Once again Arsenal dominated possession and passed the ball around blah blah blah, and still ended up on the losing side again. But in the FA Cup it was our first defeat in three years so you could say by the law of averages, that we had to lose at some point!
Arsene Wenger felt that Arsenal were the better team as usual, but Watford fought bravely and made us pay for our mistakes. Le Prof said after the game: “Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don’t think that we deserved to lose. We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had. As long as we didn’t score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game.
“We knew that (they would be strong) before the game. We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad. We’ve come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it.”
When the media suggested that it could be a lack of confidence, Wenger flatly denied it. “This had nothing to do with confidence. Of course there is confidence in the team. The recent results haven’t shown that but we’ve played against good teams and the recent results were 2-2 at Tottenham with 10 men and a 4-0 win at Hull. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have any confidence.”
Just like against Barcelona, Arsenal were defensively good in the first half, but mistakes crept in after the break. “In the second half our discipline went a little bit defensively and we were caught on it.” Wenger added. “The first goal we couldn’t clear the header and after that we were caught. The second goal was a great goal from them, it was a great shot. You can’t do a lot about it.
“I believe that we gave very few chances away but unfortunately we paid for everything we gave away. It is very sad at the moment to realise no matter what happens, we pay for every chance we give away.”
That’s the story of Arsenal’s season so far. We always seem to be the better team on paper, but a couple of mistakes and we are under pressure again. Wenger made three subs all at once to try and turn the game, but it ended up just a little too late. “I wanted to give a bit more penetration because I felt that we were lacking a bit and were passing a bit sideways. We lacked penetration and an incisive game. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to make a substitution before they scored the second goal. I wanted to do it at 1-0 but then they broke and it was 2-0. It was much more difficult.
“I don’t think we suffered a lot defensively. Watford are a team who are good on the break. They depend on Ighalo and Deeney and they are a handful to cope with. They were good and the rest work very hard. Overall we didn’t give many chances away in that game.”
It looks like Wenger wants to forget about this game quickly and try to prepare for the next two tough fixtures. “We want to now focus on the Champions League and then we go to Everton and that schedule is very tight,” he said. “It is very difficult playing on Sunday afternoon, Wednesday night and then Saturday morning. It is important that we respond very quickly.
“We play a big game and players want to play in the big games. When you have a big game in front of you, you want to prepare well and show how good you are. I think that is natural.”
“So is he going to take his best team to Barcelona? “We want to make the impossible possible. Barcelona are a very, very strong side and it’s very important that we go there, focus and show a good response.”
I don’t think we can afford to make too many mistakes in Barcelona if we are being punished for every single one…..