Arsenal set unwanted milestone as Watford fightback to earn point
Sept. 15, 2019
The Gunners looked to be coasting at Vicarage Road, but Watford finally made their relentless attacking play count
Arsenal could not withstand a second-half barrage at Vicarage Road on Sunday as Watford fought back from two goals down to secure a dramatic point, with the Gunners achieving an unwanted new milestone in the process.
In total, Arsenal faced 31 shots against the Hornets, the most they have ever allowed another Premier League side to have against them since Opta began collecting data in the division in 2003. It is also the most shots Watford have had in a Premier League game, with 23 efforts coming in the second half alone.
The Gunners looked set for a comfortable afternoon when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double put them ahead in the first half, the opener coming from a 20-pass move, the most passes in a move leading to a goal in the English top-flight so far this season.
However, Watford capitalised on some sloppy Arsenal defending at the start of the second period as Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave the ball way inside his own area, allowing Tom Cleverley to score.
The Hornets continued to pile on the pressure and had the chance to equalise when David Luiz fouled Roberto Pereyra in the area. Pereyra took the spot-kick himself and sent Bernd Leno the wrong way to drag Watford level. That was the 10th penalty Arsenal have conceded since the start of last season, no side has conceded more, with three of those coming this campaign alone.
In a breathless finish, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side could have won it in stoppage-time but Abdoulaye Doucoure could only shoot straight at Leno from inside the area.
In the end both sides had to make do with a point , though Unai Emery will rue yet more mistakes from his defence. Since the start of last season, Arsenal's players have made a combined 14 errors leading to opposition goals in the Premier League, at least two more than any other club in this time.
It is the first time Arsenal and Watford have drawn in 22 meetings in all competitions stretching back to December 1984. It is also the first time Arsenal have failed to win a Premier League game in which they were at least two goals ahead since a 3-3 draw against West Ham in April 2016.
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