Arsenal through Mustafi, Aubameyang, and Mkhitaryan goals against Watford at the Emirates Stadium get relief from three consecutive premier league defeats in a row.
With their Champions League hopes next season already threatened, the Gunners’ only avenue is diverted to Europa title consequently Coach Arsene Wenger’s selection against their visitors on Sunday was affected as he made six changes, resting first team players such as Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny whereas Jack Wilshere was benched.
Fortunate enough the French tactician’s bet rewarded him as his selection and formation outplayed Javi Garcia’s side to whom they lost in their previous encounter at the Vicarage Road Stadium in the first round.
With former Arsenal tormentor skipper Deeney’s penalty saved by Petr Cech who saved a penalty for the North London side for the first time in 16 attempts, Arsenal managed to get another goal through Henrik Mkhitaryan.
But at first Mesut Ozil set his own record of becoming the fastest player to clock 50 Premier League assists in 141 games after delivering a fantastic free kick that centre back Shkodran Mustafi headed home just 8 minutes into the game.
Former Borussia Dortmund stars Mkhitaryan combined with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to double the Arsenal lead at the 59th minute before Auba repaid his assist maker Mkhitaryan with a chance the Armenian put past O. Karnezis at the 77th minute.
Arsene Wenger in post-match interview said the game was as difficult as any Premier league match but how they dealt with set pieces tamed their opponents
“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.”
Following the result, Petr Cech’s clean sheet record climaxed to 200 and makes him the first premier league goal keeper to reach that land mark.
The match could have ended with more goals not only scored by the hosts but also the guests, because great work done by Karnezis in stopping Aubameyang and Ozil’s first half attempts, Cech was forced to save by Richarlison which rebounded gracefully for Roberto Pereyra who shot over the bar.
The win and defeat Arsenal and Watford respectively means remains 6th on the table with 48 points, 33 behind table leaders Manchester City whereas the Hornets drop down to 11 with 36 points, 15 points above relegation zone.
On the 15th of March, Arsenal will host AC Milan whom the beat in they first leg of the Europa league last 16 the past Thursday whereas Watford will visit Liverpool to play their next domestic league game.