Live Commentary: Arsenal 2-0 Watford – as it happened

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Arsenal have extended their winning run in the Premier League to five matches with a 2-0 victory over Watford in Saturday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium.

A lively affair remained goalless until the 81st minute when Craig Cathcart diverted the ball into his own net after getting on the end of Alex Iwobi‘s cross.

Mesut Ozil doubled Arsenal‘s lead shortly afterwards to ensure that the Gunners moved into fifth place in the top-flight standings.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in North London courtesy of Sports Mole‘s minute-by-minute updates below.


2.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole‘s live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Arsenal and Watford. The visitors started the campaign with four successive victories, but it is the Gunners who have the momentum heading into the clash at the Emirates Stadium. Let’s see who features in each starting lineup…

2.02pmARSENAL XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang; Lacazette

ARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck

2.04pmWATFORD XI: Foster; Navarro, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Pereyra, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes; Gray, Deeney

WATFORD SUBSTITUTES: Gomes, Mariappa, Femenia, Masina, Chalobah, Sema, Success

2.06pmLATEST! Before we move on, a quick update from the London Stadium where West Ham United have just moved into a 3-1 lead over Manchester United! Click here to follow the closing stages of that match.

2.08pmLet’s continue by taking a look at the Arsenal side as Unai Emery is forced to bring Rob Holding into the centre of defence. Sokratis Papastatopoulous had been expected to shake off a knock sustained last weekend, but the Greece international does not feature in the 18-man squad.

2.10pmThere has been much talk about Aaron Ramsey‘s contract situation this week with the Wales international now unlikely to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. However, the playmaker features as the most offensive-minded of the midfield three this afternoon.

2.12pmFurther forward, Emery has decided to stick with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. That does not necessarily come as too much of a surprise, but Danny Welbeck has moved himself into contention for a starting role with four goals in all competitions. However, the England international remains on the bench.

2.14pmThere are no real surprises among the replacements. Sead Kolasinac has struggled with injury since the start of the campaign but the Bosnian is now available again to provide backup to Nacho Monreal.

2.16pmAs for Watford, Javi Gracia has gone crazy with alterations this afternoon. I say that sarcastically because the Spaniard’s one change is his only alteration to a Premier League side this season. It is enforced, too, with Daryl Janmaat being ruled out until November with a knee injury. Marc Navarro takes his place.

2.18pmGracia may have had to make two alterations after Christian Kabasele was dismissed against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup in midweek. However, the club successfully appealed the sending off and the Belgium international is now free to feature today.

2.20pmThe rest of the team is as expected with Troy Deeney continuing to take his place in the side despite carrying an issue with his foot.

2.22pmGracia will be pleased with his options on the bench after his second-string side gave a good account of themselves against Spurs. Isaac Success took his goal well in that game and could prove to be a threat if introduced in the second half.

2.24pmRESULT! The full-time whistle has gone at the London Stadium and West Ham have comfortably held on to register a 3-1 victory over Manchester United. More problems for Jose Mourinho! Click here to read our on-the-whistle match report.

2.26pmThat result has moved West all the way up to 12th place in the Premier League table. They will take that having lost their opening four games! United drop down to eighth spot and could go lower depending on the rest of today’s results.

2.28pmThis man has been tipped to make an impact for Arsenal this season. It has surprised many that tit has taken this long to make back-to-back starts in the Premier League.

2.30pmEmery may have been slightly worried when his team suffered back-to-back defeats at the start of the season – despite the opposition being Manchester City and Chelsea. However, the Gunners have turned things around with six victories in a row in all competitions.

2.32pmThe highlight of that run may have been the clean sheet recorded against Everton last weekend. So far, it is the only shutout kept since the Spaniard’s arrival, although it is fair to say that Petr Cech was responsible for keeping the Toffees out on several occasions.

2.34pmA further positive is that Arsenal have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven matches. If they can find some consistency in their defensive third, there is little reason why the North London outfit cannot become a force in the race for the top four.

2.36pmArsenal will be looking to extend two quite remarkable streaks this afternoon. The first of which concerns 3pm kickoffs on a Saturday with Arsenal not losing at that time in a home Premier League fixture since August 2013 when they were ousted by Aston Villa.

2.38pmThe Gunners have also won 21 consecutive times at home against teams outside of the so-called top six. Good luck, Watford…

2.40pmArsenal have also failed to score in just two of their last 36 home league fixtures. Who kept them out? Manchester City twice during 2018.

2.42pmAs for Watford, they head into this match looking to improve a dismal record on the road against top-six teams. The Hornets have lost 15 times in 16 attempts.

2.44pmWatford are also without a win in their last two league fixtures but you certainly won’t hear any complaints about their start to the campaign. A return of 13 points from six games is a top-flight record for the club.

2.46pmAfter a difficult first campaign at Vicarage Road, Andre Gray has enjoyed a fine start to this season with three goals from from six starts in the Premier League. Each strike has also come away from home.

