bit of a soft penalty, but at the same time maybe the officials might like to try implementing some kind of consistency for once?

Zadok the Regular Priest

They scored four against United earlier in the season. They’ve got some really good attacking players I’ve always thought. Even though Sarr and King didn’t play, you can tell they’ve gone for the “unpredictable South American” style of squad building. Could be a case that the hungry understudies wanted to show themselves worthy to start. It’s a weird one where the game seemed to almost be worryingly open at times, but at the same time this Arsenal team just always seems to have what it takes against teams like this. And if you read between the stats and the ebb… Read more »

Homer

Partey made some really poor passes. Gave the ball away cheaply.
Thought he was good overall, but Watfords middle looked weak.

Against a better team, he will be exposed if he keeps up this sloppy play.

John

It’s VAR and Arsenal. What further explanation is necessary?

Walter White

He falls too easily in my opinion. Contract, yes, but not enough in my opinion.

Walter White

I love my opinion

C.B.

His contract is up in the summer…you’re saying that isn’t long enough?

Walter White

I also love autocorrect

Charles Farrugia

Wasnt checked beacuase, We Are Arsenal,

Maniac

It’s just not an Arsenal game if I’m not tearing my hair out during injury time. Another big 3 points though. Well done lads!

Bleeding gums murphy

Great 3 points. Worrying to be in such control and then hang on at end. Xhaka cross field pass which led to their goal was awful. An upgrade on him will be fantastic in the summer. White poor defensively for their goal and nketia just gives away fouls constantly when he comes on and we need to control the game. Lots of positives though and we are in the driving seat for fourth. The pundits can’t bring themselves to say it 😂

Red-Wing

True that regarding pundits, but tbh I don’t mind that at all.

Martin R

Probably the only mistake he made the whole game. Was excellent today as he has been since his return from injury.

Bleeding gums murphy

He also didn’t track sissoko so you can say two mistakes in matter of seconds that led to goal. That’s what you get with Xhaka

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

He hasn’t been excellent or even close to it. He’s just not been a liability and costing the team as usual. He does nothing special

The Arsenal

Nobody is denying that. Excellent for Xhaxa is decent for a good player. Keep fighting that fight though. When Xhaxa is finally replaced and the team goes to yet another level maybe you’ll understand.

Zadok the Regular Priest

nah as soon as big Rob Holding came barrelling off the subs bench it was game over. big grin plastered on his face, champing at the bit for some prime shithousery… watford never had a chance after that.

djourou's nutmeg

i do see improvements, but these kind of situations in which we had the opportunity to be in total control of the match but end up at the brink of disaster, are the ultimate proof that we’re not there yet in terms of confidence and the so-talked ‘winning mentality’ arteta says he wants to build. i’m tired of panicking against shitty teams, this time they didn’t even put us under pressure, it was just us giving the ball away.

Red-Wing

A lot to learn from this match from defensive point of view but what a great attacking performance that was. Saka and Odegaard were absolutely superb, 3 points in the bag, COYG!

Boy do I wish that City absolutely thrash United but as long as United lose, I will be more than happy.

Red-Wing

Also some great shithousery at the end!

HenryKamp

They just did. 4-1.

Russ

I think we can definitely see the extra training time the lads have had together coming into play. So fluid at times.
A little nerving towards the end but another 3 points!

Funsho Patrick

Go Gunners…8more wins to go!

Mesut Ö’Neill

The back five was off their game today. Cedric as expected but Ramsdale, White & Gabriel all looked a shadow of themselves

Graham

Those 3 at the back look a bit shaky at the moment. Thinking of the wolves and Brentford goals recently as well. I hope they’ll get more composed with time.

Paul

Cedric was fine.

Brady’s bunch

Yes agree they had a slow start and didn’t really get going after that, Odegaard was my man of the match today thought he was fantastic.

