It was a great piece of football from the Gunners in the Premier League, following their impressive Europa League victory over AC Milan at the San Siro in the Round Of 16. The Gunners welcomed Watford to the Emirates, as they built on the victory in Italy – this time trashing Watford by three goals to nothing in what was truly a remarkable team effort, as milestones were achieved.
Earlier in the league campaign, the Gunners lost 2-1 to Watford and were heavily criticised by the captain of Watford, Troy Deeney, saying the Gunners lacked “cojones”. Well, revenge is a dish best served cold they say, as he was made to eat his words.
Wenger made changes to his side that started against Milan, resting a few players for the return leg in London this Thursday. Petr Cech, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka who has played every single league match for the Gunners, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, started the league match against Watford.
Arsenal who endured a horrible month of February looked like an untamed beast as the brought smiles once more in and out of the Emirates. The Gunners opened the scoring in only the 8th minute, as both Germans; Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi linked well to open the scoring.
Ozil with his 50th Premier League assists and the quickest player to reach that milestone in 141 games, surpassing Eric Cantona who did it in 143 appearances, whipped in a cross into the Watford penalty box – meeting Mustafi who rose highest to head home unmarked.
Elneny was very instrumental in the match and seems to be a totally different player since the start of the 2018 calendar year. Elneny created two clear-cut chances in the first half which should’ve resulted in goals but didn’t. He was able to pick a pass to Kolasinac that opened up the Watford defence, with the Bosnian playing a square ball to Aubameyang but was fast for him to poke in from close range.
The second was to Ozil who really should’ve scored but was denied by the leg foot save of the opposition keeper. Elneny once more who was able to skip past his marker, before calmly gong for a placed effort that was saved.
Just before the stroke of half-time, Watford came close to equalising through Richarlison, as his header came close finding the corner of the post, but Cech who played 11 league games in-search of his 200th Premier League clean sheet made sure the scoreline was level going into the break.
Watford efforts seemed undone in the 59th minute when record-signing Aubameyang increased the lead for the Gunners. Mkhitaryan was allowed space to drive into the Watford half, as their defence was unaware of the positioning of Aubameyang, thus, allowing Mkhitaryan play a through ball to his counterpart which Aubamryang lashed onto, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball in an open net.
Maitland-Niles gave away a needless penalty that might’ve looked to bring Watford back in the game when he brought down Pereyra. It was a no better time than this moment for Cech to save his first penalty in Arsenal colours, against a player who said Arsenal lacked cojones. Deeney who would’ve thought to pull one back for his team from the spot was left red-faced, as Cech went the right way to deny the Watford skipper.
Martin Atkinson failed to award Arsenal a penalty, following a harsh challenge by Mariappa on Mkhitaryan – but that didn’t stop the Armenian international from grabbing his first league goal for the Gunners, days after he got his first goal for his new team at the San Siro. Aubameyang set up his teammate in the Watford penalty box with the Armenian lashing onto the ball with his last kick of the game to gift his new team a 3-0 win.