2.48pmSurprisingly, it is Jose Holebas who has proven to be the club’s biggest provider of assists with four. The left-back has also found the back of the net, too.

2.50pmPREDICTION! Watford possess the players and the style of play to trouble the Arsenal defence, but the Gunners’ attack is starting to fire on all cylinders and we think that Emery’s side will have more than enough to register a fifth successive triumph in the Premier League. Arsenal to prevail by a 3-1 scoreline.

2.52pmHEAD TO HEAD! Saturday’s meeting represents just the 29th competitive clash between the two clubs, with Arsenal registering 15 wins in comparison to 12 victories for Watford

2.54pmThe last seven matches since October 2015 have been fiercely contested, with Arsenal winning four times and Watford prevailing on three occasions. Last season’s corresponding fixture in March ended in a 3-0 victory for the Gunners.

2.56pmIt’s time for the two teams to start making their way out at the Emirates Stadium. There’s a warm applause for both sets of supporters as they look for their team to close the gap on the top three.

2.58pmA reminder of the two starting lineups…

ARSENAL XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang; Lacazette

WATFORD XI: Foster; Navarro, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Pereyra, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes; Gray, Deeney

1 minKICKOFF:  Arsenal get us underway!

3 minWatford have started extremely brightly in the North London Sun. The Hornets have already earned an early corner but Cech does just enough to get the ball clear at the back post.

5 minArsenal’s first move of the game sees Lacazette and Ozil link up without anything coming of it. However, moments later, Lacazette should win a penalty after Kabasele clips him in the box but after trying to stay on his feet, the referee opts against giving it.

7 minThis has developed into an even start with both sides showing plenty of ambition going forward. Watford appear to have settled on going toe to toe with their hosts.

9 minWatford are finding it too easy to be able to run directly at the Arsenal defence. Both Hughes and Doucoure look a threat coming from a central area.

11 minCHANCE!  The first opportunity of the game goes to Watford with Gray being found at the back post and able to tee up Hughes. However, the Englishman’s first-time volley from around 16 yards is drilled wide of the post.

13 minThat opening has led to the home supporters acknowledging that their side are in a game here. Arsenal have had more possession over the past couple of minutes, but they remain second best.

15 minCHANCE!  What a chance for Arsenal. Lacazette dispossesses Cathcart and the Frenchman is through on goal. However, the forward can only dink his effort to the left of Foster and wide of the post.

17 minWatford put together another sharp move and it ends with Hughes seeing a shot deflected over the crossbar. However, there was a foul in the build-up, leading to a free kick to Arsenal in their own penalty area.

19 minBack come Arsenal who force Navarro to head behind at the back post. The resulting corner is dealt with by Foster before the defence clear the ball away from danger.

21 minArsenal are certainly more competitive than they were in the opening stages of the game, but they are struggling to find that final ball. Their only chance has come from a mistake in the Watford defence.

23 minWatford have already won five corners in this match but they are struggling to create anything from them. So far, the Arsenal defence are standing up to the aerial threat, with more danger coming along the ground.

25 minLATEST! We have only just had our first goal in the Premier League’s 3pm kickoffs. It has come at the John Smith’s Stadium with Tottenham Hotspur leading Huddersfield Town thanks to a goal from Harry Kane.

27 minMonreal is starting to have more of an impact down the left-hand side. The Spaniard has had a busy recent schedule due to injuries to his teammates, but the full-back is giving the Gunners more of an edge.

29 minWe have still only had one real chance apiece. The intent is there from both clubs, but the two backlines are doing an effective job once the ball has entered the penalty area.

31 minYELLOW CARD!  This yellow card is so harsh. Deeney goes into a challenge with Monreal, wins the ball by blocking it rather than with a tackle, but the referee adjudges it to be a dangerous tackle.

33 minArsenal revert to trying to keep hold of possession, partly to have a breather and partly – probably – to find another way to get Aubameyang into the game. He has barely featured.

35 minA needless foul from Mustafi leads to Watford earning a free kick on the edge of the area. The ball is delivered into the box, but Cech was able to claim at the second time of asking.

37 minArsenal soon get back onto the ball and look to engineer a move which may trouble this Watford defence, who are really performing well so far. Just the eight minutes to go until half time.

39 minSHOT!  Better from Arsenal who end up getting a shot on target from distance through Xhaka, but Foster makes a smart save down to his right.

41 minWatford need to be careful not to see this work undone before half time. Arsenal are slowly beginning to get on top as we approach the break.

43 minHughes now commits a needless foul around 35 yards from goal, but Xhaka takes it quickly and ends up giving the ball away. Game management, Granit. Game management…

45 minYELLOW CARD!  Torreira is now booked having fouled Deeney on the halfway line. There will be one minute of added-on time.

45+2 minSUBSTITUTION! This is a blow for Arsenal. Cech has done his hamstring taking a goal kick and Leno is on as his replacement.

