Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal of the match as Arsenal beat Watford 1-0 at home to move up to fifth place in the English Premier League (EPL) table. This is their third league win in a row and their 10th competitive match in which they could not be beaten.
The Gunners dominated the game from the get-go and they could have been up already seven minutes in. Alexandre Lacazette lobbed the ball over the Watford keeper onto the feet of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who passed it to Saka and the young England winger scored. Unfortunately, there was just one defender between the ball and the net, and the referee was quick to wave it off for offside after checking with VAR.
Danny Rose clumsily fouled Lacazette in the box 34 minutes in, and Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Aubameyang was the one to take it, and while he shot it pretty well, with enough power, near the left post, Ben Foster was there to save it and keep the hopes alive for the away team.
The main moment of the match came after halftime, on 56 minutes. Arsenal were more aggressive in the attack and won the ball. Ben White took it on himself to dribble it into the box, and while he did not quite succeed, the ball still found its way onto the foot of Emile Smith Rowe who gracefully placed it into the bottom right corner.
Watford manager Claudio Ranieri was very displeased with a possible foul that preceded the play and also with the fact that Arsenal did not return the ball to Watford after they intentionally kicked it out of the play to allow treatment for one of their players.
But Mikel Arteta didn’t see it the same way: “I have to defend my players, my team and my club…If he [Ranieri] feels like that towards our club, I have to apologise if that’s the case. But for sure there was not any intention to take advantage.”
Watford were unable to produce any dangerous shots on the net and after their midfielder Juraj Kucka received his second yellow card of the game, it was clear that the bout will stay at 1-0 in favour of the home team.
Arsenal have jumped in front of Manchester United (who were beaten by their Manchester rivals) and are fifth in the EPL table on 20 points. Watford are 17th on 10 points, just two points above the relegation zone.
The real test for the Gunners comes after the international break when they are going to face Liverpool at Anfield. If they were to get the win, they could move up to the fourth place.