Arsenal had to wait until the 81st minute to open the scoring against Watford, but ended up winning the match 2-0, for a seventh consecutive victory.
In order to continue their ascent up the table, Arsenal had to overcome fourth-placed Watford at the Emirates Stadium. It wasn’t going to be easy, as the visitors were full of confidence, and only lost out to Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in midweek.
Watford proved equal to Arsenal’s pressure for much of the match, keeping chances out and getting many of their own. Fortunately, the hosts had Rob Holding and the goalkeepers to thank for keeping a clean sheet until the final 10 minutes.
At that point, a bit of fortune meant Unai Emery’s side took the lead, from an own goal. They secured the win not long afterwards, with a Mesut Özil second.
Let’s have a look at how the players did individually.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 6
Watford called Cech into action a couple of times in the first half, and the goalkeeper was equal to the task. For the most part, he didn’t have too much to do, and his passing was a bit lax. Then, he picked up an injury just before half-time.
Hector Bellerin 7
Bellerin continues to run the right-hand side of the pitch completely on his own. It’s making it very difficult for him to make anything happen, even when he has 93% pass accuracy, like on Saturday. It’s strange that Emery hasn’t tried Mkhitaryan and Bellerin on the right again after they created so much against Chelsea.
On this occasion, Bellerin did enough to keep Watford out but not much more.
Shkodran Mustafi 6
This was a very standard Mustafi performance. He was excellent in the air, winning five aerials, but poor on the ball, with a lower pass accuracy than any other defender. He made a couple of interceptions, but no tackles. Watford players found ways to get in behind him fairly easily, and his teammates had to bail him out.
Rob Holding 8.5
Meanwhile, Holding was fantastic. He was even better in the air than Mustafi, winning 71% of his duels against tough opposition. He completed almost 90% of his passes, made more interceptions than his German partner, and made an impressive block in the second half.
The only negative was that Holding let Isaac Success get the wrong side of him for one very good chance. Other than that he proved that he’s a worthy contender for Emery’s starting eleven.
Nacho Monreal 7.5
Like the two centre-backs, Monreal had to do a lot of work in the air, which he did excellently. The Spaniard also had a lot to do going forward and dealt with that side of the game well too. His performance was very good considering it was his fourth match in 10 games.