Arsenal earn first Premier League win of season (Photo Reuters)
Arsenal earn first Premier League win of season (Photo Reuters)

Arsenal beat Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road this afternoon to earn their Premier League win of the season.

The Gunners produced a clinical first half performance scoring three goals without reply.

Watford produced a much improved second half performance but their goal early in the second half turned out to be just a consolation.

The Gunners made one change to the team that started at Leicester City. Mesut Ozil replaced Francis Coquelin, with Santi Cazorla moving to a deeper midfield role.

The first threat came from Watford. Nordin Amrabat crossed from the right-wing, after the ball was fed over the top by Adlene Guedioura but the ball was caught by Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.

The Gunners though opened the scoring in the ninth minute from the penalty spot. Mesut Ozil crossed the ball into the penalty box and Nordin Amrabat fouled Alexis Sanchez, with a challenge that ended up round Sanchez’s head.

Santi Cazorla stepped up and stroked the ball past Heurelho Gomes from the penalty spot.

Arsenal nearly doubled their lead in the twenty-third minute. Sanchez and Cazorla combined to set up Theo Walcott, but his shot was blocked by Gomes.

A minute later the Hornets nearly equalised. Amrabat crossed the ball and Laurent Koscielny almost put it into his own net, but was grateful to Petr Cech reacts quickly to palm the ball away.

Petr Cech was then sent scrambling back towards his goal as a lofted ball over the top from Amrabat but it landed harmlessly on the top of the net.

After conceding the early penalty, Amrabat was determined to make amends. He crossed Odion Ighalo but the ball was scrambled away by the Arsenal defence.

Alexis Sanchez nearly doubled Arsenal’s lead, after a one-two with Mesut Ozil, but his sside-foot effort was blocked by Gomes.

He didn’t have long to wait to get on the scoresheet. In the fortieth minute Hector Bellerin released Theo Walcott who sent an in-swinging ball across the box for Alexis to bundle the ball over the line.

Just before half-time Gomes made a superb one-handed save to deny Theo Walcott but Arsenal weren’t to be denied a third goal.

Mesut Ozil headed into the net after an in-swinging cross from the left flank from Alexis Sanchez.

Watford pulled a goal back in the 56th minute through substitute and debutant Roberto Pereyra. His left foot finish beat Cech after Arsenal failed to clear before Etienne Capoue’s strike was blocked but fell to Pereyra to convert.

Theo Walcott almost restored Arsenal’s three goal lead in the sixty-second minute but Gomes was on hand to stop his looping effort.

Next Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a chance in the sixty-sixth minute but he  put the ball over the bar.

Watford were also looking dagerous at the other end.  In the sixty-ninth minute Jose Holebas’ shot was  parried by Cech, reacts quickly to block Odion Ighalo’s on the follow-up.

Then in the seventy-third minute  Ighalo, sent a bicycle kick over the bar from six yards out.

Nacho Monreal hobbled off in the seventy-fourth minute and was replaced by Kieran Gibbs.

Alexis almost sealed the win with a fourth Arsenal goal in the eighty-eighth minute, but his curling effort but saved by Gomes.

The Hornets’ had a half-hearted appeals for a penalty turned down when a free kick into the box led to shouts for hand ball against Laurent Koscielny, but referee Kevin Friend waved away the home team appeals.

So a much-needed first win of the season for Arsenal going into the International break.

The win eases Arsenal into the top half of the table and was Arsene Wenger’s 650th Arsenal managerial win in all competitions.

The Gunners should have two new signings available after the International break.

Arsenal are closing on a deal with Valencia for 24-year-old Germany centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, who is set to sign a five-year contract for a fee in excess of £35m.

They had already agreed to meet a 20m euro (£17.1m) clause to sign Deportivo La Coruna forward Lucas Perez, 27, who scored 17 goals in 37 games last season.

Arsenal: Cech 8, Bellerin 7, Holding 7, Koscielny 7, Monreal 6 (Gibbs), Xhaka 8, Cazorla 7, Ozil 9 (Wilshere), Walcott 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6 (Elneny), Alexis 7

 

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