A win is a win, but not scoring on a Watford side with 10 men poses some questions. Regardless, we walked away with some much-needed points and a few positive talking points during a push for a top four spot in the table.
Bernd Leno – 8.5 MOTM
Another solid performance from Leno kept us in the game. Granted the game should never have been in question, but a couple great saves and a just good enough back-line was the reason for the clean sheet.
Shkodran Mustafi – 6.5
Shaky when holding with the makeshift backline, and got caught out of position on counter attacks often. Mustafi was his consistently inconsistent self, but found a way to keep the clean sheet in the end, including a questionable diving header clearance that resulted in a boot to the head and a “high kick” call.
Laurent Koscielny – 7.5
Mr. Reliable yet again, and did what needed to be done to keep the Watford attack out. Working with a scrappy back-line, Koscielny did well enough keeping them in order and holding a line.
Konstantinos Mavropanos – 6.5
Did well enough in working with a back-line that he has had little experience with this season, but did get caught flat footed a few times. He did show promise with finding passing lanes out of the back, and even making short runs to get out of Watford pressure from their forwards.
Nacho Monreal – 7
Again, was an outlet in playing out of the back quickly, and we saw few mistakes from Monreal defensively. He is never the flashiest player on the pitch, but he is sound overall and got the job done when called upon yet again.
Lucas Torreira – 6.5
Wasn’t as much of a threat in the attacking third as we are used to seeing, but won the ball back and put a blanket on what attack 10-man Watford could produce. Was also the punching bag used by Troy Deeney’s elbow after conceding that resulted in him being sent off.
Granit Xhaka – 6
Lack of possession in the midfield started with Xhaka and his lack of facilitating. The threatening long balls weren’t there, perhaps due to the lack of intensity going forward, but high percentage passes were still there for Xhaka.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 4
Seemed off all night, was unable to find key passes and was wasteful in front of goal. Wasn’t his dangerous self that we have seen recently.
Alex Iwobi – 6.5
Did well taking Watford defenders on in isolation, but caused little to no problem for Watford’s defense elsewhere. There seemed to be a lack of balls played into the box this game, and some of this falls on Iwobi putting his head down and running forward every time he received the ball.
Aaron Ramsey – 6
Though he wasn’t his creative dangerous self, Ramsey found a quiet and hidden role in the team in playing somewhat conservative. Didn’t produce nearly as many chances as we are used to seeing from him.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7
His consistent high-press on the Watford defense got Aubameyang the poachers goal after jumping in front of a clearance Ben Foster. Outside of the goal though, Auba couldn’t seem to get it going for himself, wasting chances he had in front of goal and rarely even forcing a save.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7
Matteo Guendouzi – 7
Mesut Özil – 6
The substitutes were a key part of how this game went, as we changed formations twice in a 15-minute period. Guendouzi and AMN both came out and did exactly what was asked of them, while Ozil just never seemed to get going and lacked creativity going forward.