Good morning the Positive Arsenal crew,
As the digital clock on the scoreboard reached 10:00 to go I had this morning’s match write-up sketched out in my head. It was along the lines of “an exciting game”….., “plenty of chances at both ends”, …..”some noteworthy performances from players on both sides”…., “but an inexplicable result of 0-0″…. . I was going to ponder some dubious finishing by strikers at both ends, two generally solid defensive performances, great industry in midfield if not great quality, and pick a few names out on both sides that caught the eye.
I was, in fact, going to highlight what I thought was the key moment of the match, and still do, which was Bernd Leno’s save from Deeney’s volley on the 52nd minute (picture above). A curling free kick from Holebas picked out the Watford striker 10 yards out, a solid but well directed shot from Deeney, an a split second later, a decisive leap by Leno to his left low down, very little time to react, and he still managed not just to keep the ball out but push it round the post!! The art of goal keeping at its very best. If that Watford goal effort had gone in ? ( Sound of sucking teeth) Well the way the match was unbalanced at that time, with Watford on top and driving forward. We were rocking. It would have been a hard road back for us. As with Lacazette’s excellent opening goal against Everton last week on such pivotal moments are games won or lost and, when they are all added up, trophies decided. Last week a world class goal, this week a world class save.
And as often happens when a flash of talent changes the game the side that benefits goes on to win the game. In our case yesterday it took a almost another half hour but by that stage Watford wee out of energy and, like me perhaps, had settled for the 0-0. Iwobi and Lacazette combined and the opening goal is scored, or as I saw properly last night an own goal, followed by a second similar move which opens the Orns’ back door again, and a slick finish by Mesut. The One-Two to leave the visitors flat on their back. We all go home happy. Three points, fifth place, touching distance of the top four and all to play for.
Of the players who impressed me as described above Leno stepped in after Cech went off and did everything that our first choice keeper could have done, punched, saved and efficiently dealt with Watford’s rough-housing at the dead ball situations. Above all he kept that hard to acquire clean sheet. If Petr is out for a few weeks with a hamstring he may face a hard fight to get back in.
I thought Mustafi and Holding did well against an unusual two headed attack of Deeney and Gray. They saw off the muscle and physical aggression in the air of the ugly twosome, and it was not until Isaac Success came on that Les Hornets with his better ground game really got any space and broke through Holding. If you get booked for dissent again Shkordan, arguing over a f****** throw in on the edge of the Watford box, I will fine you a week’s wages. I don’t mind if a player argues with an official, if they feel it does any good or is to do with a game-changing incident, just don’t get booked.
Torreira was a one man bee hive of industry and ensured that the midfield battle was always vigorous. He seems comfortable enough in the PL. The Uruguayan had an eye on winding up Deeney and his spectacular tumble toward the end convinced me that Watford striker should have seen a straight red, never mind a second yellow. Looking at the incident again on the TV last night it was rather less certain which one of them might have picked up a second card, if Taylor had been in the mood.
Among our opponents Doucoure was very good all afternoon in central midfield, and Peyrera is a talented player, intelligent and quick with the ball at his feet.
On we go then with a little more confidence, another battle against difficult opponents – a long trip to Baku for an early game, I think, then the erratic Fulham at Craven Cottage to see whether we can convert 5 PL wins into 6. Interesting times.