Emile Smith Rowe’s third goal in three games was the difference between Arsenal and Watford on Sunday at the Emirates although on a different day the Gunners could have won four or five nil.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal scores their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 07: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal scores their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Just before the hour was up, Emile Smith Rowe pounced on a lose ball to strike home his third goal in three games, joining an elite group of players to have managed that feat at Arsenal by his age. The others were Nicolas Anelka, Jose Antonio Reyes and Cesc Fabregas.

It was to be the only allowed goal of the game.

Arsenal had an early Bukayo Saka goal ruled out for offside, while they also had a chance to take a lead into the break when they were awarded a penalty for a Danny Rose assault on Alexandre Lacazette.

Aubameyang stepped up to the spot, despite seeing his last penalty saved, and watched Ben Foster do the same as Emi Martinez. This time, however, there was no rebound goal for the captain.

Sunday was the first time Arsenal had failed to score two consecutive penalties in the Premier League since 2005. It was also Auba’s fifth miss overall, far more than any other Arsenal player.

By halftime, Kevin Friend had given Arsenal two yellow cards for their three fouls (the last of which came on the whistle) while he had allowed Watford to kick with relative impunity, booking just two of theirs despite 12 fouls in total and  Rose getting away with attempted murder.

By the end of the game, Rose had committed four fouls while the entire Arsenal team committed six. Arsenal picked up three cards in total.

Rose? None.

https://twitter.com/Northerngooona/status/1457361596414627841

Watford did finish the game with 10 men but they also finished it having committed 17 fouls which were punished with just four yellows, two of which turned into a red.

I’ve no idea why Friend didn’t issue more cards. It wasn’t as if he was trying to let the game flow – he was giving the fouls, and some of them were blatant yellows.

Auba also poked home an Odegaard goal-bound shot in the second half, thus ruling the goal offside and keeping Arsenal stuck at 1-0.

The game had the feeling of ‘one of those days’ so we can be thankful it wasn’t and that Arsenal head into the international break in fifth (5th) place, four points ahead of Spurs, three points ahead of United and just three points behind Manchester City in second place.

Madness.

Arsenal player ratings vs Watford (half-time ratings)

  • Aaron Ramsdale 7.1 (6.0)
  • Takehiro Tomiyasu 7.9 (7.2)
  • Benjamin White 7.8 (6.8)
  • Gabriel 7.3 (7.0)
  • Nuno Tavares 7.2 (6.3)
  • Albert Sambi Lokonga 7.4 (6.2)
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles 8.0 (7.4)
  • Bukayo Saka 7.4 (6.8)
  • Alexandre Lacazette 7.3 (7.1)
  • Emile Smith Rowe 7.6 (6.2)
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 6.7 (6.3)

Arsenal subs

  • Martin Odegaard 6.8
  • Mohamed Elneny n/a
  • Gabriel Martinelli n/a

source

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.