Arsenal the avengers over Watford
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal looked to avenge their cup exit at the hands of Watford as the Hornets returned to the Emirates stadium beginning of April for a Premier League confrontation with the Gunners and it was Arsenal that got off to a prefect start with just four minutes on the clock when Alex Iwobi’s left wing cross was met by a header from Alexis Sanchez and Watford keeper, Heurelho Gomes, could only claw the ball back to Sanchez, who tucked his effort into the net from close range. Three minutes later from a cross on the right by Sanchez, a looping header from Nacho Monreal was skied over the crossbar. On thirteen minutes, Sanchez again turned creator as he found Danny Welbeck in space, whose effort struck the heels of Allan Nyom. The Gunners pressed again, first as a pull back by Welbeck was met with a stinging dipping shot by Iwobi that was theatrically kept out by Gomes and then from a ball over on the right by Mesut Ozil as a low drive by Welbeck, was turned behind at his near post by Gomes. On twenty four minutes, after Ozil was pushed over by Nyom, a bending free kick by Sanchez, forced Gomes into a full length save to his right as he parried the ball away for a corner. Finally the Arsenal dominance produced a second goal as Francis Coquelin slid a pass through to Sanchez on the right, who cut the ball back to Iwobi, who drove home a low measured strike past a stranded Gomes, in the thirty eighth minute. Watford made an enforced change by replacing Etienne Capoue with Ikechi Anya, in a first half where the Hornets had been run ragged. After half time, Nordin Amrabat took the place of Odion Ighalo, but the Gunners started where they left off, as Sanchez combined with Hector Bellerin, and when a poor header away by Nyom went back to Bellerin, his strike took a deflection off Ben Watson, to leave Gomes flat footed, as the ball went past him on forty eight minutes. It could have been four in the fiftieth minute, as Sanchez opened the way for Iwobi, whose first time effort cannoned against the crossbar, before Ozil fired over. Two minutes later, Sanchez cleared the path for Ozil, whose delicate touch was kept out by Gomes, who had more work to do moments later as Iwobi put a ball through to Sanchez, who strode forward before hitting a drive that Gomes palmed away at full stretch. After Amrabat was tugged by Laurent Koscielny, a free kick by Watson was knocked on by the Hornets captain, Troy Deeney and a goal bound header by Sebastian Prodl was hooked away from the line by Monreal before another Deeney headed pass found Ake, who steered the ball wide. Later on, the Gunners switched Welbeck with Olivier Giroud while the Golden Boys took off Almen Abdi for Adlene Guedioura. Then on seventy minutes from a delivery by Ake near the left side line, on the turn Deeney’s bending strike was turned away by the acrobatics of David Ospina. In the next three minutes from an Ozil corner, a cushioned header by Giroud was caught from under the crossbar by Gomes, before Arsenal brought on Theo Walcott for Iwobi and soon took off Sanchez for Joel Campbell. After an offence by Mohamed Elneny on Amrabat, a short free kick by Watson to Guedioura, deflected wide of the Gunners wall and then in quick succession after Anya’s inter play to Guedioura, his rasping effort flew behind the back of the goal. Towards the end, a three way combination with Ozil, Campbell and then Giroud, could not be converted past Gomes but just outlined the dominance of Arsenal, and it was crowned in the ninetieth minute as an over the top ball by Ozil, found Campbell on the left, who drifted past Nyom, to put the ball on a plate for Walcott, to slot the ball in from a short distance and round off a convincing 4-0 win for the Gunners against an out of form Hornets.