Arsenal were made to give up their two goal lead in the first-half as they drew 2-2 with Watford at the Vicarage Road earlier this afternoon.
The Gunners were off to a flying start, dominating possession and creating numerous scoring opportunities in the final third. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the opener in the 21st minute, capitalising from an excellent ball from Sead Kolasinac. The Gabonese doubled Arsenal’s lead around the half-hour mark, latching onto a cross from Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Watford, however, made an extraordinary recovery in the second half, pushing Arsenal back to their own half. The hosts looked full of intent as the opposition looked clueless during defensive phases. Tom Cleverly pulled one back in the 53rd minute, capitalising on a defensive error from Sokratis. Arsenal then conceded a penalty 78th minute, which was easily converted by Roberto Pereyra.
Here is how Unai Emery’s men performed in their disappointing draw with Watford.
Bernd Leno 9
Leno made a few extraordinary saves that kept Arsenal in the contest, notably denying Abdoulaye Doucoure during the final embers of the match. The German stepped up to the plate at the right time.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 4
Made Gerard Deulofeu look like Lionel Messi, producing a horrific defensive display. He also experienced a nervy start to the game, threading a couple of silly, misplaced passes. Got easily beaten by defenders and failed to keep track of Deulofeu.
It was yet another below-average defensive performance from Sokratis. The Greek international was culpable for the error that led to Watford scoring the first goal and giving them the boost they needed to complete the comeback. Struggled to cope with the dynamic presence of the Watford defenders.
David Luiz 4.5
Competed with Sokratis in pulling out the silliest defensive action of the game, making a strong tackle on Pereyra in the 78th minute, which resulted in a penalty for the hosts. The Brazilian looked out of place throughout the entirety of the game.
Sead Kolasinac 7
Arsenal’s best defender of the afternoon, which is a sad depiction of how bad the Gunners really were, defensively. He did, however, play a key role in Aubameyang’s opener, showing excellent awareness to thread a useful pass inside the box.
Matteo Guendouzi 5.5
Looked a little off-colour today, right from the beginning. The Frenchman was lacking his natural vigour and struggled to cope with the dynamic presence of Doucoure in the middle third of the pitch.
Granit Xhaka 6
Offered very little to the table, despite having a good first-half. The Swiss international failed to dominate the midfield duo of Etienne Capoue and Doucoure, which, in turn, resulted in Watford dominating proceedings after the restart.
Mesut Ozil 7
It was nice to see the German playmaker returning to the pitch. He played a key role behind the second goal, notably threading the ball in behind the Watford defence to find Maitland-Niles, who found Aubameyang inside the box. Aside from that, nothing substantial.
Dani Ceballos 7
Dani Ceballos was an absolute livewire in the first half, playing a critical role in half-spaces, where he helped Arsenal complete their transition. In the second half, however, he lacked support from his teammates and got isolated due to lack of possession.
Nicolas Pepe 6
It was a quiet game for Nicolas Pepe as he found it difficult to get past the astute figure of Jose Holebas. Did have his moments, at times, during the game but it was a below-par display from the Ivorian, overall.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 9
Back in the number nine role, Aubameyang showed precisely what he could do if given full freedom. The Gabonese made a host of intelligent runs in behind the box, which led to him netting a first-half brace. He was, however, almost non-existent after the restart.
Joe Willock 7
Replaced the tiring Ceballos during the hour mark and showed glimpses of his talents. Should have been less selfish and passed the ball to Pepe during a key breakaway in the final few minutes of the game.
Lucas Torreira 6
His dynamic presence in midfield was something that was missing from the Arsenal midfield this afternoon. Came on for Guendouzi in the 67th minute but failed to make an impact.
Reiss Nelson N/A
Once again struggled to impress Emery after replacing Ozil in the 71st minute. Total lightweight today.
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