Arsenal’s title hopes took a significant dent as they suffered a 2-1 loss to Watford at Emirates Stadium. Watford took a surprise lead in the 10th minute when Younes Kaboul’s free kick deflected off Aaron Ramsey to leave goalkeeper Petr Cech wrong-footed.
And it was 2-0 just three minutes later when Troy Deeney pounced after Etienne Capoue’s initial shot was saved by Cech. The Gunners pulled a goal back through Alexi Iwobi, who guided home at the back post from Alexis Sanchez’s chip. But Arsene Wenger, who was watching from the stands due to suspension, saw his side fail to claw a way back into the match.
Watford manager Walter Mazzarri dedicated his side's victory to former club and England manager Graham Taylor. It was Watford's first victory since Taylor died earlier this month.
``I was very happy because lately we haven't deserved the long list of negative results we've had recently - games where we deserved to win where the luck was not on our side.`I would have liked to play the whole 90 minutes as we did in the first half, but we had four or five players injured, or not in perfect condition."
Watford debutant M'Baye Niang made an instant impact as he won a free kick on the edge of the Arsenal box in the 10th minute, with Kaboul sending his shot past Petr Cech with the aid of deflection off Aaron Ramsey.
With Arsenal still reeling from the opener, Ramsey carelessly lost possession to Etienne Capoue, who surged into the Arsenal box and forced a fine save from Cech, only for the ball to fall for Watford captain Troy Deeney to double the lead after just 13 minutes. Iwobi was the catalyst for Arsenal as he created his side's best chance of the game in the 50th, only to see Walcott's shot saved by the feet of Heurelho Gomes.
Iwobi took matters into his own hands 10 minutes later as he converted the relatively subdued Alexis Sanchez's cross to the back post with a delicate volley back across goal. The result leaves Arsenal nine points adrift of Premier League leader Chelsea, which secured a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
|Alex Iwobi got the Gunners back in the running with a header from a corner|
|Aaron Ramsey walks off the pitch after picking up yet another injury|