‘Remarkable’ Cech shuts out Deeney as Arsenal beat Watford
Arsenal seal three points but thousands of fans stay away from the Emirates
11 March, 2018 — By Tom Foot
FA Premier League
ARSENAL 3 (Mustafi 8, Aubameyang 56, Mhkitaryan 76)
PETR Cech gave Arsenal fans the best Mother’s Day day present they could imagine after saving a penalty from Troy “no cajones” Deeney to notch up a new Premier League milestone, as the Gunners enjoyed a comfortable win against Watford.
The Watford captain had mocked the Gunners after their defeat at Vicarage Road in October – but Arsenal had the last laugh today. Cech – who has not saved a penalty in the Premier League since 2011 – stopped the shot to his right.
The keeper, who also recorded his 200th league clean sheet, looked as surprised as the home fans on a day when thousands stayed at home.
After the match, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “Two-hundred clean sheets is of course remarkable. On top of that he saved a penalty today. He had to wait a while for that, and it was quite fortunate it came against Deeney.
“He went, in one week, from hell to heaven. I like him in both situations. In the first situation he showed a lot of humility. He has a huge level of intelligence. You don’t stay at the top for so long without that.”
Asked whether the Deeney comments had fired up the players, Wenger said: “You cannot be a football player without pride. Yes, it plays a part.”
Shkrodan Mustafi’s strong header from a Mesut Ozil free-kick put the Gunners in front on eight minutes.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fluffed two good chances in the first half and “playmaker” Henrik Mkhitaryan once again looked clumsy.
But the pair combined brilliantly for Arsenal’s second goal with Aubameyang rounding the keeper to score after a defence-splitting pass.
The striker returned the favour on 76 minutes, squaring for the Mhkitaryan whose shot beat keeper Orestis Karnezis despite being rolled down the middle.
Wenger made six changes to the side that beat AC Milan on Thursday night in the San Siro.
“We had a very good first half,” said Wenger. “Second half, we suffered a bit but spirit was high and we stick together. We took advantage of their weak moments. In the end it was a convincing win.
“Overall it gets us out of the negative spiral we were in. We need some more games now. We had a nightmare week. There is a lot of negativity, it’s like rain in England. But I’ve shown in 22 years that I focus on my job with total commitment.”
Asked if he was concerned by the empty seats, Wenger added: “I worry because I want the fans to be behind the team. But it is a bit of understanding because of the week we have had.”
ARSENAL: Cech, Holding, Mustafi (Chambers, 73), Kosalinac, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Mkhitaryan (Wilshere, 78), Iwobi (Welbeck, 65), Ozil, Aubameyang.
Subs not used: Ospina, Chambers, Nelson, Nketiah, Willock.
WATFORD: Karnezis, Janmaat (Britos, 80), Prodl, Mariappa, Doucoure, Richarlison, Femenia, Holebas, Capoue, Pereyra (Okaka, 65), Deeney.
Subs not used: Britos, Sinclair, Gray, Hughes, Carrillo, Bachmann.