Arsenal vs Watford – At Last.

With the dreary international break behind us, for now, we get back to the bread and butter that is the Premier League as Arsenal take the short trip to Vicarage Road to play Watford FC.
Good day and all.
The Gunners started their league campaign with back-to-back wins but then hit the buffers in a pair of games against top-six opposition, picking up just a single point. This is without a doubt something Unai Emery and the boys will want to move on from quickly as we enter a very busy schedule.
Still winless after four, the Hornets are rooted at the bottom of the league table, for which Javi Gracia paid the price during the inter-break. That marked the return of Quique Sanchez Flores, who had a decent spell with them in 2015/16 before being replaced by his now predecessor – midtable safety and an FA Cup semi-final place. He now has the enviable task to hopefully reproduce what he got ditched for. Who said being a football manager is a thankless job? However, first up he has to get them off the foot of the table.
Given results thus far one would assume Watford will be short of confidence, however, their supporters will be hoping the “new manager bounce” will bring a positive shift in attitudes from their players. Let’s be honest, the hosts are a better side than their current form, with a decent blend of rugged physicallity, vigour and flair. So Flores, who many of the players are familiar with, just need to sort out how to get them going again.
In recent weeks Emery’s cautious approach came under the spotlight with some feeling he is too defense-minded when the team could perhaps benefit more if he look to maximize our attacking potential. Without repeating what were said before, today there’s two ways to go into this game; you can either ‘play it safe’ against a side who scored just twice in 360 PL minutes, or you can ‘have a go’ against the side that conceded three each in front of their home crowd against both Brighton and West Ham. I mean, if you can’t kick a team when they are down, when can you?
Team news:
Alexander Lacazette has been ruled out of action for the next two to three weeks due to an ankle injury, both Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira returned from intentional duty with knocks. While the latter two made training, with seven games over the next 22 days it’s unlikely they be risked.
This gives Emery an opportunity to start Dani Ceballos, we looked lively the second half against Spurs following his introduction. Then there’s also our creative mastermind Mesut Özil chomping at the bit to play alongside Nicolas Pépé. Some on twatter suggest Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock. I dunno man, they could a job but Watford, even in defeat, gave us problems in the past. So playing two or more rookies against players wanting to put their best foot forward for the new manager could leave us short on experience, especially in a time we are still trying to shed the flakiness on the road. Flores is also likely to set his team up to play from deep and plug their defensive holes, so our midfield may need to be more resourceful than recently if we want to stamp our authority on the game.
No question their old man who is now the new man will have the Vicarage Road faithful in good spirits, but they don’t have a particularly good record against the Gunners. We’ve beaten them five out of the last six times we’ve met in the league and they failed to score against us in the last three meetings.
If I have to stick my neck out… we are likely to see a decent albeit cagey game, but ultimately the Hornets will get stung. #COYG

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73 comments on “Arsenal vs Watford – At Last.

  1. Mills have to disagree about the first half being great, yes the scoreline was great, but our overall play was poor, we were with our tactics allowing Watford to push forward to squeeze us around our own goal, it was madness, and we kept at it despite being two up, and paid for it. Joselite, this man is out of his depth at Arsenal. Give Freddie the job, he can’t do worse, can he.


  2. 5 games in and we had 96 shots taken against us

    Newcastle 9
    Burnley 18
    Liverpool 25
    Tottenham 13
    Watford 31

    Newcastle, Burnley and Watford have out shot us,


  3. Yes, fair enough Ed.


  4. So how r u feeling Positivitas?
    As I said earlier Arsenal are in a negative spiral under Emery. Arsenal are decaying & I blame the idiot WOBS of AFTV, Legroan blogosphere etc etc as the biggest culprits. They have destroyed Arsenal with their constant criticism of the club since last 10 years. Shame on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Orbinho
    Arsenal have conceded 59 goals in 43 Premier League games under Unai Emery.


  6. the idiot WOBS of AFTV, Legroan blogosphere etc etc as the biggest culprits. They have destroyed Arsenal with their constant criticism of the club since last 10 years

    You aint wrong there Roz.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 2-0 up at half time and after the the game our captain says we have to be happy we got a draw, sums up how bad our second half was.