Gooner7190

That flick to Saka in the build up to the first goal was just 😍. Saka was a close 2nd for MOTM for me, seemed to have their LB on toast

Teryima Adi

Spot on

karl

We made hard work of that, but 3 points is no to be sniffed at. Lovely goals too.

Gooner7190

That’s a game that any version of us from the past 4/5 seasons would’ve blown. Needlessly stressy though, should’ve been out of sight by Sissoko’s goal

Brady’s bunch

And we move on

Dada

Fuck yeah!!

PGunner

Surely that was a pen for the foul on Laka? Would have made the last 10 much more comfortable. Still, another valuable 3 on the board. Up the Gunners!

Red-Wing

To be fair, Watford had some penalty calls as well (not saying they were actual penalties) so I’m quite happy today that the ref was consistent throughout the match.

Leftie

Job done! Thanks, lads. I’m a happy gooner.

Ealing

Who downvotes this?

The Beast

Someone not happy with us getting another 3 points under our belt and/or doesn’t like to see Leftie happy?

Either way they’re a bit joyless

Little Russian Genius

Someone using a microsoft mouse on a carpet

Wrighty’s hats

Ha!

loose_cannon

Fair play to Watford for making that a proper game, but we played some exceptional football for large stretches. 3 fantastic goals and there are simply no superlatives to describe Saka, one of the best in Europe at his age, unreal talent.

Also, is it now illegal to give Arsenal penalties???

Rvp

Arteta must get a “key pass” counted in his Arsenal career stats for what he did setting up the 3rd goal

Leblanche

There’s no doubt that we went for it today, and I have all the time in the world for that, especially against teams like Watford. Yes, defensively a bit more unstable and some individual errors gave me my usual 85th minute heart attack, but hey, another win and I fucking love it!

The Arsenal

3 points and some good football. Defence needs to wake up, playing far more potent teams next couple of weeks.

Deano

3 points whilst being poor, nice way to gain points.

Our goalkeeper is starting to have a few moments of madness, and the full backs could have played better. In the end though three points and in the top four.

Gunnerlocutor

Ramsdale does need to settle down a bit. Someone should have a quiet word.

Martin R

Are you really saying we were poor? I agree Watford played above themselves, but our forward passing movement was excellent and 3 great goals and frankly should have been more.

Deano

A forward triangle played really well. Martinelli scored a wonderful goal but was pretty invisible rest of the game. Like mentioned both full backs were pretty average, white could have done better. Xhaka and Partey ok.

In short yeah we were pretty poor, but that happens, Liverpool we’re rubbish yesterday but got three points. So we climb the table happy days.

kaius

We’re pretty f*%king good aren’t we?

I mean, we’re also very young and inexperienced, so we make a few too many mistakes. We also didn’t use Nketiah and Pepe’s qualities when they came on.

But when we’re good, we’re pretty damn good. Well done lads

VAgooner

What are Nketiah’s qualities, again?

chepetin

Hitting the post clearly…

Steinn

Partey, Saka and Ödegaard were fantastic.
Ramsdale very lucky not to cost us with two horrible passes.
Tierney should have been taken off at half time, he should have tracked the crosser for the first goal, very limited threat going forward and few times he put us under pressure with his ultra conservativeness, as in heading away when it was easy to head back to Ramsdale. I wonder if Tomi’s absence affects him, he is almost a wing back when Tomi is playing, but this is not the same KT we’ve come to love.

Martin R

What game were you watching? .Tierney was excellent today defending and going forward.

Pastor Simon

If it is not a very wrenching win then it is not Arsenal.
Unto the next one
COYG

Grimmjow

I see why Pepe will never be a starter when Saka is fit

UzesGoonner

Three amazing goals……not sure about the kit, we looked like Rotherham

Marching on !! 💥👊

shokim

Well done Arsenal! 3 beautiful away goals but man, that was awful defending on the second Watford goal.

Also, 5 minutes of stoppage time!? Quite a stretch to be honest.

Man Manny

Scored 3 great goals; conceded two poor ones.
Like the Brentford game, this appeared closer than it actually was.
We put our foot off the gas at 1-3.
That is something we have to check.

