Well that was a really rip-roaring christening for my first game ever in the lower tier at the Emirates. Watching the game from lower down and closer to the pitch makes the whole experience more visceral. Yes, you don’t see the patterns of play in quite the same way, but footballers don’t either. Gaps and angles, space and geometry are all in a flat plane for the boys with the boots on. I enjoyed it.
Chances at both ends, the best for Arsenal was Laca’s one on one with the keeper. Robbing the hesitant lump in the Watford defence, dinking the ball beautifully over the keeper but just failing to keep the ball between the posts. Watford also had some decent efforts but were either wide or came up against the helmet.
Anthony Taylor failed to give a clear penalty when Lacazette was fouled. No wonder players go down easily when it’s the falling over that refs give decisions for rather than the actual foul itself. Poor from Mr Shiny Head.
End to end and excitement throughout. Again Laca with several chances but none that easy. Watford not requiring large dollops of possession to create danger on the counter. You could see why they’ve been effective. Leno came on when the helmet’s hamstring pinged taking a goal kick. He proceeded to make a fine reaction save from Deeney diverting a dead ball, blocking a one on one and catching or punching everything that was launched at him.
Iwobi coming on for the ineffectual Ramsey turned the game on its head. Suddenly there was drive, pace and power down Arsenal’s right. Alex’s cross was diverted beyond Foster by Cathcart in the 81st minute and then Welbz on for Auba won the ball in midfield, Laca and Wobbly combined beautifully to slide the ball across for a perfect pink-booted Mesut sidefoot. What a wonderful couple on minutes it was!
A clean sheet – shared by both keepers, each contributed equally. Was it the Torreira effect? Are we looking more like the new incarnation of an Arsenal side capable of grinding out results by going up a gear or two? Or is it still much too early to tell? Either way it’s fun at the moment.
Cech/ Leno – good stuff again from the helmet matched by his German replacement….7/8
Bellerin – better defensively to go along with always being dangerous going forward….7
Mustafi – a little bit Keystone Coppish again….5
Holding – looked the senior partner, visibly gaining confidence with each minute on the pitch….8
Monreal – as effective as ever, such a shame he couldn’t quite reach Xhaka’s brilliant diagonal pass in the second half….7
Torreira – still settling in and becoming accustomed to the type of bruising Premiership encounters teams like Watford are capable of dishing out….7
Xhaka – Love watching his glorious left foot. As TA said, him and the Terrier are a match made in heaven in midfield….7
Ramsey – Slime has got into his head and he doesn’t seem to know what he’s meant to be doing in Emery’s new team….5
Ozil – Came to life in that last segment of the game, with Iwobi on the pitch he had someone to pass to all of a sudden, an extra mark for his perfectly executed goal….7
Aubameyang – wasted on the left again, we’re going to have to move to 3-5-2 to get him involved at the sharp end….6
Lacazette – full effort and commitment. Not sure why he couldn’t celebrate the own goal – we’d finally scored, Alexandre, be happy. Excellent contribution to superb second goal….7
Iwobi – Wobbly made all the difference – thrust, power and penetration – well played young man….8
Welbeck – a significant part to play in that clinching second goal….6