Premier League

Watford 0-3 Arsenal

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud came on in the second half to score Arsenal's second

Arsenal produced a superb second-half display to defeat Watford and move into second place in the Premier League.

Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring after the break when he pounced on the loose ball after Mesut Ozil appeared to be fouled and fired in.

Sanchez always dangerous - Wenger

Olivier Giroud slammed in the second, before Aaron Ramsey slotted in his first for the club this season.

Watford's best chance came in the first half when Odion Ighalo screwed his shot wide from 12 yards.

Relive the action between Watford and Arsenal as it unfolded

Could an on-song Ramsey mean this is Arsenal's season?

It remains a big 'if', but if Ramsey can rediscover the form he showed in the first half of the 2013-14 season then Arsenal could land their first league title since 2004.

Arsenal attacked the wings and targeted Watford's full-backs

The Wales international was on a remarkable run two seasons ago, scoring 13 goals in 27 appearances to lead Arsenal's charge at the top of the table. However, in December he suffered a thigh injury which kept him out of action until April - and with it went Arsenal's title chances.

This season the Gunners' goals have largely come from Sanchez, Giroud and Theo Walcott. Ramsey had a chance to join the list in the first half but missed with what was his 26th effort on goal - more than any other Premier League player who has not scored yet this season.

But having notched for Wales last week, he finally grabbed his first for his club when he converted Hector Bellerin's through-ball, albeit via a slight deflection off Ikechi Anya.

Gunners' big guns firing

Ramsey became the latest member of Arsenal's strong attacking unit to find the net today.

Flores takes positives from defeat

Walcott, with four goals this season, failed to make an impact at Vicarage Road, but manager Arsene Wenger had Giroud in reserve. And although Sanchez and Ozil were relatively anonymous in the first half, they displayed their class after the break and were ruthless as Watford's usually resilient defence tired.

Some would criticise Ozil's lack of goals - only one so far this season - but the German World Cup winner provided two assists.

If they all find some consistency in the league then Arsenal fans will no doubt get value for money this campaign.

Man of the match - Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil provided six key passes (including two assists for the goals) - more than any other Arsenal player

Manager reaction

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, speaking to BBC Sport:

"It was an important win for us. You could see why Watford have not conceded many goals at home. They are strong and very direct and we could not make a mistake.

"When we scored the first goal I like the fact we were relentless and continued to attack. The confidence is there and once we were 1-0 up or 2-0 up we continued to play and attack.

"Physically and mentally the game became more difficult for Watford as well and we took advantage of that."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, speaking to BBC Sport:

"I'm a little frustrated. In the first half we played really well.

"We have to make an amazing effort if we want to make the level. We have to be positive with our first hour. The match was finished in a 10-15 minute spell.

"I am really happy with the first half performance. We had chances and I felt we would get the first goal."

The stats you need to know

  • Watford have never won a Premier League game in the month of October (D4 L6).
  • The Gunners have won their last six meetings with the Hornets in all competitions, including all five previous Premier League clashes.
  • Watford conceded as many goals in this game (three) as they had in their previous six top-flight matches at Vicarage Road combined.
  • Ramsey scored his first goal of the season in the Premier League, after failing to net with his previous 26 (inc. blocked) in 2015-16.
  • Watford striker Troy Deeney has now had the most shots without scoring in the Premier League this season (23 shots inc. blocked).

What next?

Arsenal face a huge test against Bayern Munich in midweek in the Champions League - a match they really have to win - before they host Everton next weekend. Watford, who dropped to 14th in the Premier League, are at Stoke.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 1GomesBooked at 63mins
  • 2NyomBooked at 47minsSubstituted forBerghuisat 69'minutes
  • 5Prödl
  • 15Cathcart
  • 16Aké
  • 21AnyaSubstituted forParedesat 81'minutes
  • 29Capoue
  • 23Watson
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forIbarboat 75'minutes
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9Deeney


  • 3Britos
  • 8Behrami
  • 13Gilmartin
  • 14Paredes
  • 19Ibarbo
  • 20Berghuis
  • 25Holebas


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 4MertesackerBooked at 58mins
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 34Coquelin
  • 19Cazorla
  • 16Ramsey
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forArtetaat 81'minutes
  • 17SánchezSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 80'minutes
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forGiroudat 64'minutes


  • 2Debuchy
  • 3Gibbs
  • 8Arteta
  • 12Giroud
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 21Chambers
  • 49Macey
Mike Jones

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 0, Arsenal 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 0, Arsenal 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).

  4. Post update

    Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

  6. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Francis Coquelin tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford).

  9. Post update

    Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Steven Berghuis.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Nathan Aké.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Heurelho Gomes.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Nathan Aké.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Juan Carlos Paredes replaces Ikechi Anya.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Mikel Arteta replaces Mesut Özil.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Alexis Sánchez.