April 2, 2016: English Premier League, Week 32
Arsenal 4-0 Watford
With every game seemingly a must win, Arsenal faced Watford at home during Week 32 of the 2016 English Premier League Campaign. Arsenal, sitting in a disappoint 3rd place in the table, is a full 11 points back of Leicester and 6 points back of second place Tottenham, but have also played one less game than the two frontrunners. Watford, who recently dispatched the Gunners from the FA Cup, is a middle of the table team whose logo is a middle school drawing of a moose.
– First Prize, 7th Grade Art Gala, Timmy
Outside of Petr Cech still being out due to Injury, the Arsenal lineup should make most Gunner fans happy. Elneny and Coquelin as holding midfielders, and Iwobi, the tight like a tiger 19 year old phenom, partnering with Sanchez and Welbeck up top. The only thing that hasn’t paid off for Wenger in the past was the Gabriel and Koscielny partnership as center back defenders, as Gabriel tends to get a little psycho-horsey and over-excited and get himself out of position.
Arsenal started very strong, applying constant pressure to Watford ‘park-the-bus’ defensive strategy of getting everyone possible behind the ball. It paid off early as an Alex Iwobi cross found the leaping Alexis Sanchez whose header was initially saved by the Watford goalie but Alexis bashed in the rebound to put the Gunners up 1-0. Great start and Alexis was tempted to take selfies with every fan in the stadium but he refrained and only made time for the first six rows.
The pressure continued and after several chances went begging, but Alexis and Iwobi made it happen once again on some beautiful play from the right side sent Alexis through. His cutback pass was inch perfect and Iwobi met it at the center of the box and drilled a low ball into the back of the net. Great goal.
The second half started fairly strong for Watford but that quickly turned around as Arsenal found their footing. The pressure kept mounting until finally Arsenal found their release in a deflected shot by Bellerin which wrong-footed the Watford keeper and made its way to the back of the net.
Iwobi, who was playing out of his mind, shortly after banged a beautiful left-footed shot off the crossbar. My favorite part about it is that it was the second shot which he created himself, a rare miracle out of an Arsenal player and something I want to see more of.
The best chance of the game for Watford came shortly after Giroud was subbed on for Welbeck, when a run down the left side was crossed in to Troy Deeney and he pivoted and ripped a right-footed shot towards the right edge of the goal. It looked certain to go in but Ospina made an incredible diving save to keep the sheet clean.
Iwobi was then subbed off for Theo Walcott whose first touch was a pass to the other team. Not sure I really understand subbing in Walcott when you are protecting a three goal lead. It’s like when you buy a really expensive shirt but then it ends up being out of style the next year but you don’t want to toss it because it was REALLY expensive so you wear it anyway and just look a bit foolish but have a weird pride about it. That’s Wenger subbing in Walcott when up 3-0.
Campbell was then subbed on for Sanchez and the offense looked fairly stale for a bit. That all changed when a beautiful long pass from Ozil, which started in our half, found a sprinting Campbell on the left side. He took his chance to make a run into the box and cut back a pass to a completely unmarked Theo Walcott who tapped in the sitter. I’m pretty sure a baked ziti could have scored from there, and I’m not sure what Watford were thinking there, but hey it’s 4-0 up and that would do it.
Beautiful, much needed, win from the Gunners and the chants of “Wenger Out” are sure to be starting in the halls of the Emirates.
“C’mon, we’re all going for a pony ride!” – a gleeful Iwobi