Post-Match Report

Watford 0-3 Arsenal - Match Report

Watford -

Vicarage Road
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
  Watford
   crest
Watford
0 3
  Arsenal
      
                  Alexis (62)
                   Giroud (68)
                   Ramsey (74)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Alexis (62)
Giroud (68)
Ramsey (74)

By Chris Harris at Vicarage Road 

SUMMARY

Arsenal scored three goals in 12 minutes to see off a spirited Watford side at Vicarage Road.

Alexis continued his incredible scoring run, grabbing his 10th in six matches for club and country to round off a slick counter-attack moments after the home side had a penalty shout turned down.

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to rattle home a second from Mesut Ozil's cross and Aaron Ramsey bundled home the third after excellent work from Hector Bellerin.

The scoreline was perhaps flattering on the visitors after a muscular, industrious Watford side held their own for the first hour, but Arsenal's quality on the ball eventually told.

The Gunners have scored 11 times in their last three Premier League fixtures and they climb back into second place in the Premier League, two points adrift of Manchester City.

What's more, they go into Tuesday's huge Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in good spirits - and in good form.

SETTING THE SCENE

Wenger made one change to the side that outclassed Manchester United ahead of the international break, Laurent Koscielny passing a late test to take his place alongside Per Mertesacker.

Alexis was also in the starting line-up despite a long-haul trip that only ended on Thursday but Gabriel dropped out of the squad with an illness. David Ospina has a minor shoulder injury so Matt Macey was drafted in.

Wenger had stressed the need to "reconnect" after a two-week break and match the urgency of that fine win over Man United. But Watford looked like an awkward opponent - they had conceded the joint-fewest goals in the top flight.

The Hornets' trump card was Odion Ighalo, scorer of their last five goals.

FIRST HALF

Arsenal started like a train against Man United and they were sprightly from the first whistle here as well. Walcott was the first to test Heurelho Gomes with a header from Ramsey's cross.

Alexis stung Gomes' palms with a fierce drive after cutting inside from the right and for a while it was all Arsenal. But the tireless Troy Deeney brought Watford out of their shells with a low drive that forced a save from Petr Cech.

The home side grew in confidence and Watford edged forward, Deeney almost getting a shot away after an intricate move inside the box and Koscielny making a vital intervention as Ighalo prepared to meet Deeney's cross.

Arsenal kept looking for Walcott's runs in behind - twice failing to time their through-balls - but their best chance of the first half came via a lofted diagonal pass from Alexis that Ramsey volleyed over the bar from close range.

Ighalo squandered an equally good chance on the half-hour mark, shooting woefully wide after going through on goal, and the chances continued to flow. Bellerin almost picked out fellow full-back Nacho Monreal inside the box and Koscielny volleyed just wide from a corner.

SECOND HALF

Until the hour mark this game looked like it could go either way. Watford threatened from set-pieces while Arsenal struggled to find time on the ball to pick their passes.

The visitors showed signs of improvement just before they scored, injecting pace into a couple of attacks as Alexis nearly picked out Ozil with a clever pass.

When the first goal game, there was an element of controversy. Etienne Capoue took a tumble in the box and claimed a penalty, but the referee waved play on. Arsenal broke at pace through Alexis and Ozil, the latter was brought down in the box but the ball ran on to Alexis, who found the net.

That opened the floodgates. Ozil, suddenly finding more space, cut the ball back for Giroud to finish unerringly into the roof of the net.

Then Bellerin, a important attacking outlet throughout, slalomed into the box to set up Ramsey for a close-range finish that deflected off Ikechi Anya.

Giroud forced a fine reflex save from Gomes as the Gunners looked for more, but as against Man United they settled for three.

This had been a true test of Arsenal's mettle. They came through it impressively.

Referee: Mike Jones
Attendance: 20721