Arsenal’s defence shot themselves in the foot against Watford

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Arsenal’s defence shot themselves in the foot against Watford… no club worth its salt should throw away the win against bottom of the table

  • Arsenal fell to a late draw against Watford at Vicarage Road after a comeback
  • The Gunners led at half time after goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • However a fight back from the Hornets meant the spoils were shared on Sunday

Your opponents are bottom of the table. They’re devoid of confidence and staring at yet another defeat. 

It’s half time and you’re leading 2-0. From there, no club worth its salt should throw away the win, especially not one that is chasing a top-four finish.

Yet Arsenal did. What a horrific second 45 minutes this was for Unai Emery, probably his most painful since he came to the club. His side gifted Watford a goal and a route back into the game at Vicarage Road. 

A second half capitulation meant that the Gunners let a two goal lead slip at Vicarage Road

A second half capitulation meant that the Gunners let a two goal lead slip at Vicarage Road

Arsenal's botched goal kick helped lead Watford's second half comeback at Vicarage Road

Arsenal’s botched goal kick helped lead Watford’s second half comeback at Vicarage Road

Arsenal tried to pass it out from the back but served only to shoot themselves in the foot. There were precisely four seconds between Bernd Leno taking his goal-kick and Tom Cleverley scoring to make it 2-1 in the 53rd minute.

 Sokratis was the culprit who gave the ball away in between. ‘Pass it out’ may be the message from management but as a player, there are times on the pitch when you simply have to trust your gut. 

You have to use that instinct and realise that, sometimes, it is not worth the risk. Nicolas Otamendi learned that the hard way for Manchester City at Norwich and Sokratis learned it on Sunday, too. Arsenal capitulated after conceding that goal. 

Their passing game disintegrated. They didn’t know whether to lump it long or continue to try to play it short. Then, in the final 10 minutes, David Luiz lazily threw out a leg to give away a penalty. 

His list of mistakes is growing longer by the week. In the end, Arsenal were fortunate to escape with a point against Watford. There was a time when this club led the way defensively. I don’t know how many more years we will have to wait to say that again. Not for the first time, Arsenal were architects of their own downfall. 

A first half brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners a comfortable lead

A first half brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners a comfortable lead

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