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
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
The 56-year-old’s position is under constant review with Albion eight points from the Premier League safety line and bottom of the table.
Press Association Sport understands it was business as usual at The Hawthorns on Sunday while the Baggies previously felt keeping Pardew for now was best for the club’s long-term future.
A lack of viable alternatives has helped Pardew’s position at Albion but the pressure grew following Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Leicester.
Following the game, Pardew said he will seek talks with the club and admitted they may want to sack him with those discussions set to be held on Monday.
He said after the game: “Before you even ask me the question, will I speak to those upstairs? Yes I will, of course I will because it’s getting difficult.
“For me, it’s about planning for next week and getting ready for a difficult game at Bournemouth and that’s what I will do.
“But I will still talk to them and get a feeling of what they think because they might think a change is a better thing for the club, I don’t know.”
Chief executive Mark Jenkins, who returned to the role last month after the sackings of chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman, is back from China following talks with the club’s owner Guochuan Lai.
Jenkins was in China for main sponsor Palm’s AGM with Pardew having won just once in 16 league games since replacing Tony Pulis.
His reign has also seen some dressing room issues, highlighted by Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore, Gareth Barry and Boaz Myhill allegedly stealing a taxi while in Barcelona with the club last month.
Grzegorz Krychowiak, on loan from Paris Saint Germain, showed dissent to his manager after he was substituted on Saturday.
Pardew said: “I do have a problem with it because I’ve supported him and played him and stuck by him when he’s not been particularly great.”
Goalkeeper Ben Foster even admitted he felt sorry for Pardew after another damaging defeat.
“I feel sorry for him,” Foster told the BBC. “He prepares us correctly and at half-time we were well in the game.
“We were in the game and at half-time we thought we could get something out of it. But when heads drop like that it’s out of the manager’s hands.”
Victory moved Leicester onto 40 points and the squad will now travel to Spain for a four-day training camp.
Boss Claude Puel said: “We are happy about this game. Not just about the result but about the quality we put on the pitch in the second half.
“We found our clinical edge with fantastic goals and good moves – this is a good reward for the team.”
The German has often been accused of going missing for the Gunners, but the stats prove that he is one of the most efficient creative players that the English top-flight has ever seen.
It has taken the 29-year-old 141 league games to reach the landmark, pipping Eric Cantona by two matches in a top five that includes former Gunners Dennis Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas.
Manchester City maestro David Silva is the only other active player to have his name in the top five, while David Beckham rounds out the list.