Arsenal 1-0 Watford: Player ratings as Emile Smith Rowe strike fires Gunners into the top-five

Arsenal rose into the Premier League’s top five for the first time this season after defeating 10-man Watford 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Smith, Emile Rowe scored the game’s sole goal late in the second half, after Juraj Kucka was sent off for the visitors.

 

In a tense first half, Bukayo Saka had a goal called out for offside before Ben Foster saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty.

 

Their persistent pressure paid off in the 56th minute, when Smith Rowe blasted a low shot into the back of the goal to put the Gunners ahead.

 

Midway through the second half, Aubameyang thought to have increased Arsenal’s lead, but he was offside, and VAR correctly disallowed the goal.

 

When Aaron Ramsdale failed to handle the ball, Joshua King had a wonderful chance to equalize for the Bees, but he fired into the sidenetting.

In stoppage time, Mikel Arteta’s side pushed the pace even further, but the visitors held strong, with Foster also making some crucial stops.

 

Arsenal went above Manchester United into fifth position, equal with West Ham, who face Liverpool later in the evening, after their third straight victory.

 

What a remarkable comeback after losing their first three games of the season!

Arsenal’s player ratings are as follows:

6/10 Aaron Ramsdale

Ramsdale had a pleasant evening, with Watford seldom posing a danger. However, he made a crucial error at the end that almost resulted in a King equalizer.

7.5/10 for Takehiro Tomiyasu

In the first half, he was a lively attacking presence, driving forward with poise and purpose and laying two key passes. He made four clearances, five tackles, and won five ground duels, but it never came at the expense of his defensive responsibilities.

7.5/10 for Ben White

Apart from that late-game incident, he was instrumental in keeping King quiet while also contributing to Smith Rowe’s goal.

Gabriel – 7 out of 10

He lost the ball away on occasion, and Foster stopped a well-placed header. Overall, he did well against Watford’s strikers.

6.5/10 Nuno Tavares

He didn’t have much of a chance in the first half, but he came alive in the second, even making a lovely little dribble before being hacked down by Kucka.

7/10 for Bukayo Saka

With his Terrier-like pushing, he disrupted Watford’s effort to build from the back, even leaping into a couple challenges. Saka, on the other hand, was unfortunate to have his early opening thrown out.

6.5/10 for Albert Lokonga

The young Belgian demonstrated his passing range while also acting as a protective screen for the back four. In stoppage time, he also witnessed Foster save a vicious attempt.

7.5/10 Ainsley Maitland-Niles

He stepped in replace the injured Thomas Partey and put forth an active, confident, and positive performance today to justify his selection. He also made tackles, with some of them stopping Watford’s movements.

7.5/10 Emile Smith Rowe

Much of the game went by him unnoticed, but when he did have an opportunity, Smith Rowe took advantage of it, slotting home from close range to score the game’s lone goal.

 

7/10 Alexandre Lacazette

In the first half, he assisted on a penalty that Aubameyang missed, and he was largely effective in attack.

 

Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick – 6.5/10

In the first half, a penalty was saved and a goal was ruled out for the Gabonese. Today is a bad day.

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