Premier League

Arsenal 2-0 Watford: 'We have a winning mentality under Unai Emery'

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi (centre)
Midfielder Alex Iwobi (centre) helped Arsenal to their fifth successive league win

Arsenal have developed a "winning mentality" under new manager Unai Emery, said defender Rob Holding after their seventh successive victory in all competitions.

Emery promised to return Arsenal to the European elite after they finished outside the Premier League top four in their final two seasons under his predecessor Arsene Wenger.

A 2-0 victory over Watford at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, thanks to two goals in the last nine minutes, secured the Gunners' fifth league win in a row.

They no sit fifth in the table, behind fourth-placed north London rivals Tottenham on goal difference.

Emery pleased by Arsenal's patience

Holding told Arsenal's website: "He said when he came in that he wanted to bring a winning mentality and I think you get that from wins and you go into each game confident.

"We're physically fit and we know that we can go and get the result."

Watford captain Troy Deeney criticised Arsenal's lack of desireexternal-link after their 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road last season.

But on Saturday he faced a more committed Arsenal, who prevented Watford from scoring in the league for the first time this season.

Alex Iwobi, introduced midway through the second half, was the catalyst behind Arsenal's win.

The Nigerian's driven low ball from the right resulted in Arsenal's opener, inadvertently turned in by Watford's Craig Cathcart.

Two minutes later Iwobi was involved in a one-two with Alexandre Lacazette, who delivered a low cross for Mesut Ozil to sidefoot home.

With the game goalless, Arsenal substitute keeper Bernd Leno made a great one-handed save to deny Deeney, while Isaac Success fired narrowly wide of the far post.

Patience pays off for Emery's Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette
Lacazette failed to convert when he found himself one-on-one with keeper Ben Foster, but was key to Arsenal's two goals

Is now the right time to make a judgement on the impact of Emery?

Arsenal players are eulogising about the Spaniard, they again look like a team capable of challenging for a top-four spot, while Ozil has rediscovered his scoring touch with three goals in four matches in all competitions.

Emery made two key tactical decisions against Watford, bringing on Iwobi for Aaron Ramsey and sticking by Lacazette in attack.

"Emery is not afraid to make changes," former Gunners defender Martin Keown said on Match of the Day. "His team were resolute and determined and he is finding a way to win."

Ramsey, who looks to be on his way out of the club, shook his head as he was replaced by Iwobi in the 63rd minute. The Wales international failed to influence the game, while Iwobi added pace to midfield to complement the speed of Arsenal's front two on the break.

Magnificent seven for Arsenal
The Gunners have won seven straight games in all competitions for the first time since October 2016

It was from two swift attacks that Arsenal broke the deadlock. Iwobi first sped down the left before delivering a cross that the unfortunate Cathcart converted under pressure from Lacazette.

Arsenal caught out Watford again moments later, Ozil capping a move that was typical of those created during the pomp of Wenger's reign.

Before the goals, Lacazette was the biggest threat on the pitch, but he wasted two good chances - a one-on-one with keeper Ben Foster and a header over the bar from eight yards.

However, Emery stuck by Lacazette - a £46.5m signing in 2017 - and he played a big part in the two goals.

"When Iwobi came on, he made a real difference," Keown added. "Emery seems to have brought enjoyment back for some of the players and is pushing the club away from the Arsene Wenger era."

Leno keeps cool on league debut

Petr Cech's hamstring injury in first-half stoppage time led to the league debut for £19m summer signing Leno.

The 26-year-old German produced an exceptional low save to deny Deeney and also produced a great block to stop Andre Gray.

Leno might keep hold of the jersey after Emery suggested Cech will be out for two to three weeks.

Success makes impact, but too late for Hornets

'We deserved more than this result' - Garcia

Watford began the match with 13 points from their opening six games - and above Arsenal in the table for the first time since 1984.

The outcome could have been different had Deeney and Gray put away their chances.

Nigeria striker Success, who came on in the 72nd minute, also went close.

The 22-year-old, who scored in the League Cup defeat by Tottenham on Wednesday, had a goalbound shot blocked by Holding before his angled strike narrowly drifted past Leno's far post.

Man of the match - Rob Holding (Arsenal)

Rob Holding
Six clearances, three interceptions, including a key block to deny Isaac Success, might mean that the defender keeps Sokratis out of the starting XI

'The players are frustrated' - manager quotes

Watford boss Javi Gracia: "I am very upset for my players because they deserved more; a better result.

"We had a very good performance, with more shots, with a lot of clear chances to score. We deserved more. I'm sure the right results (will come).

"We are competing well in all the games. All the players are frustrated because they thought we'd be able to get a good result playing here.

"They have played well but, as in the last games, we feel we deserved more."

Arsenal's second-half strength - the key stats

  • Arsenal have won five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since August 2017, when they won six in a row.
  • Watford have won only one of their past 15 away league games, drawing two and losing 12.
  • Arsenal have registered back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since April last season.
  • Since returning to the top flight in 2015-16, Watford have scored seven own goals, more than any current Premier League side.
  • Arsenal have scored 10 Premier League goals in the second half this season, the joint highest with Manchester City.
  • Leno is the eighth German player to play for Arsenal in the Premier League; only Manchester City have had more Germans play for them in the competition (10).

What's next?

Arsenal are at Azerbaijan club FK Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday (17:55 BST) and travel to Fulham on Sunday 7 October (12:00).

Watford host Bournemouth next Saturday (15:00).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1CechSubstituted forLenoat 45+3'minutes
  • 2Bellerín
  • 20MustafiBooked at 62mins
  • 16Holding
  • 18Monreal
  • 11TorreiraBooked at 45mins
  • 34Xhaka
  • 10Özil
  • 8RamseySubstituted forIwobiat 63'minutes
  • 14AubameyangSubstituted forWelbeckat 77'minutes
  • 9Lacazette


  • 7Mkhitaryan
  • 12Lichtsteiner
  • 17Iwobi
  • 19Leno
  • 23Welbeck
  • 29Guendouzi
  • 31Kolasinac


Formation 4-2-2-2

  • 26Foster
  • 23NavarroSubstituted forFemeníaat 84'minutes
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 25Holebas
  • 16DoucouréBooked at 79mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 19Hughes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 18GraySubstituted forSuccessat 72'minutes
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 31mins


  • 1Gomes
  • 6Mariappa
  • 10Success
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 14Chalobah
  • 21Femenía
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWatford
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 2, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mesut Özil with a headed pass.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Danny Welbeck.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Lucas Torreira (Arsenal).

  10. Post update

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

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Kiko Femenía replaces Marc Navarro.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Arsenal 2, Watford 0. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexandre Lacazette.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Will Hughes.

  14. Goal!

    Own Goal by Craig Cathcart, Watford. Arsenal 1, Watford 0.

  15. Post update

    Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

  17. Booking

    Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  18. Post update

    Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

  20. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Abdoulaye Doucouré tries a through ball, but Isaac Success is caught offside.


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