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Arsenal v Watford: Unai Emery’s in-form Gunners show ‘cojones’ as Troy Deeney’s Hornets approach

PUBLISHED: 13:51 29 September 2018

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PA

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal go into their clash with Watford in fine fettle having gained four Premier League wins on the bounce as sixth plays fourth at the Emirates on Saturday.

Arsenal go into their clash with Watford in fine fettle having gained four Premier League wins on the bounce as sixth plays fourth at the Emirates on Saturday.

Despite Unai Emery’s side only showing glimpses of the form they are capable of producing, the Gunners have excelled in picking up 12 points out of the last 12 on offer.

Winning ugly is an art as well as an excellent habit to have as the North London giants eased past Everton 2-0 at the weekend, through goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The knack of claiming points when under par is something last season’s side could have done with – especially with memories still fresh of Arsenal’s dismal 2-1 loss to the Hornets at a noisy Vicarage Road in October 2017.

Per Mertesacker – now academy supremo – put the Gunners 1-0 up against Watford, only for two late goals from Troy Deeney and former Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverly to seal the game in the home’s side favour.

Deeney earned notoriety for his post-match comments in the aftermath of his team’s victory, insisting the then manager Arsene Wenger’s side lacked ‘cojones’.While the jibe was unprofessional and broke with etiquette in terms of a player openly criticising another team, it was hard to argue with Deeney’s honest and unscripted assessment at the time.

While Deeney should be applauded for going-off message in an increasingly bland world of post-match comments strictly controlled by slick corporate PR from top flight clubs, football does have a nasty habit of bringing players back down to earth.

In Deeney’s case, specifically when it could have been said he lacked ‘cojones’ of his own in missing a crucial penalty during the return fixture at the Emirates last March, in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat handed out by an Arsenal team still smarting from his comments.

Spaniard Emery must be well aware of the phrase the Watford striker employed against the Gunners and will be wary not to have it applied to the club this time around.

Judging by the new-found steel Arsenal have shown over the past few weeks – most notably in picking up full points on the road from tricky appointments at the raucous Cardiff City Stadium and the bearpit that is Newcastle United’s St James’ Park - hopes are high Emery’s Emirates will see another three points won against Watford as the club continues its renaissance.

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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