  8. xhaka also said we were scared to play our game in the second half, that we invited pressure on ourselves


  9. Arsenal’s next six fixtures:

    Eintracht Frankfurt A
    Aston Villa H
    Nottingham Forest H
    Manchester United A
    Standard Liege H
    Bournemouth H


  10. Well, that was pretty infuriating. Staggering way to give up a 2 goal lead away.

    Lion’s share of blame must lie with coach for not instructing them to read a game better but is also first time it’s ever really occurred to me there might be real truth in idea players today are less good at thinking for themselves than times past.

    We had the major warnings, it wasn’t working well at all, the opposition were totally aware of what we were doing and gaining encouragement from it. How can there not be the sense to change it? If the manager is actually saying, ‘whatever happens, we do this’, ignore him and get stuck into an argument afterwards about why, in the circumstances, that was ridiculous.

    Seems a distinct possibility we might be a little better off, certainly when in a lead like that, if we had a big target man to lump the ball to, even if an inferior player overall to the attacking riches we have.

    I’m guessing at least that- very little chance we’ll win header or bring ball down- is huge part of why we don’t go long, regardless of score, what’s happening in match, warnings we’ve had, and the simple fact neither full back is that well suited to playing out when pressed, and not sure any of the midfielders are that well suited to it either (Ceballos maybe if with players on wavelength as with Spain u21’s), or at least not when facing own goal when opp have pushed players on and pressure applied.


  11. Unless we can improve on performances in tenure, and a hell of a lot on today, will surely take care of itself for those who loathe Emery as coach, and he won’t be there next year.

    I’m not as confident as most of you guys though that any good coach gives near guarantee of playing much better.

    We definitely have a less-than-sum-of-parts problem, but I see no simple solutions to it, and am near enough at a loss as to what the correct combinations are in midfield particularly.

    Watford, struggling badly before today, able to exert absolutely enormous pressure on us second half. Us pretty much clueless how to prevent that from happening. I lack convincing ideas about what combinations of our personal, playing to what tactics, prevent that from happening.

    I know it’s anathema to some of you but all I feel fairly sure of is that in that particular situation we were in at 2-0 we’d have been better off playing safe, clearing lines, asking them to try create something against an organised team.

    Thing with that is we definitely didn’t have the ideal personnel for that approach on pitch, and don’t really have it in squad…but it still has to be better than that stupid shit of persisting with something that is working so poorly.

    Suppose patience all there is for it. You rarely if ever get the answers as you would ideally like them (ie if you could watch countless simulations of various scenarios), but you mostly get sort-of answers. Can Emery do better than to date, and a whole lot better than that absolutely shit half? Can some new guy do much better, playing differently somehow, with same group if he doesn’t?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Can anyone take a stab at what Xhaka means by ‘play our game’ in 2nd half?

    What does that mean for us now? How do we want to play on the ball, and off the ball?

    I can’t envisage at all what playing our game should have looked like in the particular scenario we faced. Who should have done what differently?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anybody having a go at Mustafi now?

    Liked by 5 people

  14. seen Emery’s after game interview and he basically said we had to keep playing out form the back as Watford were winning the long ball cos they are bigger and stronger than us, and are very good at home, and were up for it, you know they usual old bollocks

    Liked by 1 person

  15. good job we had that clear out of deadwood in the summer, it meant we had such experienced players as Nelson and Willock to try and bail us out of the shit today. And boy did they look overawed or what.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Emery kacks his pants too quick.”

    Mills the man has Footballing incontinence.

    We all saw it in his second game away at Chelsea, crossed our laces and hoped he’d grow.

    I gave him a chance!

    “Never go full Emery”.


  17. first time in the sky era that I no longer look forward to Arsenal games, the football is dire, yes its not as bad as some of the awful shit we seen in the mid 70’s and early 80’s, but back then I was young and just mad keen to see us play, and I rarely seen us live then, there was only highlights for most games, and in them you only seen the very best and worst bits, but I was even in defeat just glad to see my heroes play that all was forgiven, but now the dull football, or should I say workmanlike football, is getting to me, its turning me off. This is partly cos I know a team with Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Ceballos at its disposal should be a sight to behold, but its anything but.

