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Arsenal 1-0 Watford: Player ratings as Emile Smith Rowe strike fires Gunners into the top-five | Premier League 2021-22

Smith Rowe fired the Gunners into top-five!
Smith Rowe fired the Gunners into top-five!
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST

Arsenal climbed into the top-five of the Premier League for the first time this season after beating 10-man Watford 1-0 at the Emirates.

Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal of the game in the second-half as Juraj Kucka saw a red for the visitors late on.

In a gripping opening stanza, Bukayo Saka saw a goal ruled out for offside before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty was saved by Ben Foster.

Their continued pressure eventually paid off, with the Gunners going in front in the 56th minute when Smith Rowe drilled a low shot into the back of the net.

Aubameyang appeared to have doubled Arsenal's advantage midway through the second-half but he was offside, with VAR duly chalking the goal off.

Joshua King then found a golden opportunity to equalize for the Bees when Aaron Ramsdale failed to control the ball, but the striker ended up firing into the sidenetting.

Mikel Arteta's side upped the ante further in stoppage-time but the visitors held firm, with Foster also making some important saves.

Arsenal, on the back of a third consecutive win, climbed above Manchester United into fifth place, level with West Ham, who play Liverpool later in the evening.

Arsenal move ahead of Man United 📈👀 https://t.co/QAvWGOSFrr

What a massive turnaround for them since losing the opening three games of the season!

Here are the player ratings for Arsenal:


Aaron Ramsdale - 6/10

A comfortable evening for Ramsdale as Watford rarely threatened. However, he made a huge mistake towards the end which nearly led to an equalizer from King.


Takehiro Tomiyasu - 7.5/10

A lively attacking presence in the first-half, driving forward with poise and purpose, and laying two key passes too. But it never came at the cost of his defensive duties as he made four clearances, six tackles and won six ground duels too.


Ben White - 7.5/10

He played a big role in keeping King quiet apart from that moment late on whilst also getting involved in Smith Rowe's goal.


Gabriel - 7/10

He gave the ball away at times and also saw a nicely placed header saved by Foster. He coped well with Watford's forwards overall.


Nuno Tavares - 6.5/10

He struggled to get involved much in the opening stanza but looked livelier in the second-half, even producing a nice little dribble before getting hacked down by Kucka.


Bukayo Saka - 7/10

He frustrated Watford's attempt to build from the back with his Terrier-like pressing, even jumping into a few tackles. However, Saka was unlucky to see his early opener ruled out.


Albert Lokonga - 6.5/10

The young Belgian showed his passing range and provided an excellent defensive screen for the back-four. He also saw a venomous effort parried away by Foster in stoppage-time.


Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 7.5/10

He came into the team for the injured Thomas Partey and justified his inclusion today with an energetic, confident and encouraging performance. He made tackles too, some of which halted Watford's transitions.


Emile Smith Rowe - 7.5/10

Much of the game flew past him but when presented with a chance, Smith Rowe made the most of it. He slotted home from close range to net the only goal of the match.

⚽️ vs Aston Villa⚽️ vs Leicester⚽️ vs WatfordEmile Smith Rowe is the youngest Arsenal player to score in three consecutive Premier League games since Cesc Fábregas. ✨ https://t.co/r5ElD7g43A

Alexandre Lacazette - 7/10

He helped win a penalty in the first-half which Aubameyang wasted and was generally good in the attack.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 6.5/10

The prolific Gabonese saw a penalty saved in the first-half and a goal ruled out in the second. Tough luck today.

4 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has failed to score from four of his 13 Premier League penalties for Arsenal; only Ian Wright missed more for the club in the competition (six), although Wright took nine more such penalties than the Gabonese forward. Nervy.

Substitutes


Martin Odegaard - 6/10

He appeared to have assisted Aubameyang with Arsenal's second goal but the striker was offside and it was ruled out. Still a great cross though.


Mohamed Elneny - N/A

The Egyptian came on to merely close the game off.


Gabriel Martinelli - N/A

It was just another of his trademark two-minute appearances. Nothing special.


Edited by Prem Deshpande

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