Morning all.

What a nasty lot Watford are. There’s playing tough and playing dirty and Watford leaned heavily towards the latter. Nineteen fouls committed compared to Arsenal’s six and a referee who did very little to curb their style of play. Because of their constant fouls, the game was bitty but even so, Arsenal were the better of the two sides throughout.

The only change to the team which beat Leicester City was Ainsley Maitland-Niles replacing Thomas Partey who has a muscle injury. Mikel Arteta is unsure as to whether he’ll go off on international duty but Kieran Tierney, who was on the bench yesterday, will.

Bukayo Saka had the ball in the net early in the game but VAR poked their nose into things and decided to rule it out for offside. Danny Rose hacked down Alexander Lacazette in the box and Kevin Friend didn’t hesitate to award us a penalty. Up stepped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, to miss. Well, hit it so that Ben Foster could save it.

Just before the hour mark, we finally took the lead through the brilliant Emile Smith Rowe. Claudio Ranieri wasn’t happy because Arsenal didn’t give the ball back after his side had kicked the ball out so Ozan Tufan could receive some treatment. If every player decided to plonk himself on the ground every time the opposition went on the attack, which led to the ball being put out of play and returned to them, all teams would start doing it. No foul, no head injury, no need to clear the ball out. Unless one wants to gain an advantage of course. Was there a foul by AMN in the build up too? Perhaps but what goes around comes around I say.

Was it a misunderstanding…

I don’t know – I focus on the performance and what we want. I want to talk about what we did and why we deserved completely to win the game. – Mikel Arteta.

Martin Odegaard, on in place of Lacazette, would have made an instant difference to the scoreline had Aubameyang, who was offside, not got a touch on his shot. Replays showed the ball was on course to nestle into the back of the net. Mikel Arteta made two further changes with Mo Elneny replacing Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli replacing Bukayo Saka. Elneny did alright I thought but Martinelli didn’t have enough time to get going. There was a bit of a scare towards the end when Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White cocked up a clearance giving Josh King possession but instead of cutting the ball back, he fired his shot into the side-netting. Ha! Double ha when Juraj Kucka was shown a second yellow card for upending Nuno Tavares just before the game went into the six minutes of added time.

Anyway, 1-0 was how it ended and Arsenal moved up to fifth in the table. Six points off top spot, three off second. Excellent.

Negatives – we were wasteful in front of goal. The penalty miss, the two offsides. Could, should have made them count.

Positives – we didn’t allow Watford to bully us regardless of how hard they tried. Plus, even though things were going against us, like the missed opportunities to score and the penalty save, we kept at it for the entire game. AMN earned the POTM award and deservedly so. I thought he was solid in midfield.

Another positive, West Ham beat Liverpool in the later game which means    our invincible achievement cannot be matched this season. West Ham were very very good I thought and proved that Liverpool can be vulnerable if a team work really hard to put pressure on their keeper and defence. Arsenal shouldn’t fear going to Anfield immediately after the international break.

See you in the comments.