Arsenal impress but have to cling on to see off Watford

Arsenal impress but have to cling on to see off Watford

Bukayo Saka is one of only two players under 21 to score eight goals in one of Europe’s top five leagues this seasonArsenal climbed into the Champions League places with an entertaining victory over lowly Watford in a game with five quality goals.The Hornets, who remain in the relegation zone, thought they had taken the…

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka is one of only two players under 21 to score eight goals in one of Europe’s top five leagues this season

Arsenal climbed into the Champions League places with an entertaining victory over lowly Watford in a game with five quality goals.

The Hornets, who remain in the relegation zone, thought they had taken the lead within the first 20 seconds as Emmanuel Dennis slotted home but he was offside.

Martin Odegaard put Arsenal ahead not long afterwards after flicking the ball into the path of Bukayo Saka and then running into the centre to slot in Saka’s cross.

Watford levelled with the best individual goal of the game, Cucho Hernandez’s acrobatic flying volley from Kiko Femenia’s cross.

The visitors restored their lead when Saka won the ball off Tom Cleverley and found Alexandre Lacazette, who rolled the ball back into Saka’s path to fire into the top corner.

England star Saka was involved again in the third goal as his quick throw-in set up a move with Lacazette laying the ball off to Gabriel Martinelli to finish.

They looked as if they were cruising, and Eddie Nketiah hit the post, before Moussa Sissoko controlled the ball on his chest and beat Ben White before slotting in.

That set up a tense finale with Watford debutant Samuel Kalu forcing Aaron Ramsdale into a save with a long-range shot.

Arsenal move above Manchester United into fourth spot, with United losing 4-1 to Manchester City in the derby.

Watford, who blow hot and cold too often, remain three points off safety.

Watford 2-3 Arsenal: Arteta says his side are getting better and better

Arteta plays his part in Gunners’ win

The Gunners continued their surge up the table with an entertaining albeit ultimately tense win, keeping them unbeaten in the league since New Year’s Day.

They played some really top-quality, slick football, even though they only had four efforts on target and were hanging on in the end after Sissoko struck.

It could have been so different though had Dennis timed his run better before slotting in Joao Pedro’s pass just seconds into the game.

But Saka was excellent again and involved in all three goals. He has scored or assisted 13 Premier League goals this season, with only Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz (17) involved in more in Europe’s top five leagues among players under the age of 21.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta had a big hand in the third goal, too, grabbing the ball after it went out of play and quickly passing it to Saka, who took the throw-in that led to the goal.

Watford played their part in an engaging contest – Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale was the much busier goalkeeper – but have won just once under Roy Hodgson.

They become the fourth team to lose eight successive Premier League home matches, after Sunderland, Wolves and Norwich.

Watford 2-3 Arsenal: Roy Hodgson says side can not play much better

Player of the match

SakaBukayo Saka

with an average of 8.61

Watford

  1. Squad number1Player nameFoster

  2. Squad number19Player nameSissoko

  3. Squad number29Player nameCucho Hernández

  4. Squad number25Player nameDennis

  5. Squad number21Player nameKiko Femenía

  6. Squad number14Player nameKamara

  7. Squad number10Player nameJoão Pedro

  8. Squad number28Player nameKalu

  9. Squad number22Player nameSamir

  10. Squad number15Player nameCathcart

  11. Squad number6Player nameLouza

  12. Squad number39Player nameKayembe

  13. Squad number8Player nameCleverley

Arsenal

  1. Squad number7Player nameSaka

  2. Squad number8Player nameØdegaard

  3. Squad number35Player nameGabriel Martinelli

  4. Squad number9Player nameLacazette

  5. Squad number3Player nameTierney

  6. Squad number5Player namePartey

  7. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães

  8. Squad number4Player nameWhite

  9. Squad number32Player nameRamsdale

  10. Squad number34Player nameXhaka

  11. Squad number17Player nameCédric Soares

  12. Squad number19Player namePépé

  13. Squad number30Player nameNketiah

  14. Squad number16Player nameHolding

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 15Cathcart
  • 22Samir
  • 14Kamara
  • 19Sissoko
  • 6LouzaSubstituted forKayembeat 64′minutes
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forKaluat 89′minutes
  • 29HernándezBooked at 90mins
  • 25Dennis
  • 10João Pedro

Substitutes

  • 4Etebo
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 26Bachmann
  • 27Kabasele
  • 28Kalu
  • 31Sierralta
  • 33Kucka
  • 39Kayembe

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 32Ramsdale
  • 17Cédric SoaresBooked at 58mins
  • 4White
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3Tierney
  • 5Partey
  • 34Xhaka
  • 7Saka
  • 8ØdegaardSubstituted forHoldingat 90′minutes
  • 35MartinelliSubstituted forPépéat 73′minutes
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forNketiahat 80′minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Leno
  • 16Holding
  • 19Pépé
  • 20Tavares
  • 23Sambi Lokonga
  • 25Elneny
  • 30Nketiah
  • 69Swanson
  • 82Hutchinson

Referee:
Craig Pawson

Attendance:
21,142

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Watford 2, Arsenal 3.

  2. Second Half ends, Watford 2, Arsenal 3.

  3. Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Watford).

  5. Cucho Hernández (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Attempt saved. Samuel Kalu (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.

  7. Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).

  9. Moussa Sissoko (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Substitution, Arsenal. Rob Holding replaces Martin Ødegaard.

  11. Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).

  12. Samir (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Substitution, Watford. Samuel Kalu replaces Tom Cleverley.

  14. Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).

  15. Edo Kayembe (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Foul by Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

  17. Hassane Kamara (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Goal! Watford 2, Arsenal 3. Moussa Sissoko (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Cucho Hernández.

  19. Attempt blocked. Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko with a headed pass.

  20. Foul by Thomas Partey (Arsenal).

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