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Arsenal end losing run in league with comfortable win over Watford

Mustafi

Arsenal ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats as they secured a fine victory over Watford.

Shkodran Mustafi headed in Mesut Ozil's left-wing free-kick to give the Gunners an eighth-minute lead, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang collected Henrikh Mkhitaryan's pass to add a second.

Watford had a chance to pull one back but Troy Deeney's penalty was saved by Petr Cech, who secured the 200th Premier League clean sheet of his career.

Mkhitaryan sealed Arsenal's victory, their first league win since beating Everton 5-1 on 3 February, with a shot from inside the penalty area following Aubameyang's pass.

The result leaves the Gunners sixth, 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the final Champions League spot.

However, Arsenal could still qualify for next season's Champions League if they win the Europa League, and that competition affected Arsene Wenger's team selection on Sunday.

With Arsenal holding a 2-0 lead against AC Milan and playing the second leg of their last-16 leg tie at home on Thursday, Wenger took a risk by making six changes.

Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were rested, with Jack Wilshere only on the bench, but the gamble paid off for Arsenal.

Arsenal give their fans something to cheer about

Despite an official attendance of 59,131, there were empty seats all around the Emirates with a number of season-ticket holders seemingly put off by the Gunners' disappointing season.

However, those who had turned up were almost celebrating after only two minutes when Aubameyang was clean through, but he was denied by a fine save by Orestis Karnezis.

But the Gunners took the lead only six minutes later when Ozil's free-kick from the left touchline was powerfully headed in by Mustafi.

Aubameyang, Ozil and Granit Xhaka were denied by Karnezis, before Aubameyang made it 2-0, collecting Mkhitaryan's pass and taking the ball around the Watford keeper.

After Deeney's penalty miss, Mkhitaryan added a third when he shot past Karnezis for his first league goal for the Gunners.

With the Europa League on Wenger's mind, the Frenchman was able to take Mkhitaryan off late on for Wilshere, although Mustafi is now a doubt for Thursday's match after he limped off in the second half.

A day to forget for Deeney

Defeat keeps Watford 10th and nine points clear of the relegation zone. They have 36 points from 30 matches and, on this evidence, should have enough quality in their squad to ensure another season of Premier League football.

Richarlison shot wide, put a header wide and also saw a free-kick pushed away by Cech, with Roberto Pereyra wasting the rebound by shooting over the top when unmarked six yards out.

The Hornets' best chance of the game fell to captain Deeney after Pereyra had been fouled in the penalty area by a combination of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi.

However, Deeney, much to the delight of the home fans, had the resulting spot-kick saved by Cech.

After Watford's 2-1 win over Arsenal at Vicarage Road in October, Deeney criticised the Gunners' players and their character.

After that match, he said: "There's a reason they lost. It's having a bit of cojones. Whenever I play against Arsenal, I'll go up and think 'let me whack the first one and see who wants it'.

"They all just backed off. For me as a player, I just think 'happy days'."

But Deeney, who had scored three times in his past four appearances, had a day to forget on Sunday as his penalty was too close to Cech in the middle of the goal, and the Czech saved it to become the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets.

Troy Deeney

More to follow.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 33Cech
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 20MustafiBooked at 55minsSubstituted forChambersat 73'minutes
  • 16Holding
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 35El Neny
  • 29XhakaBooked at 90mins
  • 7MkhitaryanSubstituted forWilshereat 78'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forWelbeckat 66'minutes
  • 14Aubameyang

Substitutes

  • 10Wilshere
  • 13Ospina
  • 21Chambers
  • 23Welbeck
  • 61Nelson
  • 62Nketiah
  • 69Willock

Watford

  • 30Karnezis
  • 2JanmaatSubstituted forBritosat 80'minutes
  • 5Prödl
  • 6Mariappa
  • 25HolebasBooked at 66mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forHughesat 62'minutes
  • 11Richarlison
  • 37PereyraSubstituted forOkakaat 67'minutes
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 3Britos
  • 17Sinclair
  • 18Gray
  • 19Hughes
  • 28Carrillo
  • 33Okaka
  • 35Bachmann
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
59,131

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home11
Away11
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away9
Fouls
Home12
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Watford 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Watford 0.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Offside, Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles tries a through ball, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is caught offside.

Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

Attempt missed. Sebastian Prödl (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

Booking

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal).

Stefano Okaka (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Richarlison (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Richarlison (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Orestis Karnezis.

Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Wilshere.

Offside, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere tries a through ball, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Miguel Britos replaces Daryl Janmaat.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) because of an injury.

Foul by Mesut Özil (Arsenal).

Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 3, Watford 0. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Calum Chambers replaces Shkodran Mustafi because of an injury.

Delay in match Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Stefano Okaka (Watford).

Foul by Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal).

Richarlison (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Daryl Janmaat.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Stefano Okaka replaces Roberto Pereyra.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Danny Welbeck replaces Alex Iwobi.

Booking

José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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