Troy Deeney entered the pitch fully intended on ‘whacking’ Arsenal players because he knew they wouldn’t stand up to him.
The Watford striker came on as a second half substitute and converted a penalty in their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
In a throwback to the days of critics claiming that Arsenal “don’t like it up them”, Deeney admitted that he planned to “whack” the first Arsenal player he came across.
“I’ve heard Wenger’s already blaming that [the penalty] as the reason they lost,” he said on BT Sport after the game (via the Mirror).
“Well, I’m not one to tell Mr. Wenger about himself, but the reason they lost wasn’t due to one penalty.
“Having a bit of cojones, I think the word is. Whenever I play against Arsenal – and this is just a personal thing – I go up and think ‘let me whack the first one, then we will see who wants it’.
“I came on today and jumped up with Mertesacker – I didn’t even have to jump up actually – nodded it down and the crowd gets up. They all just backed off.
“For me, as a player, I just think happy days. That’s my strength, so if you’re going to let me do that against you, you’re in for a tough afternoon.”
It’s rather galling to have an opposition player stand in front of a camera and criticise the opposition for not having the balls for a fight, especially when it’s clearly the case and the Arsenal captain said afterwards that Watford just ‘wanted it more’.
It’s not only a transparent admission that teams still aim to be physical whenever they play Arsenal, but also a sign that no matter how many years go by, Arsenal still have the same problems.
In fairness to Deeney, he wasn’t overly physical when he came on. He did nothing that crossed the line, and it’s the fault of our defenders for not stopping him having an influence on the game.
Deeney also took the time out to take a shot at his former Watford team mate, Hector Bellerin.
Bellerin conceded the penalty and knew immediately that he hadn’t made contact with the player. Deeney thought otherwise.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) October 14, 2017