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ARSENAL rounded off a turbulent week with a hard-fought, if at times unconvincing, 3-0 win at home to Watford yesterday.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger praised his side’s spirit to emerge from a difficult period and the change in fortunes was epitomised by goalkeeper Petr Cech. He responded positively to a bad performance a week ago at Brighton with a penalty save here ensuring his 200th career clean sheet.
“That’s remarkable,” Wenger said of his keeper’s achievement. “His situation shows how football is. In one week he got from hell to heaven.
“We had a nightmare week, so overall we have still some work to do, but we’re on a good way.”
It took the hosts less than 10 minutes to take the lead through Shkodran Mustafi. The defender rose highest to Mesut Ozil’s free-kick, directing a header beyond the Watford keeper to score his side’s 1000th Premier League goal.
Wenger’s side doubled their tally before the hour mark when Henrikh Mkhitaryan surged forward with the ball and, spotting the timely run of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, slotted in his former Dortmund teammate. The striker showed composure in rounding the Watford keeper and rolling the ball into the open net.
There was no shortage of Watford chances, most notably when Ainsley Maitland-Niles tripped Roberto Pereyra inside the box, conceding a penalty. Cech rewarded his manager’s faith in making him captain by denying Hornet skipper Troy Deeney with a strong arm diving to his right, much to the delight of the home crowd.
As confidence grew, so too did the inevitability of a third Arsenal goal.
Wenger wrote in his programme notes about the “art of combining” and it was that ex-Dortmund duo that proved most potent here. This time the Armenian got the goal with Aubameyang providing the assist.
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