The Gunners follow up their midweek victory in Milan with a 3-0 conquest of Watford and we listed the game’s talking points for you, including Petr Cech reaching an outstanding milestone in the Premier League.
Arsenal successfully return to domestic action after beating Watford 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Goals from Shkdodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ensured the Hornets continued their dismal form away from home, having gone nine matches without a win from Vicarage Road. The Gunners, on the other hand, make it two straight victories since a run of four straight defeats.
After taking the lead in the eighth minute, the hosts entered a state of complacency typical of late-Wenger Arsenal. While Watford produced genuine chances to level, they failed to convert. Shortly after the Gunners got their second, the Hornets put themselves in a position to get back in the match via a penalty. However, Petr Cech saved Troy Deeney’s’spotkick en route to an extraordinary accomplishment. Then Mkhitaryan capped off the win with his debut goal at the Emirates and we’ll now proceed to discuss the takeaways from the match.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 11, 2018
Troy Deeney comment backfires
After Watford’s win over Arsenal at Vicarage Road last October, Deeney claimed that the Gunners lacked the “cojones” to play in big games against real men. Unfortunately for the Hornets skipper, his side slumped to a defeat at the Emirates, paving the way for Arsenal fans and players alike to rip into Deeney.
What added more fuel to the fire was that the striker actually had the best chance for Javi Gracia’s side to claw their way back into the match via a penalty. But Deeney struck a poor penalty, sending it centrally that made it easy for Cech to parry away. This moment ultimately transformed the atmosphere at the stadium – from a subdued Emirates crowd to an ecstatic one.
BREAKING: Petr Cech SAVES a penalty for Arsenal. 😱
….absolutely ZERO cojones from Troy Deeney. 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/QL5qBf2HyY
— SPORF (@Sporf) March 11, 2018
Wenger turns attention to Europa League
Mathematically, Arsenal still has a chance to nick into the top four, but in reality, it is very slim. They are sixth in the standings, twelve points off the Champions league places, not to mention eight points off fifth-placed Chelsea. And with only eight league games remaining, it is fair to say that Arsene Wenger has concentrated his side’s push for Champions League football next season to the Europa League.
We’ll see how Arsenal lined up for this match. The Arsenal manager made six changes to the side that beat Milan last Thursday. The most notable inclusions in the starting eleven were Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi. These squad members, often utilised for cup competitions, got Wenger’s nod and now featured in league action.
On the other hand, Jack Wilshere started from the bench while Laurent Koscielny was rested. Wenger’s reshuffling of the squad means the Frenchman has one eye on the second leg against AC Milan on Thursday. He needs his starters fresh and ready if Arsenal are to go all the way in Europe’s second-tier club competition.
700 – Arsene Wenger registered his 700th Arsenal win, in what was his 1,222nd match in charge of the Gunners. Legacy. pic.twitter.com/NJA5LnEvSP
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2018
Arsenal emanate feeling of vulnerability even with a one-goal advantage
The Gunners couldn’t have had a better start to the game after Mustafi’s opening header eight minutes in but rather than build on the advantage, the Arsenal players seemed to slip into wastefulness. At the end of the first half, they could have been up by three or four. But Aubameyang slid in late to reach a Sead Kolasinac low cross, Iwobi sent a miserable curling effort over and Mesut Ozil failed to sort his feet in time to finish more clinically against Orestis Karnezis.
Indeed, Watford kept the match close. They dominated possession after the opening goal and fashioned many opportunities to score. Richarlison came close on two occasions, both his freekick and header almost creeping into the bottom left corner, and Ricardo Pereyra as well, who sent the rebound from Richarlison’s freekick over from the edge of the six-yard box.
The second goal from Aubameyang should have settled the Gunners faithful but shortly after, Arsenal managed to get themselves into trouble again when Ainsley Maitland-Niles impeded Pereyra in the box. But Deeney missed the spotkick, allowing the Gunners a huge sigh of relief, before Mkhitaryan put the cherry on top for Arsenal.
To conclude, their latest performance looked representative of the Arsenal of recent years. They start brightly then embark on a mid-season breakdown, which completely veers them off course before a resurgent but ultimately late and pointless push.
Petr Cech reaches 200 clean sheets in the Premier League
As Arsenal went two nil up, Arsene Wenger’s side had all but secured three points in the match. But there was one question that remained. Will Cech got the shutout he needed to reach a milestone of 200 clean sheets in the Premier League? It is a feat yet to be achieved. But, finally, after twelve league games since his last shutout, the former Chelsea stopper secured the remarkable achievement.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 12, 2018
He did it in an outstanding fashion as well as he had to stop a Deeney penalty in the process. After which, the Arsenal keeper looked intensely imperial. He constantly barked at his teammates to keep their focus while defending in the box and during set pieces. The outfield players listened to Cech and rightly earned their keeper a page in the history books.