Arsenal 3-0 Watford; Karma shows Troy Deeney it takes cojones to score at the Emirates
PUBLISHED: 15:36 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 11 March 2018
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.
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 and his words came back to haunt him.
Not just because of goals from Shkodran Mustafi on eight minutes, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the hour and the lively Henrik Mkhitaryan capping a good three days for the Gunners with the third.
For Deeney, in what must should be labelled as one of the moments of the Emirates season had a penalty saved by Petr Cech, his first for Arsenal, which also ensured the 200th clean sheet of his career.
Arsene Wenger fielded a strong forward presence against Watford including the heroes of the San Siro, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil.
Although the Gunners second goalscorer of the evening Aaron Ramsey was not in the squad and Jack Wilshere benched.
It was a nod to the second leg on Thursday which is crucial in prolonging hopes of silverware for the club this season.
It was a wise move as Wilshere expended so much energy in denying the talented rossoneri midfield space and time as he outshone their direct opposition in Milan duo of Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Kessie – a combination that had scored 10 goals between them this season, picking up seven assists between them prior to kick-off before that momentous match in Italy.
Yet it was hard to tell whether the empty spaces at the start of the match in North London on Sunday were more to do with fans choosing mums over bums on seats.
Although Wenger insisted a bad week did not make a bad team, or a bad manager, the feeling very much remains among a huge majority of Arsenal fans the long-serving Frenchman must leave the club in order for the team to progress in terms of challenging for the Premier League.
For the provisional wing of the Wenger Out Brigade however, there has to be hope that if the club extend their continental adventure it will not be a question that lifting the Europa League will prolong his tenure.
Why can’t it be a glorious goodbye? Certainly if the increasingly visible Josh Kroenke – son of ‘Silent Stan’ - can be persuaded to relay the wish of many to his father, that in order to stem a £23.4 million loss on the balance sheet he first has to change the manager.
On the pitch many Arsenal fans were hoping that their nemesis from the disappointing 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road – Troy ‘cojones’ Deeney would get his comeuppance after his outspoken attack on the team after the match.
While his post-match views were entertaining and a change from the normal banalities, it certainly broke a few unwritten rules.
Would karma come calling? We would have to wait and see.
There was an early sign it was to be the Gunners day after Aubameyang nearly scored after 180 seconds after he was sent through by Mkitaryan.
Five minutes later Arsenal went 1-0 up on eight minutes. Ozil’s free kick from the left flank found the head of the unmarked Shkodran Mustafi, who emphatically powered his header home past Hornets keeper Orestis Karnezis.
An Ozil free-kick for a Mustafi header was becoming a fruitful combination as four of his five goals for the club have come from an Ozil assist.
The goal marked the club’s 1000th in the Premier League which was nice. Although it would have been nicer to have had a figure for the total number of strikes scored in the top flight.
As for those who favour stats it was also Ozil’s 50th assist for the club.
On the hour mark Aubameyang doubled the lead after a driving run from Mkitaryan through the heart of the Hornets defence before sending his former Borussia Dortmund colleague through on goal to finish clinically.
The celebrations appeared to be shortlived as fewer than 60 seconds later Watford were awarded a penalty after Roberto Pereyra drew a foul from Maitland-Niles, which Wenger said afterwards was harsh.
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 as 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 schadenfreude.
It was one of the moments of the season for Arsenal fans as Deeney looked crestfallen.
There was more to delight for the home fans as Mkihtaryan made it 3-0 on 77 minutes.
He was then immediately substituted to loud acclaim to be replaced by Jack Wilshere.
And as the clock ticked down there was an atmosphere not normally associated with the Emirates at the moment. One of fun and enjoyment.
Whether it lasts as AC Milan come to town on Thursday remains to be seen but for today, at least, it was very much a case of what goes around comes round for Troy Deeney.
Much to the delight of every Arsenal fan on the planet.