Disappointments and Arsenal these days are somewhat synonymous, as the case has been right at the start of the on-going campaign; and it seems fans are completely drained from the routine week in-week out antics that proceeds after every match.
Arsenal got back to league action against Watford, who hosted the Gunners just after the international break. Changes were made to the usual starting XI we’ve come to terms in getting used to, as there were names that were on the starting XI that to a few raised eyebrows.
Gunners captain Per Mertesacker made his first Premier League start for the Gunners in 532 days on Saturday. The Gunners starting XI featured Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny, Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck, and Alexandre Lacazette.
Of both teams, Watford started the brightest and looked threatening in the early stage of this match – with both teams going all out in creating a clear-cut chance. Arsenal was struggling to create any clear opening and Mohamed Elneny’s long-range effort over the crossbar was their best opportunity of the opening 30 minutes.
The opener came soon in the 39th minute as Mertesacker rose highest to head home Granit Xhaka’s corner. This was the German’s first league goal for the Arsenal in such a long time and marking his return to the league with a goal. Soon after Xhaka then forced a smart stop from Heurelho Gomes before Hector Bellerin turned a good chance wide of the post as Arsenal looked to add a second before the break.
The second half started just like the first, with both teams locking horns and looking to get a goal or two away. Ozil was introduced in the second half for an injured Danny Welbeck, who just only came back from an injury. Immediately after the introduction of Ozil, he threaded a lovely pass to Iwobi, which should have put Alex Iwobi on the scoresheet, but a fine save from Heurelho Gomes denied the Nigerian international a goal.
Soon after, Iwobi created a clear chance for Ozil who has missed few amount of games to injury but failed to make it two for the Gunners on the night, but the German was so sloppy with his effort and played the ball straight to Gomes. A controversy followed soon after as the referee awarded a penalty to Watford that shouldn’t be, video footage showed Bellerin making little to no contact in the penalty area.
Substitute and fan favourite Troy Deeney stepped up and scored from the spot kick to level the scoreline.
Disaster for the Gunners in the 91st minute as they failed to clear the ball in their own penalty area on three occasions before match winner Cleverly thumped the ball in the back of the net to send Watford fans into raptures and steal all three points for the home side.