Watford 2-1 Arsenal

By Andy Lewers, Tales from the Vicarage Reporter

Watford secured their first three points at Vicarage Road this season in dramatic fashion, after coming from a goal down to beat Arsenal with another late, late goal.

Before the game we caught up with Tales from the Vicarage contributor Tim Turner, you can watch our interview with him here.


As the players emerged from the tunnel, they were greeted by a spectacular display in the Rookery End, organised by supporters group The 1881 and designed by Tom Bennett.




Silva had opted to switch formation for this fixture. Instead of using our favoured 4-2-3-1, Watford started in 3-4-3, with Richarlison, Gray and Pereyra making up the front three for the Hornets.

Despite Arsenal dominating possession in the opening stages they couldn't break down the yellow brick wall in front of them. Watford however struggled to get out of their half and hold the ball as the new shape seemed not to be having the desired effect.

On the odd occasions Watford got forward however, they created chances. As Doucoure broke through the Arsenal defence, his cross found the head of Pereyra, who couldn't quite divert his effort on target.

Arsenal began to increase their pressure on Watford and Elneny was just whiskers away from opening the scoring with a long-range effort.

Gomes had to be on hand to deny Iwobi before Arsenal's pressure finally took its toll.

Arsenal's first corner of the game proved to be an important one. With 5ft something Tom Cleverley marking 6ft something Mertesacker, it's no surprise the Arsenal defender was able to climb above our defence and head into the goal.

The game should have been over before the break, as Bellerin ran onto the ball eight yards out, but thankfully his effort curled wide and Watford were able to hold on until half time.


With what was presumably a flea in their ear, Watford emerged for the second half with a point to prove.

Richarlison got on the ball early and ran straight at the Arsenal defence before cutting in and curling a shot towards goal which went just wide.

With 15 minutes of the second half gone and still no Watford equaliser, Silva opted to make a double substitution. Carillo and Deeney came on for Mariappa and Gray respectively and this allowed Watford to switch back to 4-2-3-1.

The shuffle in formation was almost pointless however, as just 30 seconds after the double sub Arsenal should have been two goals to the good. As Iwobi broke through the Watford defence he only had the keeper to beat, but Gomes produced an outstanding fingertip save to divert the striker's effort round the post.

With Watford now coming forward in numbers, this always left them susceptible to a counter attack and as Arsenal broke up in the pitch in the 70th minute there should only have been one outcome. Yet again however Gomes was on hand to keep Watford in the game, as he got down low to block a close-range shot from Ozil.

What happened next illustrated how important it is to take your chances when you get them. As Gomes saved Watford broke up the pitch and the ball fell to Richarlison. A touch to control the ball and then take Bellerin on in a sprint. As the Arsenal defender is one of the fastest players in the Premier League this was a brave move, but Richarlison broke through into the area and went down under a challenge and the referee pointed to the spot.

Replays suggested this was a soft decision, but you make your own luck, as they say.

Up stepped Troy Deeney and the calmest man in Vicarage Road sent Cech the wrong way to level the scores.

Watford now had the momentum, with Deeney leading the line superbly and bullying the Arsenal defence. Richarlison hit the side netting a few minutes later as the Hornets sniffed out a winner.

And Watford came even closer in the 83rd minute, as a shot from Capoue was deflected and the Vicarage Road crowd had to watch on as the ball seemed to bounce in slow motion onto the post and away from goal.

As the game moved into added time a draw seemed likely, but this Watford team have a never-say-die mentality and when it comes to late goals, Watford are the team to provide them.

With 92 minutes on the clock a Holebas shot was blocked and carnage ensued. Deeney challenged Cech for the loose ball, the ball then fell to Capoue whose shot slammed against the chest of Mertesacker and fell perfectly for Tom Cleverley.

With hearts in mouths the crowd could do nothing but watch as Tom stepped up and lashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Mayhem filled the stands of The Vic, as Watford celebrated what was surely the winner.

Arsenal tried to level it at the death, but a header from Giroud was held comfortably by Gomes and Watford saw the game out to claim all three points.

Nights under the lights of Vicarage Road don't come much better than this.

The attitude that this Watford team has is polar opposite to the one we saw last season. The second half especially showed that we can compete against the big boys when our backs are against the wall.

The win meant that Watford had beaten Arsenal at Vicarage Road for the first time since 1987 and with that moved into the final Champions League spot in the league table, not that we're keeping tabs on these things, of course.

Just in case though, it might be worth starting to save your pennies and hold back on that annual leave you were planning to use.

What is it about Watford and 2-1's against Arsenal?

You 'Orns.