Monday 22 July 2019

Late sting in the tail enough for Arsenal to beat the Hornets

Watford seen off as Unai Emery’s side continue winning ways.

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was on the scoresheet against Watford (Yui Mok/PA)
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was on the scoresheet against Watford (Yui Mok/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Two late goals were enough to give Arsenal a fifth consecutive Premier League win as they saw off a spirited Watford at the Emirates Stadium.

Second-best for parts of the contest, Unai Emery’s side survived a number of scares and an injury to goalkeeper Petr Cech before securing the points late on with a 2-0 victory.

An 81st-minute Craig Cathcart own goal saw the hosts hit the front before Mesut Ozil tucked home just two minutes later to secure the points.

Aaron Ramsey started for the Gunners despite news breaking earlier in the week that negotiations over a new deal had collapsed.

The Wales international now looks destined to leave either in January or at the end of the season, with Emery insisting the ongoing uncertainty will not affect Ramsey on the pitch, although he was largely anonymous before being replaced by Alex Iwobi after the break.

Alexandre Lacazette wanted an early Arsenal penalty with referee Anthony Taylor unmoved and minutes later the forward spurned a golden opportunity, beating Cathcart to the ball but then sending a deft chip wide of Ben Foster’s goal.

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Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech was unable to finish the match (Yui Mok/PA)

Granit Xhaka forced Foster into his first meaningful action of the afternoon, arrowing in a shot from the edge of the box which the Watford goalkeeper turned behind.

Cech injured himself on the stroke of half-time pulling up after taking a goal-kick and being replaced by Bernd Leno – the summer signing making his Premier League debut.

The German goalkeeper had an instant impact, getting down low to tip Deeney’s effort wide following a set-piece from the visitors.

Arsenal were not playing fluent football and, when they did threaten, they proved wasteful in front of goal.

Lucas Torreira, booked in the first half for a late challenge on Deeney, played in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whose cross was headed wide by Lacazette.

Watford could sense an opportunity to capitalise on a fairly poor performance from their hosts, Roberto Pereyra attempting a finish from an acute angle but sending it wide after Leno had done well to race off his line and stop an Andre Gray effort.

Rob Holding, making his first Premier League start of the season, had to be brave to block a strike from Hornets substitute Isaac Success just moments after he had replaced Gray.

Success came even closer shortly afterwards, latching onto a perfectly-weighted Deeney pass but seeing his effort clip the post.

Emery’s side weathered the storm and took the lead in fortuitous circumstances as Cathcart turned an Iwobi cross past Foster at his near-post while trying to prevent Lacazette scoring.

The second goal followed soon after as Ozil, moved into the centre after the ineffectual Ramsey had been substituted, tucked home from Lacazette’s centre.

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