Gunners win ugly to end terrible away record and move into fourth place
Arsenal fans wont mind how it came. This was all about improving their dreadful record away from home and moving back into the all-important top four of the Premier League.
Viewed through that narrow prism it was mission accomplished, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang closing down Ben Foster to score early on, secure a 1-0 win and send Arsenal past Chelsea into fourth place.
The victory meant Watford were added to Huddersfield, Blackpool, Vorskla Poltava and Bournemouth as the only teams the Gunners have beaten away from Emirates Stadium since 25 November.
Despite some error-prone defending and wide open positioning, Unai Emerys side also managed to become the final side in the top flight to keep an away clean sheet this campaign.
Deeney overdoes it
It could have been very different had Watford captain Troy Deeney not been sent off in the 11th minute for putting his arm into the face of Lucas Torreira.
Deeney was clearly keen to set the tone for his side through relentless closing down of a nervy Arsenal back-line. But whether it was over-exuberance or something more sinister, Deeney was deserving of a red card.
Troy Deeney was sent off after clashing with Lucas Torreira (Source: Getty)
Watford were impressive without their skipper, with Bernd Leno making good saves from Craig Cathcart and Etienne Capoue, Adam Masina hitting the bar from distance and Andre Gray spurning two more than presentable openings.
The Hornets race for seventh place isnt over and on this viewing they could yet pip Leicester, Everton and Wolves to finish as best of the rest in the Premier League.
Arsenal failed to make the most of their man advantage and one player who summed up their wastefulness was Alex Iwobi.
Given a start ahead of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac, the Nigerian was erratic, frequently getting into dangerous positions down the left but failing to make them count.
He wasnt the only one to blame, however. Aubameyang was the match-winner, but hit the target with just one of his five shots, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was similarly wayward.
Had they scored another of their many good chances, Watford wouldnt have been allowed to push for an equaliser.
Apart from when breaking at speed, Arsenal rarely looked like a side with an extra player.
Their defence, which included Konstantinos Mavropanos on his first league start, looked shaky, but it wasnt helped by Emerys uncontrollable desire to change things.Read More – Source