Match Report: Watford 1-3 Arsenal

What’s that old saying? Four heads is better than one? No? Well, Arsenal’s front four of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it seem so as they helped the Gunners make easy work of Watford.

Sanchez, who spent the entirety of Arsenal’s opening two matches of the season as an anonymous figure, isolated up front, did a great deal of the damage as he drifted back and to the left. His work in the first half won Arsenal an early penalty which Santi Cazorla converted, giving the visitors an early lead. Theo Walcott proved, again, how effective he can be down the right as he found Sanchez, later, with an inviting, low cross past the mouth of the goal which the Chilean converted from a difficult angle.

Mesut Ozil, who was pulling the strings back at home in his natural number ten position, popped up in the box to meet a Sanchez-delivered cross with his head to score the third, marking the second time in his career he takes to the air to score. While Arsenal continued to the threaten the hosts with their pacey front line, their tenacity was matched in the second half as Watford started to pile on the pressure. Their work paid off as former Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra took advantage of a scramble in the box to curl his effort past a helpless Petr Cech to claw one back on his debut start.

Watford increased their intensity but, to no avail, as Arsenal continued to dictate the tempo, thanks, in large part, to Granit Xhaka’s composed, metronomic distribution from deep in the midfield. Santi Cazorla’s accomplished performance alongside him also deserves high praise. As if to complete the Arsenal fan mood revolution, Arsene Wenger conveniently opted to announce the completion of long awaited moves for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi and Deportivo striker Lucas Perez.

Overall, Arsenal’s victory, combined with the announcement of two new signings has had an almost unfathomable effect on the fan base with a number of key performances lifting the supporters’ spirits as well. A shoutout is owed to Theo Walcott who was a menace for the full 90 minutes, marking a great turnaround from last season’s mediocre performances, while Hector Bellerin and new signings Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka were in fine form in defense and midfield respectively. As Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph noted on Twitter: “Early days but, so far this afternoon, Xhaka looking like the central midfielder that Arsenal have needed for about 10 years.”

You can follow Mahmoud on Twitter at @MahmuudJaber

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