By Walter Broeckx
Alexis and Özil starting again and also Coquelin back in the team after his one match suspension.
Starting team: Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Coquelin, Campbell, Özil, Alexis, Giroud
On the beach: Macey, Bellerin, Monreal, Flamini, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck.
Arsenal with most of the ball in the opening minutes. Alexis to Giroud who was inches offside judged the assistant and the opening goal from Arsenal was cancelled.
Ref Marriner calls a foul against Gabriel, the one that is never given when Giroud or more specific Ozil is at the receiving end. At the other end a low cross from Gibbs but a defender just before Campbell on the ball. A low cross from Chambers but Pantillon can cut out the danger.
Arsenal with the possession and Watford speculating on the counter. Per with a few good interceptions to prevent Watford from getting really dangerous. Gabriel and Treeney both going in with 200 % commitment for a 50/50 ball, lucky noone really harmed. Elneny alone in front of Pantimillon but he shoots wild over the crossbar. A pass to 3 team mates in space might have been a better option.
Elneny with another shooting attempt but the ball takes a big deflection and ends up in the arms of the Watford keeper. A Watford player leaning all over Özil and this time no foul for the ref…. come one this is getting a bit ridiculous you know. Giroud again being called back for being just offside. Özil with some very fancy footwork past two defenders, to Campbell who lays it off to Elneny but again the Egyptian his shot is off target. Özil to Campbell but his lob goes over the Watford goal. We should have been well in front by now. Pantilimon gets a yellow card for time wasting in the 43th minute. Arsenal by far the better team but no score in the first half.
A header from Giroud but just over the crossbar after a corner from Özil. A throw in for Watford end up in front of the feet if Ighalo who turns and shoots past Ospina. 0-1 to Watford after 50 minutes. Against the run of play but football is about scoring.
Ighalo with another shot but over the goal this time. A shot from Elneny but directly at the keeper. Giroud being pulled back clearly but the ref ignores it… but not when an Arsenal player uses his arms of course. Nothing against a good call but why so one sided at times? Giroud can be fouled without anything being called now. Ighalo again dangerous on a Watford counter but he just can’t get to the ball. Watford being allowed to handle the ball but luckily Ighalo spills the ball. Campbell with a cross and Giroud pokes it it but against the Watford keeper who can catch the rebound.
What looked a foul on Özil in midfield, not given of course, Watford can counter. Deeney lays it off to who Guediora who hammers it in the top of the goal. 0-2 for Watford after 64 minutes.
At the other end it was more a matter of just not. Campbell witha low cross but Giroud can’t put it over the line and it goes in to a corner. Giroud then misses his volley after the corner.
Changes for Arsenal Elneny, Campbell and Giroud going off and Welbeck, Walcott and Iwobi coming on. Pantimilon first on the ball just before Walcott. Özil having enough of the falls on himself not being called and goes in hard and then the ref calls a foul and gives him a yellow card.
Gibbs with a header but to close to the Watford keeper. Time for more time wasting from Watford with players falling down all over the pitch. A shot from Chambers goes just wide. It seems that only the assistants call fouls on Arsenal players now. The passing just not good enough at times from Arsenal. Coquelin with a an error almost giving Watford a third goal but lucky Ospina could stop the cross. A deflected shot from Alexis goes just wide. Özil with a backheel to Welbeck who finally scores a goal for Arsenal. 1-2 after 88 minutes. Iwobi with a shot that hits the post, the rebound falls to Walcott who gives it to Welbeck…who misses the open goal. Welbeck then with another chance Pantimilon saves and the ref… gives a goal kick…
Only 4 minutes extra time after all that time wasting???? And more time wasting …. with players falling down for nothing.
Arsenal lose because they didn’t take their chances in the first half, Watford did score from their first chance. Playing against a team that is save in the league and for which the FA cup is their really only chance on a trophy proved very difficult. Again the ref refused to give fouls on Özil in particular and if Özil ever leaves Arsenal or the PL it will be because he is sick of the treatment he gets from the refs. The time wasting was once again over the top and wasn’t punished by the ref at all. And in the end when missed again the chances to get at least a replay.
Oh, this is the day that the FA cup is now again a real trophy…. watch out for it….