Watford were excellent in the first half, and played exactly how a home side should against superior opposition. We finally broke the deadlock just after an hour though, and then the floodgates really opened.
Our 3-0 win took us back to second place after a temporary drop down the table, and we are snapping at Manchester City’s heels yet again.
We lined up exactly how you’d expect, with Gabriel’s absence the only exception.
It was a decent start to the game, and we tested former Tottenham shot-stopper Heurelho Gomes a number of times. Theo Walcott put a rather tame header straight into the keeper’s hands, before a vintage Alexis Sanchez cut inside resulted in a venomous shot stinging his palms.
Watford initially weren’t playing particularly deep, and Walcott looked to exploit the space. He was caught offside a couple of times though, and Watford began to sit a bit deeper.
The home side then crafted arguably the best chance of the game, with Per Mertesacker foolishly attempting to play offside with a high line and little pressure on the ball. Troy Deeney had acres of space down the left side, with Odion Igalho bombing into the box. Up against the Watford pair Laurent Koscielny did superbly though, racing back to slide in and cut out Deeney’s cross to Ighalo – who would have had a tap in.
The story of Aaron Ramsey’s season so far has been getting into great positions but squandering his chances. He missed arguably one of the easiest chances to date against Watford, with Alexis floating a great ball over to the Welshman unmarked on the far post, only for him to sky it over the bar from a few yards out.
There was a moment of confusion just before half time, with Per Mertesacker and Petr Cech getting in each other’s way. The Czech keeper managed to clear it, but Watford fans were furious with the referee for not awarding a free kick for his clearly accidental handling of the ball. Chants of ‘Same old Arsenal, always cheating’ rang out around the ground, but we went into the half 0-0.
Watford had been excellent in the first half, dominating the midfield and making it hard for us to play. Everything changed in the space of just 30 seconds though, with some end to end football giving us the lead.
Ex-Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue was demanding a penalty for a dive in the box, with Francis Coquelin screaming at him and demanding he get to his feet. The referee waved play on, and Mesut Özil started what would prove to be a phenomenal attack.
The ball was spread out wide to Alexis, who drove forward down the left. He played it infield where a quick one-two between Özil and Santi Cazorla saw the German burst into the box, where he was brought down for what looked like a penalty. The referee didn’t have time to make his mind up though, as Alexis pounced on the loose ball and blasted it into the back of the net via the post. 1-0.
The flood gates really opened after that, and just moments after being subbed on for Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud doubled our lead.
Ramsey saw a shot deflected wide, with the ball falling kindly for Özil. He cleverly cut back for the French forward, who smashed it into the roof of the net first time with his right foot. 2-0.
12 minutes after scoring our first goal, it was 3-0, and the game was all but put to bed. A fantastic run by Hector Bellerin left a number of Watford players in the dust, he kept his composure and cut it back cleverly for Ramsey, who weaved his way forward before knocking a deflected shot past Gomes for his first goal of the season. 3-0.
The game quietened down after that, with some defensive substitutions seeing the game mostly played in midfield.
We kept our clean sheet and played out the game, moving back to second place in the league behind Manchester City.