It is perhaps a measure of the almost fevered interest in Arsenal that a draw on the road at Watford would elicit such a storm among the media and supporters. The 2-2 result at Vicarage Road came after the Gunners had taken a 2-0 lead in to the half-time break and as a consequence were firm favourites to go on and win the Premier league encounter against the Hornets.
But Quique Sánchez Flores, the recently appointed boss at the club who replaced Javi Gracia – and in this his second spell — must have delivered a rousing half-time team talk packed with inspirational soundbites because the home side fought back to snare the draw. A draw — that is both teams getting a point. But you would have thought Arsenal had been beaten 10-0 by the reaction and that the north London outfit were certainties for relegation from the top flight.
Yes, they were mightily bad. Appalling, even. Granit Xhaka continued to show such poor form but he wasn’t alone. Brazilian David Luiz, the summer signing from Chelsea, looked unsure of his ability as did his stuttering partner in central defence, Papa Sokratis. Ainsley Maitland-Niles looked out of his depth at right-back and the left-back, Sead Kolasinac, was also having an off day (they are all too frequent for the liking off his particular correspondent to be fair). Arsenal, who drew 2-2 with Tottenham last time of asking, sat far too deep inviting the energised hosts on to them and the pressure paid off and, ultimately, it can be argued, with a great measure of justification it has to be said, that the Hornets could have easily gone on and won the game. But here is the rub: they didn’t. Somehow, Arsenal weathered the storm and got out of town with a point.
Yet the over-the-top reaction has seen some punters questioning the position of the manager Unai Emery. Frankly, that is a hideous overreaction. But, as mentioned, it sums up the size of the club that so many people are interested in commenting. For the record, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was among the goals again, helping himself to a double to put the Gunners in front. But, crucially, he was missing his favourite striker partner who comes in the shape of Alex Lacazette. Who wouldn’t miss the firepower provided by the in-form Frenchman? But this was swept under the carpet as the abuse and criticism of Emery continued.
Arsenal are currently in eighth position in the Premier League table; on the same points as the teams above them up to third. Crisis? What crisis?