Arsenal players rated from their win over Watford
A buoyant Arsenal faced Watford at home after securing a win against AC Milan at San Siro. In an exciting first half, Arsenal continued their dominant performance for the first 35 minutes of the match.
The team looked pretty sharp with their passing an were surprisingly direct. Defensively, they looked cohesive and clear about their roles. The sturdiness of the defence showed when they survived a Watford onslaught late in the first half to take a lead into halftime.
Shkodran Mustafi opened the scoring for the Gunners inside the opening 10 minutes before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored twice in the second half to seal the points. Petre Cech also put in a stellar display as he saved Troy Deeney's penalty in the second half.
Here are the player ratings for the home team...
Petr Cech: 7
Cech did have a few jittery moments early on as he seemed a bit troubled during setpieces. In the second half, however, his performance improved drastically. His best contribution to the game was his penalty save, his first in 16 attempts in an Arsenal shirt.
He accurately predicted Troy Deeney's shot and though it was a sort of behind him, he managed to get a strong hand to it. Other than that, his accuracy in goal kicks has to improve.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7
Playing in an unfamiliar position, Maitland-Niles started as a right-back and showed his capability of playing in that position. He was strong and energetic going forward. At the same time, he excelled while defending, always getting back in time to thwart attacks on the flanks.
However, it was his indecisiveness and hesitation that led to Arsenal giving away an unnecessary penalty. With time, though, his reactions will get better.
Rob Holding: 7.5
The youngster made a Premier League start for the first time in quite a long time. He was named in the lineup after Laurent Koscielny was given a rest ahead of their match against AC Milan. The former Bolton Wanderers man was brilliant in the air and alert at all times. His partnership with Mustafi worked pretty well.
In the second half, Holding's positioning and blocks were critical in helping secure Arsenal's clean sheet.
Shkodran Mustafi: 8
The German international scored his third Premier League goal of the season. He was unmarked for the goal and placed his header so well that Orestis Karnezis could have done nothing about it.
At the back, Mustafi threw himself into tackles and made a crucial interception to prevent Watford from grabbing a goal. In the process, he got himself a booking before he was substituted due to injury.
Sead Kolasinac: 7.5
Picking himself up where he left off from the AC Milan match, Kolasinac had another wonderful night. Though he was pretty adventurous in the game, Kolasinac has to work on his crosses. Once again, his final delivery left a lot to be desired.
In the second half, Kolasinac had a lot of defending to do as Watford emerged stronger after the break. However, owing to his pace and build, he didn't find it hard dealing with the Watford attacks.
Mohamed Elneny: 7.5
He was pretty tenacious and formed a good partnership with Granit Xhaka. It was a surprise that Wenger chose to play two central midfielders, but in hindsight, the move worked.
Elneny's game was not all just about defending. He illustrated his willingness to go forward and aid his team in attack. His passes forward were vital in getting the ball quickly to the attacking-minded players. The Egyptian will likely keep his position for the Europa League match after his good showing.
Granit Xhaka: 7.5
It was another disciplined game from Xhaka. He highlighted his potential in terms of defending. Most of the time, he was seen tracking back and getting into the correct positions to protect Arsenal's goal. He did not ditch his defensive responsibilities like he often did in the first half of the season.
Alex Iwobi: 6.5
Iwobi was one of the less influential players on the pitch. He did not have a significant impact on the match and was withdrawn in the 65th minute for Danny Welbeck. The one good chance he had ended up with the ball in the stands. Unless he improves, there's no reason why he should start games.
Mesut Ozil: 8.5
The German provided a sumptuous cross for his compatriot Mustafi and was pretty involved in the side's attacking forays. He could have on the scoresheet if not for Karnezis' save.
He showed his frustration when Alex Iwobi failed to find him with a simple pass but it clearly showed his passion for the game. This win was not just significant for the team but also for him and his doubters. Ozil was creative spearhead yesterday.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 8
The Armenian combined well Aubameyang and showed the fans a glimpse of what he is capable of when in full flow.
Mkhitaryan improved to a certain extent in terms of defending as well. He was getting back far more regularly albeit not being able to help much. However, an extra man in defence is always better than not having an additional player. Should have had a penalty but the referee didn't have the best of games and bottled the decision.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8
Aubameyang has had a tough start to his Arsenal career but he put in one of his better displays against Watford. In the first half alone, Aubameyang could have scored a brace. As early as the second minute, he was given a golden opportunity but failed to convert the chance.
A weakness in his play is that Aubameyang is finding it hard to hold the ball up front. Unlike Olivier Giroud, the former Dortmund player loses possession far too quickly.
Apart from that, he excels in getting into the right positions. He finished the game with an assist for Arsenal's third goal.
Danny Welbeck: 5
Replacing Alex Iwobi, Welbeck didn't fare all that better. He struggled against Watford's defenders and could not find the right Arsenal player to pass the ball.
His goal drought is worrying and Welbeck looks nowhere near scoring. Though he is pretty fit, the Englishman has to work on his finishing.
Calum Chambers: 6
Chambers came on for Mustafi in the 72nd minute but he was less busy as compared to the latter. The result had largely been determined by the time he came on and he managed to slot into the defence well enough to help keep a clean sheet.
Jack Wilshere: N/A
Wilshere replaced Mkhitaryan in the 77th minute. He attempted to extend Arsenal's lead by getting forward.