Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on his team’s reaction to Troy Deeney’s cojones jibe after beating Watford 3-0: You cannot be a sportsman without pride

PUBLISHED: 17:16 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:29 11 March 2018

Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi (centre) celebrates scoring during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi (centre) celebrates scoring during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Karma showed Watford’s Troy Deeney it has a long memory after Arsenal’s comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Hornets at the Emirates on Sunday lunchtime – and so did Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi (centre) celebrates scoring during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi (centre) celebrates scoring during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Gunners fans everywhere – and no doubt the players too – recalled the Watford forward’s scathing attack on the club after his side’s 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road back in October.

The bustling forward slammed the team as lacking ‘cojones’ in the aftermath of the game – but how his words came back to haunt him.

A still-smarting Arsenal side, buoyed by their superb 2-0 victory at the San Siro on Thursday clinically dismantled a Hornetes side in North London.

After easing into a 2-0 lead on the hour through goals from Shkodran Mustafi on eight minutes and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Watford were awarded a penalty 60 seconds later after Roberto Pereyra drew a foul from Maitland-Niles in the box.

Up stepped Deeney. If he were to score at such a crucial juncture of the game to pull it back to 2-1 it could have galvanised the visitors.

But with the crowd hushed, he fired it low to Cech’s right the experienced keeper anticipated correctly to block the ball.

The Emirates erupted as loudly as it did all season taking great delight in the joys of schandenfreude.

And Wenger made a point of mentioning the incident after the match saying: “I wanted to win this game. It gets us out of a negative spiral [after] a tough week.

“We dealt well with the set pieces and our spirit took advantage of them.

“It was an open game but in Milan we moved the ball very quickly and again today but we lacked a bit of freshness today.

“The highlights were Petr Cech saving the penalty”, before he added: “You cannot be a sportsman without pride.”

With the lively Henrik Mkhitaryan capping a good 72 hours for the Gunners with the third – making him directly involved in five goals in his first six appearances for the club, one fewer than in his 15 games for Manchester United this season – it was left for Cech to take the plaudits with his 200th Premier League clean sheet. For the experienced Cech, it was his first penalty save since 2011 when playing for Chelsea against Fulham.

Wenger said: “Cech had to wait a while to save a penalty. It was fortunate to save it against Deeney. He went from hell to heaven. He shows a huge level of intelligence. Look what he has achieved [in his career].”

However the empty seats at the Emirates were again a talking point as apathy from many supporters appears to be the biggest problem facing the club at the moment, with many supporters staying away because they are disillusioned with Wenger as boss.

Wenger added: “There is a lot of negativity. It’s like rain in England. There is a lot of it out there.”


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