EPL 2018/19 - Arsenal v Watford: Post Match Observations
The Gunners failed to create any real goal scoring opportunity in the first half, although Alexandre Lacazette did miss a golden opportunity to put the Gunners ahead when he was one-on-one with Ben Forster.
However,as seen in matches this season under Unai Emery, Arsenal stepped up a gear in the second half and caused Watford some problems, and to be fair, the Hornets had chances of their own. Here are some observations from the game:
#1 Sokratis/Holding partnership will look more solid
Rob Holding should start games now for Arsenal,the Englishman was once more again solid in defense. He made seven interceptions, three clearances and nine recoveries. He was indeed massive for the gunners at the back, unlike his centre-back partner Mustafi, who was caught napping on some occasions.
One of Holding's strong points is composure when defending; he brings calmness to the defense. His partnership with Sokratis will be better off than Mustafi's. Sokratis has improved steadily with each passing game and you get the feeling that his partnership with Holding should provide Arsenal with a much more solid defense.
2 Emery's tactical know-how is impressive
Unai Emery has proved once more again to be an intelligent coach who reads the game so well. This season has proven that Emery is a tactical genius in the football world.
Against Cardiff City earlier this season, he brought on Lucas Torreira who provided the assist for Alexandre Lacazette to score the winner. In the match against West Ham at the Emirates, he brought on Welbeck, who sealed the game. Today he brought on Alex Iwobi, who who was involved in Arsenal's two goals in the game.
After the game, Rob Holding did mention that Emery is instilling the "winning" mentality. Holding said, "The manager has said he wanted to bring in a winning mentality to the club."
Emery was seen in the game dishing out instructions in a very animated way.
#3 Leno is an able deputy to Cech
The goalkeeper came in late in the first half for the injured Petr Cech. He made a series of saves, including one against Troy Deeney in the second half. His availability in the next few games may give the Gunners the boost to build on Unai Emery's style of playing out from the back, as well as improve the goalkeeper's confidence.
I was particularly impressed with the way Unai Emery kept the team on their toes from the touchline and of course the way the team fought physically with Watford despite not playing particularly well. They provided a response to critics who believed lacked the self-will to fight for points in the Premier League.
It is obvious Unai Emery has really worked on this team and one can only imagine they will continue to improve as the season progresses. Arsenal are beginning to look like a team that are in for a shot at the Champions League places, and hopefully they can clinch it.