Arsenal Vs Watford Match Report: The Magic Of The Cup
Posted by Sean Walker | Published on March 13, 2016
Watford did the unexpected today. The players, staff and the whole town are in cloud nine as Watford managed to beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium. The magic of the FA Cup was in full flow Watford fans would say, Arsenal fans may think otherwise.
Arsenal started the game off very strong as they whizzed a ball across the box in the opening minutes, however nothing came of it. Watford had nerves running through their veins, it was clear to see. Proedl did not make things better when he sliced the ball twice in a minute as he tried to clear the ball. Then Watford gave the ball away cheaply and Campbell quickly played into Sanchez who then played it through into Giroud who scored, it was chalked off rightly for offside however. Watford got through the first ten minutes, started to calm down and play some good football.
Watford did not create much, that was until a pass to Ighalo sent him two-on-two with the Arsenal defence and Ighalo having Deeney in support. He first looked like he was going to take it on himself. Ighalo then obviously had flashbacks of Old Trafford and passed to Deeney, well at least he tried to. It was too late and the chance to pass was gone, he had to take it on himself, but he passed it straight to Per Mertersacker.
Then late in the first half, Mesut Oezil fizzed the ball into Joel Campbell who stretched his leg out as far as he could. The contact he did make was too much in the end as he watched ball go over the bar. This was Arsenal’s best chance of the half.
The second half arose and the teams did not look much different. That was not until Watford got a throw by the corner flag. Ake threw the ball into the box where Deeney won the header and flicked it to his partner in crime Ighalo. Ighalo, who had not scored since the 30th of January against Nottingham Forest in the fourth round of the cup, held off Gabriel until he quickly turned and shot. It was perfectly placed and Ospina couldn’t reach it. Watford went 1-0 up against the holders. Watford were celebrating and all was happy. Deeney had experienced Manchester City, he knew you can score too early I football sometimes. Ighalo had broken his goal drought and Watford were given new spirit. An urgency. Something to fight for. You could feel and breathe the magic in the air.
Arsenal had to act fast if they wanted to be in the chance of winning the FA Cup for a third consecutive year. Oezil and Campbell combined again. They were definitely the best two players on the pitch for Arsenal. Campbell out on the left wing drilled in a cross to Giroud’s feet who forced a magnificent save from the Romanian goalkeeper Pantilimon. Watford needed a second goal it felt. The Hornets surely could not do that away from home against Arsenal. Surely?
Watford had lots of space and time with the ball after the interval. Ben Watson especially. This was evident when Watson had no threat on him to play a forward pass into Ighalo who played a lofted pass into the captain Troy Deeney. Deeney had the ball in the box, he had two defenders on him and he was not going anywhere. Just at that moment he saw Guedioura making a steaming run to support him. Deeney laid it off to the fans favourite and the 8,500 travelling Watford fans were in disbelief. They saw what 8,501 Watford fans were dreaming about the night before, with the one being Guedioura.
He hit the ball beautifully from about 16 yards in a very tight angle leaving Ospina helpless as the ball screams into the roof of the net. An absolute rocket. After all of Guedioura’s hard work in training and games where he was an unused substitute when he should be coming on to make a difference in the game. All these moments combined into this one shot which looked like it would send Watford to Wembley. There was still 25 minutes still left to play. Watford knew that. The fans sure knew that. This was the biggest game for Watford all season. Anything other than a loss was unacceptable. Arsenal had not lost a game in the FA Cup for 15 rounds and were not willing to give that record up.
Watford defended brilliantly. It is what you expect under Quique Sanchez Flores. They were broken in the 87th minute by Welbeck after a quick give and go with Sanchez. Sanchez back heeled the ball leaving Watford’s defence open and Welbeck punished The Hornets. This would be a true test of Watford’s character. If you were biting your nails when the Giroud goal went in but was disallowed, then by this point you would have no fingers left.
Watford did not change their structure. This meant Arsenal were forced to throw the kitchen sink and whoever was using it! The substitute Iwobi shrugged off Behrami, which doesn’t happen very often I must add. He was given just enough time to shoot, which he did and his shot cannoned of the post rebounding off Pantilimon. It then fell to Gibbs who squared it to Welbeck. Welbeck had an open goal, his first touch was poor which meant his back was facing the goal. He had almost an open goal but it shot went wide. Watford sighed in relief and the full time whistle went.
Watford had knocked out the holders against all the odds. The fans who travelled to Arsenal got their money’s worth and more. For Guedioura to not be played which was sad for every Watford fan to see, to then him score the winner. Amazing. What a winner it was too. The first time since 1987 Watford had beaten Arsenal where Blissett and Barnes scored. Watford will return to Wembley after a disappointing FA Cup final against Everton in 1984 and a disappointing playoff final against Crystal Palace in 2013.
Possible teams Watford will face are, funnily enough Everton, Crystal Palace and Manchester United or West Ham. Personally I would like to play Crystal Palace as they are in very bad form, we beat them at their own turf recently and I want revenge for the play offs. Everton also would not be too bad. Playing well but their place in the table I low down. The Toffees are inconsistent and if the poor Everton side turn up then Watford could win the game. I dread to face Manchester United or West Ham. Both teams send a shiver down my spine. West Ham are one of the most feared teams in the league, also I witnessed both disappointing games against The Red Devils. I would hate to lose again against them which would be likely.