Premier League

Watford 1-3 Arsenal

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez earned the penalty for Arsenal, which was converted by Santi Cazorla

Arsenal beat Watford to earn their first victory of the season.

Both sides had one defeat and a draw from the opening two league matches but Arsenal's impressive first-half performance earned them three points.

A Santi Cazorla penalty, Alexis Sanchez's fumbled effort and Mesut Ozil's header gave the Gunners a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Substitute Roberto Pereyra scored for the Hornets on his debut but it proved to be a consolation for the hosts.

Walter Mazzarri's side put in a much-improved performance after the break but the Italian was made to wait for his first win as Watford manager.

Wenger spends as Arsenal shine

Wenger praises 'excellent' first half

Much like in previous seasons, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been under pressure from some Gunners fans to spend money in the transfer market.

It was revealed on Friday that Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi and Spanish striker Lucas Perez were undergoing medicals at the Emirates, and Wenger confirmed after Saturday's win that the deals were done, which takes the club's spending to almost £100m since last season.

But they did not look like a team in need of extra artillery after a polished first-half display against Watford.

The Gunners broke the deadlock when Sanchez was knocked on the head in the area by Nordin Amrabat, and Cazorla slotted the resulting penalty down the middle.

Sanchez, who looked lively throughout, made it 2-0 when he scrambled home from an accurate Theo Walcott ball into the box.

And Germany forward Mesut Ozil, making his first start for Arsenal after being rested post-Euro 2016, looked to have put the result beyond doubt on the stroke of half-time when he headed in from Sanchez's pass.

Is Pereyra the missing piece for Watford?

Mazzarri, who arrived in the summer, has spent the last two weeks reinforcing his team, bringing in forward Roberto Pereyra from Juventus, Younes Kaboul from Sunderland and fellow defender Daryl Janmaat from Newcastle.

The Hornets boss described Pereyra as the "missing point" of his squad and the introduction of the 25-year-old from Argentina invigorated Watford's performance in the second half.

His goal came after Etienne Capoue's fierce strike was blocked, and Pereyra pounced and finished with his left foot.

Arsenal keeper Petr Cech was then forced into action to save Jose Holebas' thunderbolt and he also had to react quickly to Odion Ighalo's follow up.

Although it was a spirited recovery, the damage was already done in the first half.

What the managers said

We should have scored more - Mazzarri

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: "The second half we were good and should have scored more.

"Cech played incredible for them, saved a goal two or three times but I am very happy with how our team played.

"A lot of players are new so we have to prepare later. The organisational things are still missing and two starting players were out last minute and this really didn't help."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We had a good cushion at half-time. At the moment we are not completely there physically and could see that in the second half.

"Ozil is not physically there completely but what we want from Ozil is assists and goals and I hope he can get that this season, 10 or 15 goals plus the chances he creates.

"We have bought two players - Mustafi and Perez. They will integrate into the team now and we will help them join the squad. We had to work very hard to get signings done. We have not got any plans for anyone else now."

Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez had a 92% pass accuracy in the first half and contributed a goal and an assist as Arsenal dominated Watford

The stats you need to know

  • Alexis Sanchez has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances versus Watford, while also assisting two goals in these matches.
  • This was the first league game at Vicarage Road that Watford have conceded three goals in the first half since December 2007 v QPR.
  • Only Norwich (10) have given away more penalties in the Premier League since the start of 2015-16 than Watford (nine).
  • Watford have lost all seven of their games against Arsenal in the Premier League.
  • The Hornets have now used 21 different players in the Premier League this season, with 17 different nationalities represented.
  • Arsenal had seven shots on target in this game, six of which were in the first half. Conversely, Watford attempted all six of their shots on target in the second half.

Who's up next?

After the international break, Watford travel to West Ham on Saturday, 10 September while Arsenal host Southampton.



  • 1Gomes
  • 4Kaboul
  • 5PrödlBooked at 17mins
  • 27KabaseleSubstituted forJanmaatat 52'minutes
  • 7N AmrabatBooked at 77minsSubstituted forSuccessat 77'minutes
  • 17GuédiouraSubstituted forPereyraat 45'minutes
  • 11BehramiBooked at 83mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 25HolebasBooked at 89mins
  • 24IghaloBooked at 45mins
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 60mins


  • 10Success
  • 18Zuñiga
  • 19Sinclair
  • 22Janmaat
  • 23Watson
  • 30Pantilimon
  • 37Pereyra


  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 16Holding
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18MonrealSubstituted forGibbsat 74'minutes
  • 19Cazorla
  • 29Xhaka
  • 14Walcott
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forWilshereat 70'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forElnenyat 70'minutes
  • 7Sánchez


  • 3Gibbs
  • 10Wilshere
  • 12Giroud
  • 13Ospina
  • 21Chambers
  • 34Coquelin
  • 35Elneny
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 1, Arsenal 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 1, Arsenal 3.

  3. Post update

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Valon Behrami (Watford).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Isaac Success with a cross.

  6. Booking

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).

  11. Booking

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

  12. Post update

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

  14. Post update

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

  16. Post update

    Foul by Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  19. Post update

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Watford).

As It Stood

2Man Utd33006159
4Man City22006246
11West Brom21012203
12West Ham21012203
17Crystal Palace301213-21
View full Premier League table

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