Our hopes of finishing in the top four were given an encouraging boost on Monday night, as we defeated 10-man Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road.
But what did we learn from our hard-fought victory? Read on to find out..
A SIGH OF RELIEF
When Troy Deeney was dismissed for striking Lucas Torreira, a comfortable away win looked on the cards. The points were ultimately delivered - along with our first away clean sheet of the Premier League season - but it was anything but comfortable. We squandered a string of promising counter-attacks when a good final ball would have given us some breathing space, and Watford simply would not lie down. Bernd Leno made two vital saves and the woodwork came to our rescue twice. Hats off to Watford - we could have managed the game better but this was an exemplary 10-man display.
THE ULTIMATE HIGH PRESS
We all know Unai Emery likes his teams to press the opposition, and Auba took ‘winning it high up the pitch’ to extremes at Watford. Our top scorer was onto Ben Foster like a flash to capitalise on the goalkeeper’s errant first touch, and he got his reward when the attempted clearance ricocheted off his leg and into the net. That was Auba’s 18th goal of the season - certainly his most bizarre - and his first goal away from home since he scored at Brighton on Boxing Day. A highly unusual matchwinner, and a great advert for the high press.
This was an important night for Dinos Mavropanos. The last time he started for us it ended with an unfortunate red card against Leicester on May 9, 2018. This game didn’t start brilliantly for him - Dinos slightly misjudged his first header in the opening seconds. But, while the game exploded around him with Deeney’s red card, our young Greek defender kept his cool and grew into the game. A good interception ended a dangerous Watford attack in the 20th minute and a fine header kept them at bay later in the first half. Dinos was subbed in the second half but this was an encouraging night for him.
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