Tom Cleverley leads the celebrations as Watford beat Arsenal

Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Watford in the Premier League at Vicarage Road this evening.

Despite opening the scoring through Per Mertesacker (39 minutes) in the first half, the Gunners were beaten by second half goals from Troy Deeney (pen 71 minutes) and Tom Cleverley (90+2 minutes).

The result meant that Arsenal had lost to a 90+ minute winner in the Premier League for the first time since January 2012 (Bobby Zamora for Fulham).

It was Watford’s first home win of the season and moves the Hornets into fourth position in the Premier League table.

The Hornets have been impressive away from home having won league games at Bournemouth, Southampton and Swansea already this season, taking 10 points from a possible 12 points in four matches.

Before today Watford’s form at Vicarage Road has been poor. They had taken just two points from a possible nine in their opening three home league matches.

The Hornets have now scored in the 90th minute or beyond in three consecutive games.

The defeat drops Arsenal to sixth position in the Premier League table.

The Gunners have now taken just one point from their opening four away fixtures.

Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey weren’t included in the matchday squad that made the short trip to Hertfordshire.

Mertesacker made his first Premier League start of the season in place of the injured Shkodran Mustafi.

Mesut Ozil was on the bench after recovering from a knee injury.

Mertesacker marked his Premier League return by opening the scoring for the Gunners with a header from a corner in the 39th minute.

It was Mertesacker’s first competitive goal for Arsenal since the 2015 FA Cup Final.

The Hornets have failed to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal in 11 matches since a 1-0 away victory in 1988.

Hector Bellerin missed an opportunity to double the lead shortly afterwards after being set up by Alex Iwobi.

Substitute Ozil’s first touch set up a great chance for Iwobi in the 65th minute, who only had Heurelho Gomes to beat. The Watford keeper produced a superb one-handed stop to prevent the Gunners from doubling their lead.

Ozil was then denied by Gomes when one-on-one with the keeper.

The Gunners were to rue those missed chances when Watford drew level from the penalty spot in controversial circumstances.

Referee Neil Swarbrick adjudged that Bellerin shoved Richarlison.

Replays indicated that the Brazilian threw himself to the ground very easily and Arsene Wenger called the decision to award a penalty scandalous.

Substitute Deeney stepped up to convert the spot-kick in the 71st minute to bring the Hornets level.

Before today Deeney had gone 13 league games without a goal, his longest drought for six years.

Petr Cech has now failed to save any of the 12 penalties he has faced with Arsenal in all competitions.

Arsenal have conceded 11 goals from the penalty spot since the start of last season; four more than any other current Premier League side.

Watford finished the stronger with Deeney setting up fellow substitute Etienne Capoue in the 82nd minute.  His shot from the edge of the area hit Mertesacker’s chest and went on to hit the post.

But the Hornets weren’t to be denied.

Tom Cleverley fired into the roof of the net in the second minute of injury time to claim the three points for the home side.

The defeat ended a run of five successive away wins for Arsenal against Watford in all competitions.

Next up for Arsenal is a Europa League trip to Serbia to take on Red Star Belgrade on Thursday. Followed by a Sunday  Premier League home match with Everton.

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny (Holding), Mertesacker, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Elneny, Welbeck (Ozil), Iwobi, Lacazette (Giroud)

 

 

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