Four key talking points from Arsenal’s draw with Watford

Watford vs Arsenal

Arsenal traveled to Watford in the final Premier League game of the day on Sunday.

The Gunners had been in decent form heading into the Watford clash, winning two, drawing one and losing one in the league. The loss and draw, meanwhile, came against Liverpool and Tottenham respectively.

As for Watford, they started the weekend 20th in the league, and without a win so far this season.

The Arsenal clash was also Quique Sanchez Flores’ first game back as Watford boss.

Heading into the game, Arsenal were without Alexandre Lacazette, who could be out until October with an ankle problem.

Arsenal’s starting line-up vs Watford was pretty standard, with Mesut Ozil making his first start for the Gunners this season.

As for Watford, they made three changes from their last clash.

Watford would start the game the brighter of the two sides, but it would be Arsenal who took the lead in the 21st minute via Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang then added his second of the game around the half-hour mark.

Sokratis then gave the ball away inside his own box, allowing Tom Cleverley to slot home for Watford to make it 2-1 in the 53rd minute.

Roberto Pereyra then equalised from the spot for Watford in the 81st minute.

Here are four key talking points from Sunday’s game.

Arsenal need more from Ozil

Mesut Ozil is often a frustrating player to watch.

The German does have bags of quality, which he has shown throughout his career for Real Madrid and, at times, Arsenal.

However, Ozil often goes missing in games, especially in the bigger ties.

Sky Sports would also share a rather interesting stat concerning Ozil.

Prior to the Watford game, when he has started for Unai Emery’s side, the Gunners have won 50% of their games, compared to 59% when he doesn’t start.

Arsenal have also scored more and created more chances from open play when the German doesn’t start.

The Watford game was Ozil’s first start for the Gunners this season, and with Alexandre Lacazette potentially out until October, Unai Emery will probably need to call upon Ozil more often in the coming weeks.

Ozil had a pretty quiet opening 30 minutes, but he would play a great ball to Ainsley Maitland-Niles who then squared it to Aubameyang for his second of the day.

Apart from that pass, though, Ozil was rather unnoticeable in the game, and was subbed off in the 70th minute.

With Lacazette out, Alex Iwobi gone and Henrikh Mkhitaryan out on loan, Emery should be hoping that Ozil can step up his game a bit in the coming weeks.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford FC and Arsenal FC at Vicarage Road on September 15, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

How will Arsenal cope without Lacazette?

As mentioned above, Arsenal could be without Alexandre Lacazette until October.

After the Watford clash, the Gunners have four more games in September, versus Eintracht Frankfurt, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.

Emery’s side also have a Europa League clash with Standard Liège on October 3rd.

Given the fact that Lacazette has been a key member of Arsenal’s attack since he signed, and he has been in top form once again this season, scoring two in three PL games, Arsenal fans may have been worried that they would struggle a bit up-front without the Frenchman.

However, while it was against a side with a leaky defence, today’s game showed that the Gunners can still score goals without Lacazette.

Perhaps the main problem that Emery will encounter while Lacazette is out is the likes of Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe getting fatigued, as they will probably be featuring in all of the above-mentioned games.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 28: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts before going off injured during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais at Emirates Stadium on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Some positives for Watford & Flores

Under Javi Gracia, Watford had not kept a clean sheet since February.

Sky Sports News recently reported that part of the reason that Gracia was sacked was because he couldn’t fix his side’s leaky defence.

Flores’ first game in charge once again saw Watford fail to keep a clean sheet.

However, despite conceding twice, there were certainly some positives for Flores to take away from Sunday’s game.

Watford dominated the opening exchanges of the game, looking much the better side.

The Hornets also came out for the second-half firing on all cylinders, and would eventually be rewarded with goals in the 53rd and 81st minute.

Watford’s next game is against Manchester City, so Flores will probably not get a clean sheet in that clash, either.

However, Watford fans shouldn’t be too disheartened, as if they play like they did vs Arsenal every week, the results should start to come.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Quique Sanchez Flores, Manager of Watford reacts during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Arsenal FC at Vicarage Road on September 15, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Error-prone Arsenal

Arsenal’s defence has never been that great under Unai Emery.

However, it was pretty awful vs Watford, with both of the Hornets’ goals having come from silly mistakes at the back.

One of the new rules implemented in the PL this season allows players to be inside their own box from a goal kick.

Arsenal did this a fair few times vs Watford, albeit with little success.

And Emery’s side would eventually be punished for it when Sokratis gave the ball away in his own box with a sloppy pass.

After that error, it was revealed that since the start of the 2018/19 season, the Gunners had made 14 errors leading to goals in the PL, at least two more than any other side.

Watford’s second then came from the penalty spot, after David Luiz committed a rather naive foul on Roberto Pereyra.

Related: Arsenal’s Ceballos on Liverpool: ‘They suck the air out of you’

Per Mertesacker on why he used to get ‘p**sed’ at Arsenal’s Ozil

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