First Thoughts – Arsenal v Watford

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Following Sunday’s clash between Arsenal and Watford, here are the instant reactions from both managers.

Arsenal hosted Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday March 11, with the hosts taking a comfortable three nil victory on the day.

Arsenal opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Shkodran Mustafi found the net and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both scored in the second half to tie the points up.

Arsene Wenger called on the team to ‘get the fans back on side again’ after the result ended three successive league defeats, but despite an attendance figure of 59,131 empty seats were noticeable as Petr Cech notched up his own 200th Premier League clean sheet of his career to become the first goalkeeper with that particular honour.

In the process he did save Troy Deeney’s penalty and Watford slip to their second defeat in six.



Cech, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi (Chambers 73), Holding, Kolasinac, El Neny, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan (Wilshere 78), Ozil, Iwobi (Welbeck 66), Aubameyang.


Ospina, Nelson, Nketiah, Willock.


Karnezis, Janmaat (Britos 80), Prodl, Mariappa, Holebas, Doucoure, Capoue, Femenia (Hughes 62), Richarlison, Pereyra (Okaka 67), Deeney.


Sinclair, Gray, Carrillo, Bachmann.

Speaking to the BBC’s cameras a short time after match day referee Martin Atkinson blew the final whistle, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger explained.

‘It was a difficult game like you get in the Premier League. But overall the spirit and desire was good. The spirit kept us out of trouble. We dealt well with set-pieces, which is why they could not come back. At 2-0 they had a penalty and if they had come back to 2-1 it is a fact that we have a bit of fatigue and we could have been in trouble but we took advantage of that miss. I selected my team to have the chance to win the game and also rest some players I did not want to get injured. We are not so far to the end of the season so, any injuries, you lose them for the rest of the season.’

Watford head coach Javi Gracia in his comparative interview explained.

‘We had different moments. We started conceding an early goal and then there were different moments with both teams creating chances to score. We tried to be very concentrated and focused on the match. It was this way, we tried to do as best as possible. We knew the importance of three points like the importance of the next match. We are only considering this way.’


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