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Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:16 GMT

Arsenal Edge Past 10-Man Watford to Move in to Fourth


Ahmed Ahmed

Tue, 16 Apr 2019 08:15 GMT

Arsenal ground out a 1-0 win away at Watford to move back into the top four on Monday April 15th. The only goal of the game came early on, through bizarre circumstances, as Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster's clearance rebounded into the net of Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The hosts also had their Captain Troy Deeney sent off for an elbow on Lucas Torreira, early in the game.

Watford started the game strongly as they pressed Arsenal high up the pitch. Will Hughes came close to opening the scoring early on. The Gunners took the lead against the run of play in the 10th minute as Foster's clearance was charged down by Aubameyang. The ball hit the Gabon striker and went into the net. 

A double blow for the Hornets was confirmed a minute later as Deeney was sent off for allegedly elbowing Torreira off the ball. The away side almost added to their lead in the 17th minute as Aubameyang had a shot deflected wide. 

But the home side still looked strong as Craig Cathcart had a near-post shot kept out by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, after a free-kick in the 20th minute.  

Watford were nearly caught on the break, in the 26th minute, as Alex Iwobi had a shot saved by Foster after a quick counter attack. Soon after, Etienne Capoue's free-kick was brilliantly kept out by Leno at the half hour mark

Despite playing with 10-men, the hosts were playing well as they entered the interval, only one goal down. 

Arsenal started the second half strongly as Aubameyang was inches from meeting Iwobi's low cross in the 52nd minute. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was brilliantly denied by Foster from point-blank range before the Armenian had another shot which flew wide of the net, just before the hour mark. 

The visitors were in control but were nearly stunned in the 62nd minute as Adam Masina was inches from levelling the score when his long-range shot hit the bar. The game began to open as both sides created chances. Granit Xhaka had a shot saved in the 78th minute.

In the 80th minute, Andre Gray went around the goalkeeper only to see his shot blocked by covering from Ainsley Maitland Niles. Aubameyang burst into the Watford box late on and fired an effort wide.  

Arsenal held on for an important victory as they move back to fourth position in the Premier League. Their manager, Unai Emery, spoke to the BBC after the game and was happy with the win but not the performance of his side. 

"We were competitive today but, in the circumstances, we can control the match better. We didn't make it easy to score the second goal. We did not control the ball in the attacking third." 

"When it is 1-0 they have chances, their moments. Mostly they attack with set-pieces. These three points are very important in the table."

Watford Manager, Javi Gracia, also spoke to the BBC after the game and despite the defeat was pleased with his side's performance. "We did a lot of things to try to win; a big effort. We played a lot of time with 10 players and we deserve the recognition. We didn't get any points but we played a good performance. It was a difficult game with 10 men."

He also said he disagreed with the decision to send Deeney off. "I respect the referee's decision. In my opinion it is clear; maybe a yellow card but never a red card. I do not agree with the decision."