Perhaps attempting to complete transfer business off the pitch had the right effect on the players on it, as Arsenal cruised past Watford away 3-1 to record their first win of the season.
The team played with a flair not seen before during this campaign, with Xhaka showing off his array of passing skills from deep and Ozil capping a fine performance with a beautifully-crafted headed goal. Although some people criticised Watford’s defending, Sanchez’s cross was sublime, especially as he had to pick the German out on the run.
Even the much-maligned Theo Walcott had a decent game, despite his critics haranguing him at every opportunity. Somebody near me said he was ‘rubbish’, so I asked who it was who provided the cross for Sanchez’s goal that bounced just over the line. Unsurprisingly, the Theo critics didn’t notice that the object of their ire was the deliverer. As I’ve noted before, fans often see what they want to see and miss what they want to miss; that way their favourites never have a bad game, while the one bullied by the boo boys gets progressively worse, no matter what.
Ultimately though, Arsenal have Cech to thank for stopping Watford fully getting back into the game, as the visitors shored up defensively at the end to ensure a well-earned three points.
Cech 9: could do nothing about the pinball in the box that led to Watford’s only goal.
Bellerin 8: great going forward and tracked back well.
Holding 7: another solid display.
Koscielny 7:looked largely untroubled by Watford’s forwards.
Monreal 5: struggled to stop crosses coming in on his flank.
Walcott 7: provider of the second goal and unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions.
Cazorla 6: scored his penalty, shooting straight down the middle, but still not back to his best.
Xhaka 8: intercepted, passed and tackled well.
Ozil 8: already getting back to his best, scoring and on the same wavelength as Sanchez.
Chamberlain 5: didn’t really do that much to merit a better mark.
Sanchez 8: looking sharp again, after a couple of disappointing outings.