Arsenal v Watford Review- Why Gunners will keep on improving under Emery
Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners against Watford, but the win was tougher than the scoreline suggested. In the first half, Watford tried to stifle the Gunners attack and you could say they succeeded, as clear-cut chances that came the way of Arsenal were few and far between.
The only real chance of note was Alexandre Lacazette one-on-one with the keeper when through on goal, but he narrowly missed scoring as his attempts to lob the ball over the onrushing keeper was just some centimetres from going into the net.
However, it must be said that Unai Emery tactical work with the team off the field is paying dividends. Here are some things we noticed:-
#1 Our perceived improvement at set piece
The Gunners seemed to be gradually getting over on of their Achilles heel over the past few years-defending from set-piece. In the game against Watford, not only were the gunners organised at defending set pieces, which Watford tried to use with the likes of Troy Deeney and Gray. Both goalkeepers were exceptional when called upon from set piece.
Petr Cech did very well before being substituted because of the injury. In the first half, Jose Holebas,swung in a corner which the former Chelsea goalkeeper came out confidently to punch clear form the danger area and on a couple of occasions when called upon, the veteran keeper did not disappoint.
After Cech went off in the dying seconds of the first half, few were sceptical about Bernd Leno's ability to be commanding in his area like Cech. The German shot stopper did not disappoint.
When called upon, he was up to the task, punching clear any dangerous ball whipped into the 18-yard box. He was plucky and made a fabulous save to deny Troy Deeney volley early in the second half. Another noticeable thing was his quick feet across the ground and it came to bare when he raced out of his line to narrow the angle on the opposition strikers, which saw him deny Nigerian striker Isaac Success on a one-on-one situation.
#2 The introduction of Alex Iwobi
The Nigerian international was introduced in the second half by Emery and it proved to be the tonic they needed to turn the game on its head when the game still stood at 0-0. Alex Iwobi provided the assist for Cathcart's own goal and had a hand in the second goal which led to Mesut Ozil.
The way Emery reads the game and bring on substitutes from the bench has really caught the eye of the Arsenal faithfuls.
Lastly, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had minimal impact in the first half playing down the left wing. However, in the second half, apparently from Emery, he moved to the right hand side and closer to Alexandre Lacazette and had a little more impact in the second half which his speedy runs into the box.
Emery tactical tweaks during games has helped the gunners see off opposition this season and one can only hope it will get better as the season progresses.
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 19:02 IST