Arsenal bagged their first win of the season with a comfortable 3-1 away victory over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
A Santi Cazorla penalty and goals from Alexis and Mesut Ozil put Arsenal in complete control at half time before Roberto Pereyra reduced the deficit after the break for Watford’s consolation as Arsenal’s record wins over the Hornets extended to seven from the last eight games between the two sides in all competitions.
While Ighalo played the entire duration of the encounter, Success who was left out of the Chelsea clash last weekend having been ruled unfit came on as a second half substitute for Amrabat in the 77th minute and showed a glimpse of what the home fans should expect from him this season.
Setting the scene
After his impressive cameo off the bench at Leicester last week, Ozil returned to add flare to Wenger’s side with Francis Coquelin dropping to the bench.
Laurent Koscielny who showed his class authoritatively at King Power Stadium last weekend retained the captaincy in his 250th appearance for the club, and he continued his fledgling partnership with Rob Holding at the heart of the defence.
However, in the pre-match build-up Wenger had conceded the danger posed by Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, having scored 28 out of Watford’s 40 Premier League goals last season, and they would prove a handful again with the Nigerian showing a great deal of quality foot skills to get behind Arsenal on several occasions.
Arsenal got off to a dominant start and they were rewarded when, with nine minutes on the clock after Alexis Sanches was clattered in the area after latching on to a lofted pass from the right.
Cazorla was certainly clear of mind, and he wasted little time in slotting the ball past former Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to give the Gunners the perfect start.
From that time on, Arsenal never took their foot off the gas and the waves of pressure continued to build. They were unlucky not to extend their advantage when Theo Walcott slid in but saw his shot cleared off the line.
It soon became a one-way traffic but the visitors were soon indebted to Petr Cech after he made a fabulous save to put away a deflection off Koscielny’s that was heading towards the roof of the net. The chance seemed to embolden Watford, who soon threatened again through Deeney before Christian Kabasele headed one wide from a corner not long afterwards.
With five minutes left before half time, Arsenal doubled their advantage when a slick move between Alexis, Bellerin and Walcott saw the Chile international bundle the ball over the line from close range. and just before the half time whistle, the Gunners made it three in devastyating fashion Alexis on curled the ball into the area for Ozil to head beyond Gomes to put the game beyond Watford’s reach.
After the break, the home side had a much improved all-round performance as they pushed the visitors on the back-foot. The Hornets reduced the deficit 12 minutes after the restart when Roberto Pereyra buried a loose inside the area after Etienne Capoue’s shot appeared blocked by a hand.
Watford went close for a second as Ighalo who was excellent all through the encounter almost pulled another goal back with a bicycle kick that went just inches over the bar.
Next to go close was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who raced through on goal after more good work by the industrious Bellerin, but his chipped effort drifted high and wide.
But Watford remained a threat themselves, and once again the Gunners were thankful for Cech’s sustained excellence as he denied Christian Holebas and then Ighalo in quick succession.
Ighalo went close moments later with an acrobatic effort from inside the six-yard box as the Hornets continued to press for a way back into the game, but Wenger’s side held firm.