There’s honestly not much to say about today’s 2-1 loss to Watford. Mesut Özil should have put Arsenal up 2-0. The Watford penalty shouldn’t have been given. At the end of the day, Arsenal had a golden opportunity to pick up points on their top four rivals and squandered it with a mediocre first half and a poor second half.
With Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sánchez out and Özil starting on the bench, Arsenal looked a bit flat and lacking ideas in attack. The three substitutions in the second half did nothing to change that and may have made the side worse.
I’d love to recap some of the play, but writing about misplaced through balls and plays that almost came off would be more boring than the first half of this match and probably more crap than Arsenal were in the second.
So have these random thoughts instead:
Petr Čech: still has yet to save a penalty for Arsenal. 0 for 11.
Laurent Koscielny: it was good to see him available. The prospect of a back three WITHOUT him or Mustafi and WITH Holding and Chambers was frightening. Went off early with a knock. PLEASE GOD LET HIM BE OKAY.
Per Mertesacker: not fast, still tall. Beat three men on his goal. Almost headed the ball THROUGH the back of the net. Didn’t make any mistakes, which is more than you can say about most of Arsenal’s players today.
Nacho Monreal: no memorable moments, but that’s Nacho right? Not flashy, just solid. Has quietly been one of Arsenal’s most important players for a while now.
Héctor Bellerín: looked to have foolishly given away a penalty. On review, it was not a foul and probably a dive. Wasn’t nearly as involved as he’s been in past games, but that’s probably because Arsenal didn’t have anybody capable of completing a pass today.
Mohamed Elneny: love his willingness to shoot from distance. I think it brings a much-needed, different element to the Arsenal attack and opens up space. Like most of Arsenal’s players today, he was unremarkable.
Granit Xhaka: love his willingness to shoot from distance. I think it brings a much-needed, different element to the Arsenal attack and opens up space. Yes, I wrote almost the same thing about Elneny -- it’s because right now there is not much to separate the two of them. He HAS to stop giving the ball away so cheaply.
Sead Kolašinac: apparently he was on the field for this match. Could have fooled me.
Alex Iwobi: was on the ball in attack probably the most of any Arsenal player until he came off. I don’t think east-west runs from wide positions is the most effective way to use him. He is at his best making runs that are more north-south.
Alexandre Lacazette: has he played a full 90 minutes for Arsenal yet? Still doesn’t look to have totally integrated and developed chemistry.
Danny Welbeck: came off gingerly, hand went to the back of his right leg after going down on the full sprint. Hope he isn’t hurt again.
Mesut Özil (sub): missed a GOLDEN chance to put Arsenal 2-0 before Watford equalized. Would have changed the entire tenor of the match. But he’s still good and Arsenal still need him. Put Iwobi through not 2 minutes after coming onto the pitch.
Olivier Giroud (sub): touched the ball maybe twice in the 22 minutes he was on the pitch. Looked to have picked up a small injury too, was limping around a bit.
Rob Holding (sub): PLEASE GOD LET KOSCIELNY BE OKAY.