Arsenal produced a superb second-half display to defeat Watford and move into second place in the Premier League. Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring after the break when he pounced on the loose ball after Mesut Ozil appeared to be fouled and fired in. Olivier Giroud slammed in the second, before Aaron Ramsey slotted in his first for the club this season. Watford’s best chance came in the first half when Odion Ighalo screwed his shot wide from 12 yards. It remains a big ‘if’, but if Ramsey can rediscover the form he showed in the first half of the 2013-14 season then Arsenal could land their first league title since 2004.
The Wales international was on a remarkable run two seasons ago, scoring 13 goals in 27 appearances to lead Arsenal’s charge at the top of the table. However, in December he suffered a thigh injury which kept him out of action until April – and with it went Arsenal’s title chances. This season the Gunners’ goals have largely come from Sanchez, Giroud and Theo Walcott. Ramsey had a chance to join the list in the first half but missed with what was his 26th effort on goal – more than any other Premier League player who has not scored yet this season. But having notched for Wales last week, he finally grabbed his first for his club when he converted Hector Bellerin’s through-ball, albeit via a slight deflection off Ikechi Anya. Ramsey became the latest member of Arsenal’s strong attacking unit to find the net today.
Walcott, with four goals this season, failed to make an impact at Vicarage Road, but manager Arsene Wenger had Giroud in reserve. And although Sanchez and Ozil were relatively anonymous in the first half, they displayed their class after the break and were ruthless as Watford’s usually resilient defence tired. Some would criticise Ozil’s lack of goals – only one so far this season – but the German World Cup winner provided two assists. If they all find some consistency in the league then Arsenal fans will no doubt get value for money this campaign. The Gunners have won their last six meetings with the Hornets in all competitions, including all five previous Premier League clashes. Watford conceded as many goals in this game (three) as they had in their previous six top-flight matches at Vicarage Road combined. With this win Arsenal are in 2nd place, with 19 points (same as 3rd place Manchester United) and 3 points behind leaders Man City.