Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Arsenal ace puts on sublime display as Gunners overcome Watford in high-quality clash

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka registered a goal and assist as the Gunners beat Watford 3-2 in a high-quality match at Vicarage Road.

Saka did well to set up Martin Odegaard for Arsenal’s early opener, but Cucho Hernandez equalised in style soon afterwards. England international Saka then got a top-class goal of his own in the 30th minute, with Gabriel Martinelli following his lead after the interval.

Moussa Sissoko pulled one back for Watford to give the Hornets some hope of a late comeback, but Arsenal managed to take home all the spoils.

Mikel Arteta kept the same team from the one which beat Wolves last time out. He was without Emile Smith Rowe due to illness, though.

Roy Hodgson made three chances as Kiko Femenia, Joao Pedro and Hernandez came in. Ismaila Sarr, Jeremy Ngakia and Josh King all missed out.

Arsenal had a scare just seconds into the game when Pedro played Emmanuel Dennis in and the Nigerian finished past Aaron Ramsdale. Luckily for the Gunners the attacker was offside when Pedro’s pass was played.

Arsenal had Odegaard and Saka to thank when taking the lead in the fifth minute. The pair linked up down the right, with Saka then picking out Odegaard in the box. The Norwegian took a touch before stroking into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.

Arsenal pegged back by overhead kick

Watford showed plenty of threat though and drew level in the 11th minute, with Hernandez netting a stunner. Dennis sent Femenia off down the right, and he picked out Hernandez. The forward went up for an overhead kick and connected with it perfectly to give Ramsdale little chance.

Thomas Partey then came close to bagging just his second goal for Arsenal. Midfield partner Granit Xhaka won the ball back, and Partey stepped away from Sissoko before attempting to curl one into the top corner. The 28-year-old was unlucky to see the ball whistle past the post.

Arsenal got back in front on the half-hour mark, with Saka showing his class once again. He pinched from Tom Cleverly and then played a one-two with Alexandre Lacazette before firing into the top corner.

The high-quality finishing continued in the second half as Brazilian winger Martinelli joined in. Saka took a quick throw in which caught Watford out. Odegaard and Lacazette showed some nice one-touch play before Martinelli guided his effort into the top corner, matching the efforts of his team-mate Saka.

Watford were still in the match though and saw Hassane Kamara miss the target from a good position before Cleverly drew a save from Ramsdale.

Hodgson turned to his bench in search of a way back into the match, replacing Imran Louza with Edouard Kayembe. But the decision was met with plenty of boos from the home fans.

Watford should have got their second goal in the 72nd minute when Femenia got down the right flank again and picked out Dennis at the back post. The striker had the goal at his mercy but failed to connect.


Eddie Nketiah came on for Lacazette and almost gave Arsenal another. He attempted to beat Foster at the keeper’s near post but could only hit the woodwork.

Arsenal had a late scare when Sissoko squeezed past Ben White before slotting under Ramsdale to make it 3-2. However, the Gunners shut up shop and saw out the win.

The result gives Arteta’s men their 15th league victory of the season and sees them leapfrog Manchester United into fourth, before this afternoon’s Manchester derby.

The Gunners are also five points behind third-placed Chelsea and have a game in hand on the Blues.

Watford, meanwhile, remain four points from safety due to 17th-placed Everton’s superior goal difference. The Hornets sit in 19th and are in desperate need of some victories to push them up the table.

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