Arsenal left Watford with all three points thanks to goals from Alexis, Giroud, and Ramsey after what was a professional display from the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger made just one change to the team that thrashed United two weeks ago; Laurent Koscielny recovering ahead of schedule, replaced Gabriel who underwent a ‘minor operation’ and Arsenal knew that they had a great chance to build on their fantastic win before the international break.
Kicking off on a perfect playing surface, the game was hardly one that will live long in the memory.
Arsenal dominated possession but were moving the ball slowly, probing around a well organised and hard working Watford. The intensity with which they attacked United was clearly missing and their play was pedestrian once again.
Clear cut chances in the first half were few and far between; Alexis driving from range produced a decent save from the former Spurs keeper, Gomes, while Aaron Ramsey missed at the back post when found by the Chilean when it seemed easier to score, and then again at the end of the half when he blazed over.
Watford themselves carried with them some threat, certainly more than United had a fortnight ago, but Cech was only called into action once when he saved from a Troy Deeney effort.
It says it all that the most noteworthy moment of the first half was probably Ramsey being caught by the boot of a Watford player and, despite lying on the ground holding his head, referee Mike Jones just played on. When Ramsey eventually got to his feet he was roundly booed by the home fans who showed themselves to be as stupid as Stoke ones.
Fans can be so stupid some times.
The second half seemed like it was set to be a carbon copy of the first as Arsenal’s most influential players struggled to have any lasting impact on the game, perhaps feeling the effects of their various travels during the international break.
As the clock continued to tick on, the game started to take on a familiar, creeping feeling that seemed to point to a 1-0 Watford win but thankfully Arsenal decided not to bother with that age-old script and promptly took the lead just minutes after I wrote that sentence.
Alexis slotted home his tenth goal in six games for club and country when the ball rolled to him after Mesut Ozil had been clearly fouled in the box. The referee, to his credit, played a great advantage and Sanchez didn’t miss from just a few yards out.
Olivier Giroud’s introduction for Theo Walcott not long after the opener sealed the points for Wenger and his side as Ozil found him with a cut back that the Frenchman swept confidently into the roof of the net.
Arsenal’s third came via a deflected Aaron Ramsey shot, and with how his luck has been in front of goal recently, it was always going to be an ugly, bobbly one that broke his duck. It also meant that Arsenal would finish the weekend in second place, just two points behind City and ahead of United on goal difference.
Arsenal seemed to struggle at times to leave their mark on the game, but they managed to put three goals past a side that had only conceded one at home all season. It was not the passionate, high tempo match we were maybe expecting after the game against United, but it was as professional as you could wish for.
Simple, straightforward and stupidity free.
Next up, Bayern Munich. Something tells me that one might be a little bit different.