Arsenal v Watford: Match in Pictures
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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry may be left to rue comments he made about manager Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard led his side to their third successive Premier League victory. After a poor start to the campaign, a triumph over Watford has catapulted the Gunners up to fifth in the table while many had called for a managerial change earlier in the season.
Watford kept things tight on Sunday afternoon, restricting Arsenal to a single goal and mounting a dangerous charge to split the points.
However, the Gunners weathered the late storm as Emile Smith Rowe’s confident strike eventually proved the difference.
Claudio Ranieri was left fuming at the final whistle due to a potential foul in the build-up to Arsenal’s winner, and Arteta stormed off after their fiery handshake.
Still, the altercation is unlikely to dampen his mood given the Gunners are right in the mix for European spots once again.
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At the beginning of the campaign, things were bleak after Arteta led his side to three successive defeats.
They went into the first international break bottom of the table, and even after results marginally picked up there were still concerns from respected figures.
Henry was one of them, and he questioned whether Arteta was leading his former side’s progress based on their recent showings.
“I don’t know if things are going in the right direction,” he told the Prime Video Presents Sport 2021 showcase event.
“I’ve seen us beating Norwich before, winning at Burnley, beating Tottenham at home – because we always beat Tottenham at home.
“I was more than happy when we beat Tottenham as we were on a good run but I was waiting to see a performance away from home, against a team that passes the ball.
“And, instead, we suffered [against Brighton].
“When we used to lose, even after I left the team, it was always said that Arsenal don’t have a Plan B and that they passed too much for the sake of passing.”
“I didn’t see [a Plan B] from Arsenal in the Brighton match. I saw Brighton do that.”
Henry can perhaps be forgiven for his bleak assessment of Arteta at that moment, given performances have noticeably picked up since.
Still, the Frenchman clearly did not have much faith that the man in the dugout had a masterplan to turn things around.
Of course, the turnaround is far from complete given the patchy form they have shown this campaign, but the Gunners go into this international break far happier than when they went into the season’s first.
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