Premier League
ArsenalArsenal4WatfordWatford0

Arsenal 4-0 Watford

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Alex Iwobi
Alex Iwobi scored his second goal on his second Premier League start

Arsenal kept their faint hopes of the Premier League title alive with an easy victory over a poor Watford side.

The Gunners led inside four minutes - Alexis Sanchez slotting in from close range - and controlled the first half.

Alex Iwobi forced Heurelho Gomes into a stunning save and soon doubled their advantage by sweeping in from 12 yards to finish off a superb team move.

Hector Bellerin's shot deflected in for Arsenal's third, while substitute Theo Walcott completed the rout late on.

Relive Arsenal's comfortable victory over Watford

Arsenal 4-0 Watford: Gunners' belief coming back - Arsene Wenger

All too late for Arsenal?

Arsenal had lost three straight home games in all competitions going into the match, but this was a routine win as they closed the gap to leaders Leicester to eight points.

Arsene Wenger's side still need an unlikely collapse from both the Foxes and second-placed Tottenham to have any hope of securing the league title, while tough trips to West Ham and Manchester City await in their remaining seven games.

Mohamed Elneny
Mohamed Elneny's pass distribution was littered with successful green arrows - 122 in all. Only five attempted passes failed to reach an Arsenal team-mate

Nigerian youngster Iwobi showed his potential with a pacy performance that threatened the Watford defence throughout. He netted the second goal as well as rattling the crossbar with a curling effort.

Iwobi, Sanchez and Mesut Ozil all had fine games - but were given time and space by a lethargic Watford side and by the protection offered in the middle of the park by Mohamed Elneny, who controlled the contest with a match-high 127 passes, 96% of which found a team-mate.

The Egyptian also had time to make three tackles and two interceptions, but Arsenal's upswing in form might have come too late in the season. The damage may have already been done as they picked up just their fourth win in their past 11 league games.

Watford have problems but should be fine

Watford have now won only twice in 13 league games, which includes five defeats in their last six.

Despite dumping Arsenal out of the FA Cup with a brilliant performance last month, this showing was feeble from the first whistle.

They went behind early and barely threatened over 90 minutes. managing just two shots on target, both of which fell to skipper Troy Deeney.

The Hornets were seventh at Christmas but have since fallen to 14th in the table, 11 points above the relegation zone. They have goalkeeper Gomes to thank for avoiding an even more comprehensive drubbing here, as the Brazilian made superb stops from Iwobi and Sanchez.

With Aston Villa all but down, though, Watford's excellent first half of the season should be enough to preserve their status in the top flight.

Man of the match - Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi
One goal, one shot against the crossbar and forcing Heurelho Gomes into a full-stretch save - 19-year-old Iwobi showed his potential with a classy performance

What they said:

Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi: "It's crazy, a mad feeling. When you're young, you dream of this and this is like a dream come true, winning with this team. Winning the title would be amazing but we're taking each game as it comes, game by game, and we will see where we end up come the end of the season."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I am very happy because it was a good performance. We scored goals and didn't concede, and kept the game having a good flow even at 3-0 up.

"I am pleased with Alex Iwobi's talent but even more with his attitude and his willingness to learn and to contribute with his teamwork."

Arsenal 4-0 Watford: Early goal made it difficult - Quique Flores

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores: "It is the first time we have conceded four goals and we are not happy with that. We looked light and soft, and that is not our style. We need to finish the season in the best way possible, because the players have worked very hard all season. I can't be angry with the team because I am the team, and I cannot be angry with myself."

What's next?

Arsenal travel to West Ham next Saturday (kick-off 12:45 BST), while Watford host Everton on the same day (15:00 BST).

The stats you need to know:

  • Alex Iwobi scored in back to back games for Arsenal (two goals) after failing to score in any of his 13 previous appearances in all competitions
  • Alexis Sanchez scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time since April 2015, when he did so against Liverpool
  • Hector Bellerin has been involved in four goals in his past three Premier League games (one goal, three assists)
  • Only Crystal Palace (three) have gained fewer points than the Hornets in 2016 (eight)

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Ospina
  • 24Bellerín
  • 5Gabriel
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 35ElnenyBooked at 84mins
  • 34Coquelin
  • 17SánchezSubstituted forCampbellat 79'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 45IwobiSubstituted forWalcottat 74'minutes
  • 23WelbeckSubstituted forGiroudat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Gibbs
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 12Giroud
  • 14Walcott
  • 21Chambers
  • 28Campbell
  • 33Cech

Watford

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Gomes
  • 2NyomBooked at 61mins
  • 5Prödl
  • 15Cathcart
  • 16Aké
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forGuédiouraat 69'minutes
  • 23Watson
  • 4Suárez
  • 29CapoueSubstituted forAnyaat 41'minutes
  • 24IghaloSubstituted forN Amrabatat 45'minutes
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 3Britos
  • 7Jurado
  • 11N Amrabat
  • 17Guédioura
  • 18Pantilimon
  • 20Berghuis
  • 21Anya
Referee:
Anthony Taylor
Attendance:
59,981

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home19
Away7
Shots on Target
Home12
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home7
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 4, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 4, Watford 0.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Arsenal 4, Watford 0. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Joel Campbell.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Nacho Monreal (Arsenal).

  5. Post update

    Ikechi Anya (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ikechi Anya following a corner.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Watson.

  9. Booking

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal).

  11. Post update

    Nordin Amrabat (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Nordin Amrabat (Watford).

  14. Post update

    Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

  15. Post update

    Nordin Amrabat (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Joel Campbell replaces Alexis Sánchez.

  17. Post update

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Mario Suárez (Watford).

  19. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Gabriel Paulista.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Theo Walcott replaces Alex Iwobi.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester31199354312366
2Tottenham321711457253262
3Arsenal31177752302258
4Man City31166956322454
5West Ham311312649371251
6Man Utd30148838271150
7Southampton31138104132947
8Stoke32138113639-347
9Liverpool3012994641545
10Chelsea31111194941844
11West Brom311010113037-740
12Everton29911951411038
13Bournemouth32108143854-1638
14Watford31107143036-637
15Swansea32910133342-937
16Crystal Palace3197153442-834
17Norwich3287173556-2131
18Sunderland3169163655-1927
19Newcastle3167183158-2725
20Aston Villa3237222262-4016
View full Premier League table

Top Stories