Sanchez and Özil tear Watford apart in dominating opening to the game for Arsenal
With just a week remaining of the transfer window, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had been once again criticised by fans for a lack of incoming activity. Following just a point from their opening two games the pressure was growing on the Gunners, whilst Watford manager Walter Mazzarri was also seeking his first three points of his Premier League career.
Arsenal did not look like a fearful side though in the opening stages as they dominated possession in a confident manner. It took just eight minutes for the first opportunity to arise for the visitors as Nordin Amrabat clattered into Alexis Sanchez following a Mesut Özil cross. Santi Cazorla stepped up and duly gave Arsenal an early advantage.
The game began to flow from one end of the pitch to the other, as Theo Walcott saw an effort saved by Heurelho Gomes, whilst Laurent Koscielny almost caught his own goalkeeper off guard following a dangerous deflection. Yet Arsenal began to step through the gears as a devastating five minutes put the game to bed. Firstly Alexis Sanchez bundled home a Walcott cross to make it 2-0, before Özil headed in a third right on half-time after linking up with Sanchez once more.
Hornets sting back but it's too little too late
The visitors continued the second half as they left the first with some fine passing football, but Watford finally began to grow back into the game. After Hector Bellerin sent an effort crashing wide for the Gunners, Etienne Capoue forced Peter Cech into action. Capoue then saw another effort blocked, before the ball landed at the feet of Roberto Pereyra who grabbed a goal on his debut.
The hosts began to sense an unlikely comeback as Jose Holebas and Odion Ighalo forced Petr Cech into a double save, moments before the latter clipped a bicycle kick over the crossbar. The Czech goalkeeper was busy oncemore as he prevented Pereyra and Ighalo again as the game entered the final ten minutes. Yet despite the late pressure and a penalty appeal against a possible handball off Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal held out for a first victory of the season, whilst Watford will continue to seek such a feat.
Arsenal fans will now keep their eyes peeled for late transfer activity that could include the arrivals of defender Shkodran Mustafi and striker Lucas Perez. Watford followers will hope their side can take an inspired second half display into their upcoming matches, beginning with a game against West Ham after the international break.