A re-energized third-placed Arsenal side thrashed Watford by four goals to keep up the pressure on the top two teams in the Premier League. Two goals each in both halves were enough to see off the struggling visitors.
Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring for the hosts inside 5 minutes and Alex Iwobi scored his second goal in as many games to put the Gunners 2-0 ahead at half-time. Hector Bellerin’s shot was deflected into the net at the start of the second period, whereas Theo Walcott scored at 90 minutes to get the Gunners a comfortable 4-0 victory.
The win puts Arsenal at 58 points, 3 points behind Tottenham and 8 points behind leaders Leicester City. Watford, meanwhile, slipped to their fourth defeat in a row in the league, dropping to the 14th spot on the table with 37 points.
Here is how the players from both sides fared:
David Ospina – 8
The Colombian shotstopper was very well protected by the outfield players throughout the game. He had very little to do and when he did have to make the efforts, he did so with full confidence and made the saves.
His most important contribution coming in the 70th minute when Troy Deeney found himself in the box, where he turned and shot at goal. The shot was well saved by Ospina and he kept the cleansheet.
Hector Bellerin – 8
The Spaniard was brilliant throughout the game on all fronts. He went past the Watford defenders on numerous occasions when going forward and defended well with his speed when required to defend.
He did not let many crosses get into the box from his flank. Bellerin managed to get a goal for himself when he linked up with Sanchez on the right in the second half and shot at Gomes’ goal, which was deflected into the net by Watson.
Gabriel Paulista – 7
The Brazilian was solid at the back and seems to have developed a good understanding with his partner Koscielny. He did not allow much space to Ighalo in the first half, but was at fault when Deeney got space to turn and get his shot away.
During the second half, when Amrabat came on, he did look rusty at times, but did well to protect the keeper. In the end it was an assured performance from the defender.
Laurent Koscielny – 7
The Frenchman was well tested throughout the game by the likes of Deeney and Amrabat. But he delivered when he was required to. He made some crucial interceptions and did not allow much space for the strikers to work with. He was quick to react to the runs made by Deeney and Ighalo. He had a good game along with his backline.
Nacho Monreal – 7
The leftback was very quiet when going forward in the first half. But as the game progressed, he made some darting overlaps to create chances for his team. His defending was up to the mark whenever Amrabat and Nyom had the ball. His clearance off the line in the early stages of the second half was crucial in keeping the cleansheet intact.
Francis Coquelin – 8
The Frenchman had a good game in the middle of the park. He broke up the Watford attacks regularly and got the ball back inside a few passes which restricted the visitors. He was quick to intercept and make tackles in the middle of the park, and won the possession back for the Gunners regularly. His no-look pass to Sanchez for Arsenal’s second goal was brilliant.
Mohamed Elneny – 7
He did well throughout the game in the middle for Arsenal. He was solid at the heart of midfield as he broke up the play and retained possession for the hosts with assurity. His passing and link-up play with Ozil and Sanchez was also worth noticing.
Mesut Ozil – 8
After having been in the news for his comments on Arsenal messing up the title challenge, Ozil had to put in a shift for his side. And he did that with flying colours as he produced a wonderful performance.
His vision and passing was always at the best, and he showed the crowd some tricks on the ball which was loved by the Emirates faithfull. He had two good chances to score but could not finish. However, his early pass to Campbell in the dying moments got Arsenal their fourth goal.
Alexis Sanchez – 8
The Chilean was going through a rough spell recently, but he has turned it around. His performance against Watford was there for all to see. He started the game on the front foot as he scored inside the first five minutes.
As the game progressed, he got more involved and was energetic throughout. His tricks and skills were consistent and gave the Watford players a headache. He assisted Iwobi for the second goal as well.
Alex Iwobi – 7
It was a typical Alex Iwobi performance again, he started the game brightly and linked up well with Ozil and Alexis. He was always in control and played on the righter side of midfield.
His pass to Alexis led to the first goal. And he rounded that up by scoring his second in two games for the Gunners when Alexis found him inside the box with a precise pull-back. He was taken off prematurely and was replaced by Theo Walcott.
Danny Welbeck – 6
The English striker could not manage to make the most of the opportunities but he was good throughout. He was sharp and helped in the attacks. He had a good partnership with Iwobi and had plenty of chances throughout the game. He was taken off and replaced by Olivier Giroud.
Olivier Giroud – 6
The French striker replaced Welbeck and did not have much to do except the one time he directed an Ozil corner at goal, which was saved by Gomes.
Theo Walcott – 7
Walcott came on to replace Iwobi and got a late goal for himself. He was always involved in the game and played well.
Joel Campbell – 7
The Costa Rican came on for Alexis and did not have many chances to impress. But he assisted Walcott in the fourth goal for Arsenal.