Freestyle Gunners strike three past Hornets
Written By: Robert Halter
Watford had lost all six of their Premier League matches against Arsenal. On eight minutes from a chip forward by Mesut Ozil, a collision into Alexis Sanchez by Nordin Amrabat, was penalised by referee Kevin Friend, and up stepped Santi Cazorla, to place his spot kick straight down the middle. In the twenty fourth minute, after an incisive pass from Sanchez into the path of Cazorla, his ball across was struck by Theo Walcott against Hornets keeper, Heurelho Gomes, but Watford responded when a ball down the right by Amrabat struck the knee of Laurent Koscielny, which brought an instinctive save from Petr Cech, the play soon switched to the left as a ball in from Jose Holebas, was put wide by Troy Deeney. Then a speculative lob from Amrabat on the right, landed on top of the outside netting of the crossbar. In the thirty fourth minute from a corner by Etienne Capoue, a cushioned header by Christian Kabasele, went wide of the mark. But two minutes later, after playing a one two with Ozil, a low strike from the instep of Sanchez, was kept out with a double footed stop by Gomes. In the thirty eighth minute, Sanchez returned the favour by supplying Ozil, but Gomes protected his near post by smothering Ozil’s strike. But in a sweeping move, Arsenal doubled their advantage in the fortieth minute, with Hector Bellerin spearheading the march forward, and as he found Walcott on the right flank, his cross was met by Sanchez, who managed to turn the ball over Gomez, as Sebastian Prodl was left helpless on the goal line. Near the break from an over the top delivery by Granit Xhaka, the fox in the box was Walcott, whose first time strike produced a one handed save by Gomes. Before half time, the Gunners grabbed a third, as Oxlade-Chamberlain found Sanchez, whose pin point accurate cross on the left, was diverted into the centre of the goal by a well placed header by Ozil. Before the re-start, the Golden Boys replaced Adlene Guedioura with Roberto Pereyra. In the forty eighth minute, Walcott’s fizzing ball over was too far out for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was marshalled by Younes Kaboul. A second Hornets change resulted in Daryl Janmaatt taking over from Kabasele. On fifty four minutes, after Bellerin burst down the right flank, past Kaboul, his delivery across the face of Watford’s goal, could not find Sanchez. The Golden Boys responded a minute later, with a snap shot from Capoue into the clutches of Cech, from an assist by Amrabat. But Watford pulled a goal back in the fifty seventh minute, when from Janmaat’s cross, Koscielny struck the ball against Cazorla and as a rebound shot by Capoue cannoned against Koscielny and onto Bellerin, a miss kick by Xhaka was punished as Pereyra pounced to fire a left footed shot into the bottom corner. In the sixty second minute from Ozil’s pass, a dink by Walcott, went over the bar. Five minutes later, from a through ball by Bellerin, a strike by Oxlade-Chamberlain, rose over the upright. But on sixty nine minutes, from a knock on by Deeney, a rocket from Jose Holebas, produced a reaction save from Cech, with Ighalo unable to convert the rebound. Arsenal made a double change of Jack Wilshere for Ozil and Mohamed Elneny for Oxlade-Chamberlain. On seventy two minutes, from a looping throw in by Holebas, a failed clearance by Rob Holding, fell to Ighalo, who beat off Nacho Monreal, but could not keep his effort down, as Monreal was unable to continue and Kieran Gibbs took over. In a final Watford change, a frustrated Amrabat left the field of play for Isaac Success, who could have made an immediate impact but put his header directly at Cech, from Capoue’s corner. Cech then kept out a tame shot by Ighalo from outside the box. In the eighty second minute, Valon Behrami turned the ball wide of the left post from a knock down by Pereyra. Then at the end after Kaboul was dispossessed by Sanchez, the Chilean’s strike was caught by Gomes but Arsenal had done all the work as they recorded a 3-1 win at Vicarage Road to get three points on the board.