Aubameyang finding his feet and other things learned as Arsenal put Watford to the sword in 3-0 win

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 win over Watford in the Premier League on Sunday to follow up their victory away to AC Milan in the Europa League.

Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the goal scorers on the day while Petr Cech denied Troy Deeney from the spot to pick up his 200th clean sheet in England’s top division.

The performance left us with plenty to ponder and here’s three things that stand out.

OZIL IN HIS ELEMENT

Mesut Ozil was in his element against Watford and why wouldn’t he be? The Hornets were competitive but accommodating, the encounter had little bearing on Arsenal’s season, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang supported him ably and there were barely enough fans to get on his back.

Watford allowed enough room for the German to exploit. He duly went about orchestrating play and show-boating with a lay-off off his shoulder here and a nonchalant flick there. With the element of pressure removed from the equation, Ozil thrived, registering his 50th assist in his 141st Premier League appearance, becoming the fastest player to reach that mark in England’s top flight.

The former Real Madrid star encapsulated what makes Arsenal so frustrating as a team, showcasing the capacity to play some breath-taking football when there’s little at stake only to have that swagger and panache desert them in the face of greater challenges when the heat is on.

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

DEPLETED DEFENCE A CONCERN

Arsene Wenger would’ve been pleasantly surprised by his team’s display at the San Siro in their Europa League clash with AC Milan last week. A professional 2-0 win away from home against the Serie A outfit was received very well indeed following their defeat to Brighton.

However, their depleted resources at the back is genuine cause for concern. Despite the clean sheet against Watford, their vulnerability in defence was palpable. Rob Holding started alongside Mustafi at centre-back and while he did make a couple of eye-catching interventions, he also switched off at times, particularly when he allowed Richarlison to run in behind him in the first half.

Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ shaky performance wouldn’t have filled Wenger with confidence. The young full-back endured a torrid time at right-back up against the trickery of Richarlison and ended up conceding the penalty as well with a clumsy challenge.

With Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin injured, the Gunners will have to be far more compact as a unit in the second leg against Milan at the Emirates Stadium to guard against any possibility of a Rossoneri comeback.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (l) tangles with Richarlison

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (l) tangles with Richarlison

AUBAMEYANG FINDING HIS FEET

Having scored Arsenal’s second, Aubameyang now has three goals in five Premier League outings. He was unable to make an impact against the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham but given the right service, he’s shown he can flourish at the Emirates.

The Gabon international is renowned for his pace and got in behind Watford’s back-line time and again. Ideally, he should’ve had at least another goal, particularly from Sead Kolasinac’s excellent fizzed delivery across the six yard box in the first half, but the signs are promising.

He’s coming to grips with Arsenal’s play and how he can benefit from it with his movement, his clever slant run to get on the end of Mkhitaryan’s perfectly weighted through ball for his goal was indicative of just that. The composure to round the keeper and score spoke volumes of his calibre as one of Europe’s leading marksmen, as did his awareness to pick out Mkhitaryan for the third goal.

It’s just a shame the 29-year-old is cup tied and unable to aid Arsenal in their quest for Europa League glory.

Aubameyang (l) comes good.

Aubameyang (l) comes good.

Most popular

Sergio Aguero will miss Manchester City's clash against Stoke after suffering a knee injury in training

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Sergio Aguero is expected to be sidelined for two weeks.

Sergio Aguero is set to miss Manchester City‘s Premier League trip to relegation-threatened Stoke on Monday after sustaining a knee injury in training.

Aguero announced on his official Twitter feed that he expected to be out for up to two weeks with the injury, meaning he could be back for the trip to Everton at the end of this month.

Aguero wrote: “During yesterday’s training I had a discomfort on my left knee. The club’s doctors told me I’ll be back with the team in approximately two weeks. Now it’s time for a full recovery!”

Manchester City, of course, are sitting pretty in the Premier League table, 13 points clear at the top.

Most popular

Arsenal player ratings as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Petr Cech bag 9s but Alex Iwobi is poor

Chris Bailey 11/03/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Arsenal showed that their wonderful victory at AC Milan in midweek was not just a false dawn as they dispatched an in-form Watford side with relative ease on Sunday.

The Gunners produced a fine performance in attack – though given the empty seats, there were not so many around to see it – as Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored in a 3-0 win.

Read on for our ratings…

Petr Cech – Pushed recent criticism to one side emphatically, guessing the right way for Troy Deeney’s penalty and making a number of other superb saves. 9

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Richarlison had his way with the young full-back at times and his foul to bring down the Brazilian for the penalty was the clumsiest you’ll see. 4

Rob Holding – Arsenal looked vulnerable to the counter and Holding did nothing to instil confidence alongside Mustafi. A shaky performance. 5

Shkodran Mustafi – A clumsy yellow card aside, Mustafi is looking more and more like the warrior Arsenal thought they had signed in the summer. Wonderfully placed header opened the scoring. 8

Sead Kolasinac –  Should have an assist to his name after supplying Aubameyang with a fine chance in the first half and bolted down the left flank well. 7

Mohamed Elneny – Steady alongside Xhaka though left the defence vulnerable at times against a pacy Watford attack. 6

Granit Xhaka – The rehabilitation of the Switzerland international continues. Recycled the ball well with a 92 per cent pass rate and enforced the law in midfield. 8

Mesut Ozil – Became the quickest-ever player to reach 50 Premier League assists for Mustafi’s goal – surprising considering all the flak that the German receives. Attack is showing signs of dovetailing and Ozil is the heartbeat. 7

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – His assist for Aubameyang has to be seen to be believed – the vision and weight of pass was exquisite. Also showed rare strength on the ball and in the tackle. When he’s hot, he’s hot. 9

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Back-to-back goals now for the Gabon international but showed he can create too, which was a question mark upon his arrival. His composure to pick out Mkhitaryan for the third was a great sign. 8

Alex Iwobi – A misfit in this otherwise star-studded attack. Misplaced pass after pass – surely he is running out of time to impress. 4

SUBSTITUTES

Danny Welbeck –  A more effective presence than Iwobi and had a smart shot saved. Helped Arsenal go for the kill in the latter stages. 7

Calum Chambers – With Mustafi on a yellow, came on with 20 minutes to go – and the Gunners did not look like conceding. 6

Jack Wilshere – A great like-for-like replacement in a skilful Arsenal attack, underlines why Arsenal needed him to stick around even if just for quality depth. 6

Most popular