Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Tom Cleverley eyes Stamford Bridge shock after rocking Arsenal with late strike

Tom Cleverley (centre) scored his first Watford goal in over seven years to beat Arsenal on Saturday.
Tom Cleverley (centre) scored his first Watford goal in over seven years to beat Arsenal on Saturday.

Tom Cleverley has set his sights on champions Chelsea after striking the last-gasp winner as Watford came from behind to beat Arsenal.

The Hornets moved into the Premier League top four with a 2-1 win over Arsene Wenger's side, with former Manchester United man Cleverley pouncing in stoppage time.

Arsenal had gone in front at Vicarage Road through Per Mertesacker's header but the hosts levelled when substitute Troy Deeney drove home a controversial penalty.

It was Watford who were then pushing for the winner as Etienne Capoue's strike deflected off Mertesacker and onto the post.

Cleverley went one better in the dying embers of the contest, lashing home a loose ball inside the box to score his first Watford goal in over seven and a half years.

Now the 13-cap England international wants another scalp next Saturday as Marco Silva's side travel to champions Chelsea, sitting ahead of the Blues in the table.

"We have only lost once this season against by the far the best team in the league (Manchester City) so we can go there with confidence," Cleverley told the club's official website.

"We know it will be a really tough game, we have to be really organised and focused but we will be back to work on Monday to hopefully get a good result next Saturday."

Cleverley's last Watford goal came during a loan spell from United in March 2010, a strike against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, and the 28-year-old was delighted to end that run.

"Last time I was here I scored a few goals and you get a real buzz but a last-minute winner against Arsenal ... it was definitely worth the wait for my goal since I have come back," he added.

"It is by far the best moment I have had since I have been back. My first game I hit the post but that was even sweeter, a last-minute winner."

Arsenal saw a four-match winning run across all competitions come to a disappointing end after Mertesacker's first Premier League goal in 1400 days had given them the lead in Hertfordshire.

The Gunners are now sixth in the table and are still yet to win on the road, with a trip to Everton awaiting next weekend.

Mertesacker's rare goal came on his first league start in over 18 months but the Arsenal skipper was left wanting more from himself and his team-mates.

"I have to do better next time," he said.

"You know when we got the ball we missed a chance, but we missed as well to play, we missed it completely.

"That's what we did really well in the first half, where we regained possession, kept possession, that was really good. In the second half we just wasted the ball and that's obviously not enough."

Press Association

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