Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players went into today’s away game against in form Watford with the carrot of a top four spot to play for. With Chelsea’s shock defeat at the hands of previously pointless Crystal Palace adding to the Liverpool and Man United stalemate, Arsenal only needed a point to go above Chelsea but really all three was going to make the league table look a lot better.
A tale of two penalty decisions, both going against Arsenal with different decisions from similar situations will have left the boss angry and the Gunners without the win or even the point our gritty (up to that point) performance was close to earning.
It was a fast start from both sides and Wenger was clearly taking no chances against the free scoring home side because he went with the midfield pairing of Xhaka and Elneny with both Ozil and Wilshere on the bench. With Ramsey and Alexis left out of the squad altogether there was a lot of creativity missing from the Gunners line-up.
It showed as well. After an even start it was the Hornets who began to look more dangerous while we were too predictable and slow with the passing and trying too many long balls to get the pacy forwards Lacazette and Welbeck a chance.
It was a Xhaka long ball to the impressive Iwobi that brought us a corner from which we took the lead before the break though, and it was our big German Per Mertesacker who rose top power in a header from that corner. He was in for the injured Mustafi and was doing well in defence as well as scoring.
The second half was also a tight and hard fought affair that saw Welbeck replaced by Ozil after an injury picked up when going through in the box. He asked fotr a penalty but it was not really. THat coming together was about the same as the one between Bellerin and Richarlison later, but for some reason he did point to the spot then and Watford were level.
The fact that Ozil had a great chance to double the lead a minute or so before made it even harder to take and then when Wenger was about to give Wilshere a chance we had to replace Koscielny instead. Watford them smelled blood and drew it right at the death when their constant pressure paid off when a goalmouth scramble fell to Cleverley to smash home the winner.
Bad luck aplenty for Arsenal, with the penalty complretely changing the course of the game, but we still should have at least held on for a point.