By Walter Broeckx
As you may have read I went to the match with our supporters club from Belgium. A disastrous trip that resulted is us being late and missing a part of the match. Since then I have been writing angry letters to the bus company and wait for their reaction. But finally I got the time to do the match report itself. Apologies for the late report.
It took Watford almost one minute to touch the ball for the first time and then immediately they lost it again after that first touch. Arsenal moving the ball around and players moving well in the opening minutes. Alexis with a cross to Welbeck but a defender can head it away just in front of the latter.
A foul on Alexis but not given but Arsenal keep the ball and continue the attack. Iwobi with a cross to Alexis. Gomes can save his header but the ball comes back to him and he scores the rebound. GOAL 1-0 to The Arsenal after 4 minutes. Arsenal Belgium celebrate with gritted teeth in the bus still on Holloway Road.
Alexis with another cross but Monreal heads over. Alexis tries to reach Welbeck but Gomes first on the ball. Monreal being pushed but no foul for the ref, lucky Arsenal win the ball back quickly. Alexis with a ball to Welbeck who fluffs his shot when Özil was just on the overlap and in a better position.
Seconds later Welbeck to Iwobi who tries to beat Gomes with a curling effort to the top corner but the keeper with a great save. By now most Arsenal Belgium members are inside the stadium. From the corner Arsenal come again and a low cross from Özil to Welbeck whose shot is deflected just wide. Only 1-0 after 15 minutes, it could have been more.
Prodl pushes Welbeck in the back in the penalty area but as is in the laws: Arsenal players don’t get fouled in the penalty area. Deeney with the first ball between the posts for Watford with a soft header from a long way out, no problem for Ooooospina. All but one Arsenal Belgium members inside the stadium by now. Özil with a low cross, Welbeck tries to backheel it but it goes out from a defender and the shot from Coquelin is blocked by a defender. That could have gone in. Nyom tries to take out Özil and even Taylor gives the foul for the late challenge. Alexis with the free kick but an excellent save from Gomes.
Elneny bosses the midfield area together with Coquelin and Watford can’t even get an attack started and what goes past them is easily dealt with by the defenders. Arsenal completely dominant. On a rare occasion Ospina has to be quick off is line to smother a possible danger. Watford kick the ball out but get the throw in… Welcome to the PL Elneny. Still only 1-0 for Arsenal after half an hour.
Welbeck goes to the goal line but his cross is cut out by a defender. Unlike when a Watford defender is down the ref doens’t stop the play when Gabriel is down injured (from a kick from Coquelin?) now Arsenal has to kick the ball out themselves. Watford gives it back to Arsenal. Arsenal with a pause in their good football for a few minutes now and Watford now with a few attacks but Ooospina is just a spectator.
Coquelin with a good ball to Alexis who is in some space on the right flank, a good look up a cut back to the onrushing Iwobi who shoots the ball in the net. GOAL! 2-0 to the Arsenal after 38 minutes. Well deserved and a better reflection on what has happened on the pitch so far.
Bellerin with some lovely footwork when turning out a difficult situation… what a player…Özil with a backheel setting up another Arsenal attack… lovely football from Arsenal. Monreal being brought down on the edge of the penalty area but as usual the ref sees nothing wrong. Arsenal 2-0 in front at half time.
More of the same from the start of the second half. Arsenal moving the ball around and Watford running behind the ball but not getting it. Alexis and Bellerin combining on the right flank but the cross from Alexis is being head out to Bellerin who takes the shot and it takes a deflection from a defender and ends up against the back of the net. GOAL 3-0 to The Arsenal after 48 minutes.
Time to push on. Alexis combing in with Iwobi on the centre-right hand side of the penalty area. Alexis to Iwobi and Alexis offers himself again with a run on the outside, Iwobi cuts inside to his left foot and his shot beats the keeper but crashes against the crossbar…. unfortunately Özil his rebound bounces over the goal but it was difficult. This should have been another Arsenal goal.
A cross from Özil but the header from Welbeck is straight at Gomes. Finally then some danger in front of Ooospina and Monreal on the right spot to clear the header in front of the goal line. Arsenal now showboating all over the pitch with Özil showing all the passing tricks in the books much to the delight of the Arsenal supporters who shout olé for many a minute. Nyom then has enough of it and kicks Özil deliberately from behind and gets a yellow card.
Oooospina who had been without job the whole afternoon then has to stretch himself to stop a shot from Deeney on the turn and does so with a fine stop and he can even avoid the corner. He gets a well deserved round of applause from the Clock End for this fine save.
At the other end Özil with a corner and Giroud who had come on for Welbeck with the header but Gomes can stop. Campbell on for Alexis and Theo came on for Iwobi who both receive a storming round of applause for their match.
Özil to Campbell who plays it to Giroud with the outside of the foot but Giroud just can’t reach it and Gomes can save Watford. But it was just a delay of execution. Özil once again with a great long ball to Campbell who was in some space on the left flank, Campbell dribbles past Nyom and plays a low cross and Theo is on hand to put it over the line with his left foot. GOAL! 4-0 in the 90th minute.
A fine goal to round things off and to give the real difference in class between both sides on the day.
Our finishing seems to be better the last days. Welbeck, although he didn’t score, had a good match and was always running and creating space. Iwobi…. well what can you say… 19 years old! Nineteen! Amazing how he has established himself in the team in such a short time. He plays as if he 29! Alexis was as lively and influential as we know he can be. Finally over his hamstring injury and with a free head? And what about cheap Elneny…
This was Arsenal at its best and they were a joy to watch. They surely made up for our travelling nightmare. Thanks for that guys!