Highlights and report as Arsenal squander 2-0 lead on Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford return
Last Updated: 15/09/19 6:48pm
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Watford’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League.
Arsenal threw away a 2-0 lead at Watford through defensive errors as Quique Sanchez Flores’ side earned a 2-2 draw in the first game of his second spell.
A typically expert finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had Arsenal ahead (21) despite Watford’s calls for a foul in the build-up, and the Gabon striker made it 2-0 shortly after with a simple finish from a fine Gunners move (32).
Watford halved the deficit just after the break through Tom Cleverley as Sokratis was caught playing out from the back (53), and Arsenal shot themselves in the foot again as David Luiz tripped sub Roberto Pereyra in the area, and he duly dispatched the penalty (81).
Watford should have won it in a chaotic final 15 minutes, but the thrilling affair ended level, meaning Arsenal stay seventh on eight points from five games, while Watford stay bottom but with their confidence back.
Aubameyang was at his deadly best in the first period
Though Arsenal looked clinical in the final third in the first half, they faced 31 shots at their goal, the most they have ever faced in a Premier League fixture since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003/04.
Quique made two changes to his first line-up in his second spell at Watford; Gerard Deulofeu and Etienne Capoue came in, replacing Roberto Pereyra and the injured Craig Cathcart.
Arsenal also made two changes; Mesut Ozil returned for the injured Alexandre Lacazette, while Dani Ceballos replaced Lucas Torreira, who was on the bench.
After a fine reception for returning boss Quique, Watford were on top in the early stages, going closest through Tom Cleverley’s long-range effort tipped over the bar by Bernd Leno, as Arsenal struggled to get tight.
But the Gunners took the lead with their first meaningful attack. Watford pleaded for a free-kick on halfway as Dani Ceballos robbed Will Hughes, but play continued as Sead Kolasinac fed Aubameyang, whose emphatic touch and low shot beat Ben Foster. VAR Daniel Cook briefly looked, but was satisfied with the initial decision, unlike Watford fans.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates his second goal away to Watford
It was 2-0 just 11 minutes later as Mesut Ozil, playing his first minutes this season, brilliantly fed Ainsley Maitland-Niles in-behind the defence on the right of the box, and his centre was simple for Aubameyang to turn home. Though the striker took the glory, both Maitland-Niles’ run and Ozil’s spot were impressive.
Having nearly been caught out playing out from the back in the first half, Arsenal didn’t learn their lesson. Sokratis’ forward pass from six yards out after a Leno goal kick was intercepted by Gerard Deulofeu, and the ball fell kindly for Cleverley to sweep home. Replays showed Deulofeu was in the box when the goal-kick was taken, but the goal stood.
Gerard Deulofeu looked to be inside the area when the Bernd Leno’s goal kick was taken
Watford then had their tails up, peppering Leno’s goal from all angles, as Arsenal brought on Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Lucas Torreira for Dani Ceballos, Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi in an attempt to shut down the contest.
Watford sub Ismaila Sarr went close, dragging wide as he turned with his back to goal following Deulofeu’s cute pass, but they got the goal their pressure deserved through another Luiz mishap.
The Brazilian was outdone by Pereyra’s tricky feed just inside the box, and it was the Argentine himself who dusted himself off to slot bottom left corner for 2-2.
The roof would have lifted off Vicarage Road had Deulofeu not missed the far post by inches just minutes later, or had Leno not saved from Abdoulaye Doucoure at point-blank range, but it somehow ended level despite the chaos of the ‘you have a go, we have a go’ final 15 minutes.
Opta statsThis was the first time that Arsenal failed to win a Premier League match in which they were at least two goals ahead since April 2016 when they drew 3-3 with West Ham, and the first time Watford avoided defeat in the league after being at least two goals behind since January 2018 v Southampton (2-2).Since the start of last season, Arsenal’s players have made a combined 14 errors leading to opposition goals in the Premier League, at least two more than any other club in this time.Since the start of last season, no side has conceded more goals via penalties in the Premier League than Arsenal (10 – level with Brighton), with the Gunners already conceding three this season alone.What’s next?
Arsenal go to Eintracht Frankfurt in their first Europa League group-stage clash on Thursday at 5.55pm, before hosting Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday at 4.30pm. Watford go to champions Manchester City in the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday.
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