Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a convincing 3-0 win over Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
- Arsenal 3 Watford 0
- Mustafi heads Gunners in front early on
- Aubameyang doubles their lead in second half
- Deeney penalty saved by Cech
- Mkhitaryan seals victory in closing stages
Arsene Wenger's side started well and a Shkodran Mustafi header gave them the lead in the eighth minute. Former Borussia Dortmund duo Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang linked up in the 59th minute, with the latter slotting home the Gunners' second.
Three minutes later, a smart save from Petr Cech kept out Troy Deeney from 12 yards out. In the 77th minute, provider turned poacher as Mkhitaryan secured the three points after being set up by Aubameyang.
We hit a few @premierleague milestones today ?
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) 11 March 2018
The hosts came out of the blocks flying and were rewarded in the eighth minute when Mesut Ozil's free-kick from the left found Mustafi at the far post. The defender headed across Orestis Karnezis and into the bottom-left corner.
Both teams spurned glorious chances to score just after the 25-minute mark. First, Cech parried Richarlison's free-kick into Roberto Pereyra's path, but the Argentine blasted over the target from close range. Then, Ozil received the ball from Mohamed Elneny on the edge of the box and surged past his marker only to fire into Karnezis, who made a fantastic save from close range.
The Hornets continued to settle into the game as the first half progressed. In the second minute of stoppage time, Cech had to react well to tip a Richarlison header wide of the right post.
The north Londoners started the second half on the front foot in similar fashion to the first. Granit Xhaka's fierce long-range strike in the 46th minute was spilled by Karnezis, who gathered at the second attempt.
Just as they appeared to be losing their grip on the game, their star mid-season signings combined to give them some breathing space. Mkhitaryan played Aubameyang through on goal and the Gabonese striker rounded Karnezis before finishing effortlessly in the 59th minute.
Straight afterwards, a clumsy challenge from Ainsley Maitland-Niles nearly undid all that good work. The defender was ruled to have tripped Pereyra in the penalty area and Deeney stepped up to the spot. However, the striker hit the ball too close to Cech, who kept the ball out in the 62nd minute.
Two minutes later, Arsenal could easily have had a penalty of their own. Adrian Mariappa appeared to catch Mkhitaryan in the area, but referee Martin Atkinson was unmoved.
However, Mkhitaryan had the last laugh as he sealed the game in the 77th minute. The Armenian let fly from inside the box after receiving the ball from Aubameyang. It appeared as if Karnezis saw his shot late, and although he got a touch on it, he was unable to keep it out.
?️ | “I can't believe we didn't score a goal”
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) 11 March 2018