45+3 minHALF TIME:  Arsenal 0-0 Watford

3.51pmThe half-time whistle goes at the Emirates Stadium and we remain on level terms. We have not witnessed many significant chances but this has been a good game with Watford more than playing their part.

3.55pmArsenal’s best chance of the first half went the way of Lacazette after the Frenchman had dispossessed Cathcart in order to run clear on goal. However, the striker attempted to be too clever and ended up dinking the ball wide of the post.

3.59pmWatford created the first chance of the game as Gray teed up Hughes with a neat header back into the Englishman’s path. The midfielder made solid connection with his volley, but it was dragged marginally wide of the post.

46 minKICKOFF:  Watford get us back underway.

48 minNot much to report from the early stages of the second half. Arsenal are having more of the ball but for now, Watford are sitting back and absorbing the pressure.

50 minHughes has started to rack up the fouls in midfield, some of them cynical too. He can’t be too far away from a yellow card.

51 minCHANCE!  The first opening since the restart goes to Arsenal, with Holding sending a header over the crossbar after meeting a corner. The centre-back should have at least forced Foster into a save.

52 minCHANCE!  Up the other end, Leno pulls off a stunning save to deny Deeney, whose volley after meeting a Holebas free kick was heading towards the bottom corner.

54 minCHANCE!  Watford have dominated the last few minutes but Arsenal break with Aubameyang finding Lacazette in the centre of the penalty area. However, the Frenchman heads wide of the post from 12 yards.

56 minThis game surely can’t end goalless. Both teams are not taking a backwards step in search of the three points. Watford certainly don’t look overawed or content to try to earn a point.

58 minThere are a few groans starting to come from the Arsenal supporters. Their team are playing fairly well so they should be getting behind their side rather than getting too frustrated at this stage.

60 minMore pressure from Arsenal leads to yet another corner. It looks like Emery is preparing a second substitution.

62 minYELLOW CARD!  After a lengthy delay due to a knock picked up by Capoue, nothing comes from the resulting set piece. Mustafi picks up a booking, we think for dissent.

63 minSUBSTITUTION! On comes Iwobi, who replaces Ramsey. The Wales international has not been involved too much this afternoon.

65 minWatford have spent the last 10 minutes on the back foot, but you shouldn’t rule them out at this stage. Gray and Deeney have looked lively throughout, and they have options on the bench.

67 minXhaka picks up the ball in a position where he can try to find Monreal at the back post, but the left-back cannot reach the inswinging cross in time to make a full connection.

68 minCHANCE!  As I said, do not rule Watford out here. The Hornets storm forward and Gray is played in behind the Arsenal defence, but Leno comes out to block the ball as the forward attempted to find the far corner.

70 minSHOT!  Pereyra has been quiet today but the winger almost scores a worldie, turning Torreira inside out before just missing the far post from 20 yards with a looping curling effort. Leno was beaten.

72 minSUBSTITUTION! Watford’s first change sees Success replace Gray.

74 minWatford win a free kick on the left and Cathcart wins the ball ahead of Iwobi at the back post. However, it rolls through to Leno who is able to claim at the second time of asking.

75 minCHANCE!  Success should open the scoring for Watford! The substitute is released in behind the Arsenal defence but from 10 yards, the striker clips the far post!

77 minSUBSTITUTION! A final alteration for Arsenal sees Welbeck introduced for Aubameyang.

78 minThis is poor from Torreira, who tries to get Deeney sent off for a foul on the byline. The referee and assistant are having none of it.

80 minJust the 10 minutes to go now and we remain goalless! I really don’t know how. However…

81 minGOAL!  Arsenal 1-0 Watford (Craig Cathcart own goal)

81 minArsenal make the breakthrough! Iwobi gets down the right and looks for Lacazette at the near post. The Frenchman misses his kick, but the ball ricochets off Cathcart and goes inside of the near post.

83 minGOAL!  Arsenal 2-0 Watford (Mesut Ozil)

83 minJust like that, Arsenal wrap up the points! The second goal is similar to the first, with Lacazette breaking down the right and crossing for Ozil to provide the finish from 10 yards out.

86 minIt’s harsh from Watford but they have been made to pay for failing to take their chances when they came. This is going to be a fifth successive Premier League win for Arsenal.

88 minSHOT!  Pereyra tries his luck with a speculative effort from distance, but the Uruguayan’s strike goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

90 minThere will be four minutes of added-on time.

90+2 minArsenal are still pushing for a third but it doesn’t look like it is going to come. More importantly, this will be a second successive clean sheet in the Premier League.

90+4 minFULL TIME:  Arsenal 2-0 Watford

4.58pmThe full-time whistle goes at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal have comfortably held on to secure a 2-0 win over Watford. An own goal from Cathcart and a neat finish from Ozil made the difference in what was an even contest.

4.59pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this afternoon and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.

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