Watford took on Arsenal in their first home match under the tutelage of manager Quique Sanchez Flores. After a dismal start to the season, the Hornets were looking to get back to winning ways but had a stern challenge in front of them in the form of the Gunners. Unai Emery’s men started in expected fashion as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang kept his goal-scoring form intact with two goals in the first half to get the Gunners in the driving seat. However, the Hornets came back stronger in the second half as goals from Tom Cleverly and Roberto Pereyra brought them back into the match as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
The game had a number of talking points and we are going to discuss a few of them in the following lines.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brilliant form
The Gabonese international has been in the form of his life as he added to his goal tally with two more brilliant strikes to get his side ahead of the hosts in the first half. His pace, the accuracy on the shots as well as presence of mind has been pinpoint so far this season and he was once again phenomenal against the Hornets. However, it seemed that the absence of his strike partner Alexandre Lacazette affected his form in the second half as he could not see much of the ball and could not complete his hat-trick which was well-deserved.
The Hornets looked determined to get themselves back in the game as they completed a superb comeback. Under their new manager, the hosts looked like an absolutely different team, especially in the second half, as they kept attacking the opposition goal with a lot of teeth and vigour from time to time and got their rewards. However, they missed a number of opportunities as well, which, if converted, could have got them their first win of the season.
Emery looked to change things around when everything was looking good for his side. He withdrew Dani Ceballos, who looked the best player on the pitch after Aubameyang. This move allowed the Hornets to utilise the acres of space they got in the midfield as the Gunners defended in numbers but could not get much in their favour in the second half. Substitute Joe Willock looked nowhere near the quality that Ceballos produced on the pitch and it was certainly a mistake that Emery would be regretting in the dressing room.
4. Sanchez Flores’ shrewd substitutions
The Spanish manager was reinstated in his former position as the gaffer at Watford. That was after the sacking of Javi Gracia. This was just before the international break. He had a tough task on his hands first up against Arsenal.
In fact, things did not look to be going his way in the first half. However, in the second half, he made some changes. One of them was to bring on Roberto Pereyra. The player won a penalty and stole a point from the jaws of defeat by converting the spot-kick, which came as a huge relief for the Watford fans as well as for their new manager.