EPL 2016-17: Watford 1-3 Arsenal – 5 Talking Points

arsene wenger
Wenger can now breathe  a sigh of relief
Sourav Saha

The familiar smile was back on the grizzled face, the restrained expression of victory as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners on a Saturday afternoon at the Vicarage road. With Robert Pereyra, providing something to cheer about with a well-taken 57th-minute goal in reply to the blistering display by Arsenal in the first half, where Cazorla, Ozil and Sanchez registered themselves on the score- sheet.

With six Watford players getting themselves into the referee’s book in comparison to Arsenal’s solitary booking, one can deduce that the Watford were amply pulled apart by the Arsenal team.

#1 Pressure eases off from Arsene

The past few weeks of the opening season, to be polite to Arsene, have been taxing given his recent record in the transfer market and the Premier League. But on Friday evening, Arsene was back to his old self, making mischief and looked a whole lot relaxed.

The mood seemed infectious, as the Arsenal players on Saturday raised the bar of creativity, were clinical finishers and displayed the kind of football, which makes one wonder whether the team is competing with the opposition or competing within them.

In a clinical first half display, the Gunners were relentless from the opening minutes having recognized the defensive fragilities that currently ail Watford. With a penalty being awarded to Arsenal within the first 10 minutes, it allowed them to take charge of the game and from there on it was Arsenal who took control of the tie.

With the signings of Perez and Mustafi all but confirmed, suddenly this Arsenal side is looking rejuvenated.

#2 Defensive absences add to Mazzarri’s woes

walter mazzarri

The Italian arrived in the Premier League as an unknown quantity given the lack of knowledge of English football. Over the years, in Italy, he is known as a revered figure and a well-respected coach with the ability to organize teams into a shape which in effect translates into a counter-attacking style of play.

On Saturday afternoon, the home team looked overwhelmed. Cathcart and Britos were missing absent and with Kaboul and Kabasele partnering Prodl, there was bound to be defensive lapses, given their last minute inductions. The miscommunication became more apparent when Watford’s failure to deal with the chipped pass (the second one in the space of three minutes) led to Amrabat fouling Sanchez and thus allowing Arsenal to settle into the game.

The hero over the past two games, Etienne Capoue also looked a bit underwhelming and his only effort was the shot from a Janmat cross which resulted in Pereyra dispatching the ball into the net to restore some respectability to the score-line.

#3 Alexis Sanchez appreciates the quality service

alexis sanchez

Pace!! Pace!! Pace!!! At times, Sanchez seems to have bundles and bundles of energy which need harnessing. On Saturday, the Chilean was liberated with the role up front. He seemed liberated and most importantly, there was Ozil who could spot the Chilean’s runs and moves.

Sanchez’s role in all the three goals ensured a perfect afternoon for himself and his team. While the second goal might not have been the perfect way to score, it eventually did go in and doubled the team’s lead. The icing though was the pass to pick out Ozil for the third and final goal at the end of first half, which sealed the game.

With Perez, the new signing from Deportiva on his way to Arsenal, Sanchez will hope that the forward will be able to grab the defence’s attention in order for him to run into the openings. The pace of Sanchez and the vision of Ozil will have to be more instrumental if Arsenal are to break their title drought.

#4 New signings for Watford will strengthen side


Daryl Janmat, Roberto Pereyra and Isaac Success were some of the few players introduced to life in the Premier League with Watford on Saturday. While it is too early to say, but the significant signing could be that of Janmat, the Dutch defender.

The former Juventus man, Roberto Pereyra, was quick to make his mark in the game scoring 12 minutes into his debut and the impressive Janmat did bring some organization to the Watford side. The additional firepower to the already existing duo of Ighalo and club-captain Deeney will ensure that Mazzarri has an attacking personnel in his side to score the goals.

Defence though remains a concern and the teams enterprising play has to be balanced with the need to gain points as well. The international break will give Mazzarri an opportunity to work with the side and improve the tactical side of Watford’s game.

Obviously, the bewildering turnover of managers has been responsible for some stuttered growth but growth nevertheless. Watford will hope that the new signings aside, the vision of all the parties involved are on par with each other to ensure Watford’s continuity and upward trajectory.

#5 Result leaves both teams at different ends of the table

mesut ozil

Saturday’s afternoon ensured that Arsenal go into the international break with 4 points, which leaves them 7th on the table. Not bad for a club considered to be in crisis (although Hull City fans are more in a position to call their current predicament a crisis). With six goals, from their opening three fixtures, Arsenal have shown that attacking the goal is not where the problem lies.

Watford, on the other hand, dropped down to 18th in the table and with only a point to show for all their efforts. If last Saturday’s loss at Chelsea was unlucky, then the defeat against Arsenal was a comprehensive one. Watford would do well to learn from their mistakes and hope that a slow start won’t affect them over the course of the season.

With matches to come against West Ham United, and Manchester United after the international break, Mazzarri knows that the path ahead is not easy. Instead, time with his team over the next couple of weeks will be crucial in being able to organize them.

Edited by Staff Editor


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