On form, talent and squad strength, there was absolutely no way that anyone could have predicted that Arsenal would have suffered there first home defeat to Watford since 1988, but somehow Arsenal always manage to do this once or twice a season, and almost always when it is in a must-win game.
All our stars were fresh having not played for ten days, but they started off weakly and didn’t even have one shot on goal in the first half, despite Wenger’s assertion earlier this week that his present strikers were better than the Invincibles. Petr Cech admitted that we were the worst team in the first half, although he thought that the first goal after ten minutes was a very lucky deflection. “We had a very bad start,” Cech said.
“We were unlucky with the first goal when it takes a big deflection and it goes in. Obviously it gave a lot of hope and motivation to Watford’s side because this was something that lifted them up. But then I think we didn’t play well at all.
“We were second best in the first half. We made so many bad passes, we lost every challenge, we were simply second best, as I said. In the second half we improved, we had a lot of chances. I thought we were brilliant second half, but obviously we only scored one goal.
“We had chances but the keeper made some very good saves, we hit the bar and we could say we were unlucky in that way. But for the first-half performance, we actually didn’t deserve a little bit of luck.
“I always say that at this level you cannot play 80 minutes, or 85. You have to play 90 minutes with full concentration and everybody on top of their game.
“It was too much for us to take in the first half and it’s very hard to say why because we were prepared, we were on back-to-back wins, important wins, we had the momentum after the Burnley game and obviously the Southampton game went completely our way, exactly the way we wanted.
“This was a huge setback because this was the game we wanted to win and we wanted to put ourselves in a better position going into the weekend.”
“Huge setback” doesn’t really cover the depth of despair this result has given to Arsenal fans. Even if we somehow beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge we will still be six points behind them, but if we lose, which seems 100 times more likely, we will have an unsurmountable 12 point gap on the leaders.
It looks like a tough fight for Fourth Place this time around…