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Arsenal 3-2 Watford
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice – once from the penalty spot – while Kieran Tierney was also on target as Watford drained Watford’s Premier League lifeblood away in just over half an hour at the Emirates Stadium.
The Hornets – needing to win to have any chance of survival – endured a torrid opening half and found themselves three goals down in 33 minutes.
And despite a second-half revival which saw Troy Deeney net from the spot and former Gunners frontman, Danny Welbeck, make the contest altogether more interesting, it was the home side who held out, much to the anguish of their troubled guests.
Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta, admitted he felt for their managerless opponents: “I feel very sorry for them and I think they were unlucky today,” the Spaniard confessed.
“It’s a team who are our neighbours around the training ground and they are very local. It must be really hard to have chances at the last minute.
“You could see today how much they wanted it. I’m sorry. Hopefully, they will be back in the Premier League next season because I know how gutted the players and the club will be with that result.”
Focusing on the game itself, Arteta added: “It was a crazy game, right from the start.
“The moment that we went one or two-nil up you could sense that their front players were a bit ‘cheating’ and obviously even if they couldn’t finish the actions every time the counter was open, we allowed them too many balls in the box.
“This is where they are really dangerous. They had some really good quality moments with the ball in the final third, but we weren’t at the races without the ball, like we have been in the last few games.”
Arsenal: Martínez, Holding, David Luiz, Tierney, Willock (Kolasinac 57’), Ceballos (Torreira 72’), Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Pépé (Nelson 72’), Lacazette (Nketiah 57’), Aubameyang Subs not used: Papastathopoulos, Cédric Soares, Macey, Smith, Saka
Watford: Foster, Femenía (Mariappa 45+2’), Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Doucouré (Cleverley 81’), Hughes (Chalobah 81’), Sarr, Pereyra (João Pedro 88’), Welbeck, Deeney Subs not used: Gomes, Cathcart, Gray, Quina, Pussetto
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Ian Hussin and Darren Cann
Fourth Official: James Linington