Thursday, December 9, 2021

Arsenal 1-0 Watford: Smith Rowe extends Gunners´ impressive run in Arteta´s 100th game

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Nov 2021


Emile Smith Rowe scored for a third Premier League game running to extend Arsenal’s unbeaten run as they beat Watford 1-0 in Mikel Arteta’s 100th game in charge.

Arsenal’s breakthrough came after a frustrating first half that saw a Bukayo Saka goal ruled out for offside before Ben Foster saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty.

Foster was in inspired form but could not keep out Smith Rowe’s drilled shot with 56 minutes on the clock, with that proving to be the only goal of Sunday’s clash at Emirates Stadium, where Juraj Kucka was sent off late on for Watford.

Arsenal are now eight league matches without defeat – winning six of those – making this their best such run in the competition since another eight-game spell ended in March 2020.

Saka thought he had opened the scoring early on when Aubameyang’s heavy touch ran to the winger in front of goal, but he was stood beyond Foster and identified as offside by a VAR review.

Arsenal continued to dominate and were awarded a penalty when Danny Rose clattered into Alexandre Lacazette. However, Aubameyang’s attempt from the spot lacked precision and Foster saved with a combination of his arm and leg down to his right.

Although Foster was then equal to Gabriel’s header, the Gunners had scored at least once in all 14 previous Premier League meetings with Watford and keep that run going here.

Smith Rowe picked up the ball following a positive run from Ben White and swept a first-time finish away from Foster to make it five goals for the season in all competitions.

Substitute Martin Odegaard was then denied when his goalbound effort was tapped in by an offside Aubameyang at the back post.

That set up a slightly nervy finish as Joshua King fired into the side-netting following a lapse in judgement from Aaron Ramsdale, but Kucka’s second yellow card for a wild swipe at Nuno Tavares effectively ended Watford’s hopes of snatching a point.

What does it mean? Arsenal end November hoodoo

Arsenal were good value for their victory – their 54th in Arteta’s century of matches – even if they were made to work a little harder than expected for the three points in the end.

Incredibly, this was the Gunners’ first home Premier League win in the month of November since 2017, snapping a run of four draws and two defeats since then.

Arteta’s men go into the final international break of the year sitting in fifth place – an incredible turnaround after losing their opening three games.

Smith Rowe the hero

Arsenal’s goal came from one of 14 shots – six of those on target – with Smith Rowe proving to be their match-winner.

He is the fourth player to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances for Arsenal when aged 21 or younger, after Nicolas Anelka, Jose Antonio Reyes and Cesc Fabregas.

Aubameyang denied by Foster

Aubameyang was bailed out by Smith Rowe after missing his second successive penalty in the Premier League. The striker has failed to score from four of his 13 penalties in the competition – only Ian Wright (six) has missed more for the club.

As poor as the effort was, Foster deserves praise for keeping it out. At 38 years and 218 days, he is the oldest keeper to save a Premier League penalty since Shay Given for Stoke City against Everton in August 2016 (40y, 129d).

Key Opta Facts

– Watford have conceded at least once in all 15 of their Premier League meetings with Arsenal; the only sides to face a team more times in the competition’s history without ever keeping a clean sheet are West Brom (26 v Arsenal) and Wigan Athletic (16 v Chelsea).
– Arteta took charge of his 100th Arsenal game in all competitions (W54 D20 L26). The only manager in the club’s history to pick up more wins than the Spaniard from their first 100 games at the helm is George Graham (56).
– Claudio Ranieri has never beaten Arsenal in the Premier League in 12 attempts (D4 L8), losing his past six away league games against the Gunners. Arsenal are the only side Ranieri has faced at least five times in his top-flight managerial career and never beaten.
– Aubameyang has missed consecutive Premier League penalties, having missed only two of his first 11 spot kick attempts in the competition.

What’s next?

Arsenal travel to Liverpool on November 20 after the two-week international break, while Watford host Manchester United on the same day.


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