    As a youth I often had to go outside in the dark and cold to try to pick up a signal from BBC Radio 5 to get news of AFC games, sometimes it would be anything up to a week(rare but more often than I care to remember) before I would get a result of a game, oddly enough league cup and fa cup results were much easier to get than league games, especially midweek league games. But I could not get enough of it. Maybe cos there was just not enough of it broadcast, but now I find myself in no mad rush to tune in to games, I rarely watch the highlights and could care less if I get to see Football focus or not. Over the last year and a bit what I’m seeing from Emery’s Arsenal has really dulled my appetite for watching Arsenal games. The feeling that we are needlessly dull in our approach is the main reason.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Eds

    What was wrong with the CB who helped snag the only clean sheet of the season, who won player of the year as a defensive midfielder for a PL team last season: Chambers!

    The mind: boggles.

    He’s actually the inform defender at the club? Given Luiz’s recent history at Gazcorp and the fact that Kozza and Monreal the best defenders in the squad left the club in Daddy Raul’s transfer masterclass!

    Nice goal for Monreal against Atletico yest.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Daddy Raul won the transfer window according to his PR consultants by you and ai and every Arsenal fan know it was Sven Mislintat along with AW who signed Auba, the same Sven that they all slagged off hard when he called it Raul as an agents’ lickspittle:

    Imagine where we’d be without Auba these past 12 months.

    Where can I shove Daddy Raul Montana’s statue?

    Any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ed, so let’s say we play four you mention- ‘Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Ceballos at its disposal should be a sight to behold, but its anything but’. – and presuming it is back four, who are your two centre mids, how’d you set up positionally and what sort of instructions for team, eg play from back or not.

    I think it’s only fair if eviscerating coach and sure we have players to do much, much better to give a bit more detail; plus, to be honest, I feel I know less about football with each year at the moment, so am grateful for illumination.

    Wouldn’t be case were I not watching Arsenal, then every game makes enough sense to me- these are good, these are poor etc- although Liverpool hold some fascination for me as they challenge my beliefs about centre mid being key, and any top top team needing superb cm’s.

    But with us, and players we have, how should we be playing to be much better? Who to provide width, who to track runs, and what to do if team pushed up on us in particular. Think there’s scant evidence playing it to Ozil and Ceballos in own half with ravenous hordes around them (and Pgmol refs who’ll allow liberties and give us nowt) is the key, so what the fuck do we do if can’t go long either?

    Suppose we could try push whole team up and if that means extra space in front of defence, less bodies back and threat of balls behind defence so be it (may as well actually given current way doesn’t offer any extra security)

    I feel supremely confident that in situations like our second goal- plenty upfield, Ozil in a little space, good run into space- very good things can happen, but can we send out a balanced eleven to make that happen a lot, regardless of what opposition are up to?

    Tonight at least it’s impossible to have confidence in Emery being capable of making that happen, or looking the part another way, but I’m really keen to hear specifics of how another guy can do it.


  21. Ed 8.24

    That seems extremely weak answer from him. Alarmingly it’s what I felt watching : it obviously isn’t working but we are incapable of anything else. That’s…really not good.

    Also feel it may be dishonest. Doesn’t address fact that although we might not be well equipped to play long against them overall, in the particular match situation it was the right choice.

    The question wasn’t ‘are you as big and strong as Watford and should long ball be first choice?’, rather ‘was it right to keep playing from back even though it was putting us under pressure constantly, the team looked shaky, the opposition knew exactly what they had to do and were getting serious encouragement?’

    Protecting himself I expect but if that’s his real answer he is indeed doomed, and I don’t know how the fuck he won those Europa Leagues. They played great football 2nd half of that final against Liverpool as well, totally outclassed them with passing skills to fore!


  22. well Rich I would say that if we were to lose the ball to Watford I would prefer it be from a long punt upfield than from a short ball out from the back, for one simple reason, if they win the ball 80 yards up the field they are 80 yards from our goal, and have most of our team between them and our goal, if they win it 20 or even 10 yards, like today, from our goal, they only have 20 or 10 yards and fuck all of our team, between them and our goal.

    again today we seen our two fullbacks tucked in, almost on the toes of our CB’s, leaving our midfield scrambling to get out wide to stop crosses from watford players in loads of space.


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