Well didn’t that all go according to plan, eh?
As I suspected yesterday, Watford approached the game with the caution and solidity that you’d expect from a newly promoted side with a reputation building for compact defending and long balls to bring out of defence, so perhaps it was inevitable that the first half was one of frustration for The Arsenal.
Arsène named the same side as the one that beat United, a clear indication of how much he wants the league and perhaps feels the Champions League is a secondary competition, but those same players that exploded in to life at home against the Mancs, couldn’t replicate the quick start. Ramsey had the best chance of the first half and will probably feel that he should have opened his account earlier than he did.
But whilst the first half was one of frustration, the same cannot be said for the second, as Arsenal burst into life with three goals, each of which were good with their build up and greeted with the same first pump from yours truly here.
Mesut Özil – imperious all day and pulling the strings like a man full of form and confidence – exchanged passes with Cazorla and was brought down, but Alexis kept up his scoring ways and knocked in the goal rather than take the penalty, which set us on our way. Then Özil turned provider again for Giroud by squaring rather than shooting after a dinner ball over the top of the Watford defence. It was a welcome goal from Giroud who, for somebody who isn’t playing too regularly, is making a lovely habit of substitutes goals. In hindsight you’d probably say that yesterday’s game was more suited to his style of play than Theo’s, who endured a difficult afternoon against a deep lying Watford defence who gave him little space to operate. But Giroud is better in those games where there is less space and more physicality from defenders and his performance after coming on showed that. He was a handful for the entirety of his time on the pitch and I do wonder if Arsène will recall him to the starting XI soon.
But Özil though, how good is he, eh? He’s doing exactly what everyone knows he’s capable of, but this time people are paying attention and he’s bossing games. He is the glue that binds this team together and his retention of the ball is majestic. I simply love to watch him and with Alexis in the form he’s in at the moment, Özil has that Ronaldo figure to feed for all of his assists. It’s wonderful to watch and I’m glad we’re benefitting at the moment.
The third goal was another well worked one and Bellerin’s drive in to the box opened up a Watford side who knew they were beaten, but that still didn’t mean it would be easy for Ramsey, who was perhaps a little fortunate that the ball squirmed under Gomes. But hey, he played very well yesterday and so perhaps that little bit of luck was what he deserved for his efforts, so let’s just take it.
The result means Arsenal have 11 goals in three Premier League games and that early season drought that we suffered is now well and truly behind us. With United and City both winning comprehensively it was important for us to do the same, so scoring three goals and adding to the goal difference tally was also important for us, which may come in handy at the end of the season.
We look like a team capable of challenging at the moment. With Alexis, Özil, Ramsey all in form, this is an Arsenal side with their tails up. Given that confidence at the moment, Arsène has some serious thinking to so in prep for Tuesday nights game against Bayern. Throw the game and rest players like Alexis so they are ready for Everton in a week? Or try to keep the momentum going by naming the same team and looking to beat Bayern?
We can speculate more on that tomorrow, because right now it’s about basking in our victory and the league form that might just have us dreaming of a title come May.
Catch you tomorrow.