Qwaliteee

Not a lot you can do about their first, but the second was really annoying.

Give youth a chance

I never expected to say this, but why didn’t we play in the blue change kit today?

Slava Ukraini

Qwaliteee

Oh I dunno.

I thought there was a nice 70’s retro feel with the red shorts today.

Mind you, that was usually only when there was snow about and the Highbury ground staff were employing the undersoil heating to assist an orange ball. Memories…😊

Kostas

This team has clicked!
Excellent performance from the ref also apart the Lacazette penalty not given which by now should be considered normal.
The left side of our defense looks vulnerable.

Gunnerlocutor

Great to see the splendid goals. Each showed excellent understanding and finishing. And those 3 guys will need to carry the goal scoring load from here out (with ESR), since Laca seems intent on being the assist master while avoiding quality strikes himself. And I hate to say it but right now, come on City!

Jean Ralphio

Cedric looked off the pace today. Really frustrating. Hopefully Tomiyasu isn’t too far off. Would also like to see Ben White play passes quicker. Excellent from Odegaard and Saka. Martinelli scored a great goal but our left side really lacks attacking threat at times. COYG

Watford can be a tricky side I think and have an in form striker in Dennis along with powerful runners.

Brady’s bunch

I think the whole back line is missing Tommie which is a huge credit to him but it would be nice to have him back and fit for the run in.

Zadok the Regular Priest

My favorite part was when Odegaard trolled us all into thinking he’d given away a penalty, and then when the ref didn’t blow he immediately trolled us all into thinking he was about to give away a penalty again. It’s good that the players are keeping us fans on our toes so we don’t get complacent, this is how a winning culture is created.

Great Kalu

Saka is just out of this world. Great win but it was touch watching the dying minutes of this game.

Fatgooner

Excellent game and a well-deserved three points. But we made it harder than it should have been. At 3-1 we should have been more ruthless and made it 4. Then we conceded a sloppy goal to put pressure on us.

Saka and Oderguard excellent. But we can still improve defensively.

A nice Sunday afternoon.

Brady’s bunch

Sakas good enough to play in any team in Europe and in Odegaard we gave a worldy in the making, he’s fantastic to watch.

PTAFC

Having no striker will catch up on us as you can only scrape games for so long especially when our defence have too many errors in them. Hope he gives Saliba a chance next season at least

Qwaliteee

Top post, well said. 🍺👍

Charles Farrugia

I think Odegarrd should have got MOTM, very solid performance but hey, not complaining, 3 valuable points. COYG

RockyRog58

Great win ! Starting to think Ramsdale gets a bit bored & thinks he HAS to do something brilliant as he’s having so few shots to save ? Unlike earlier in the season when he was in games all the time Maybe Mr Seaman needs to have a word about developing concentration levels whilst being a bit more err boring ??? Tomi plays first goal doesn’t happen that’s where he is on a different planet to Cedric who overall was okayish ? The goals were just Arsenal & a tribute to Liam Brady Cesc Rosicky Santi Dennis & Thierry Yes… Read more »

chepetin

Don’t understand your point about Tomiyasu. Their first goal was from their right, our left. How would Tomiyasu have prevented it?

RockyRog58

He’d have took the space to stop that shot getting off ! Look at Cedric & how far off he is from the scorer Tomi is a hybrid right back centre back & he’d have spotted & stopped that danger

Qwaliteee

Phew. Three points was all that mattered today and we got them – just. A great attacking performance and sublime stuff from Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli, but we are still giving away needlessly soft goals, which is a concern, given the tough games coming up. My only other gripe is what the hell Lacazette has against diving headers? He bottled out of one up at Nottingham Forest and he wimped out of another one today. Yes, his link up play and commitment are second to none, but we really need more from him when chances fall his way. Still, three… Read more »

Teryima Adi

The boys made life difficult for themselves. The defence wasn’t composed at times. Thank God for the 3 points.

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