Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emiliano Martinez were the best of the lot, as Arsenal narrowly beat Watford 3-2 at the Emirates on Sunday.
Arsenal were off the blocks quickly, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converting from the spot after Craig Dawson barged into Alexandre Lacazette. Midway through the first half, Arsenal were two to the good, with Aubameyang turning provider this time around, as Kieran Tierney scored from close range.
The game seemed to be dead and buried when Aubameyang scored from a brilliant overhead kick in the 33rd minute. Watford, though, pulled a goal back heading into half-time, as Troy Deeney buried a penalty after David Luiz had brought Danny Welbeck down inside the box.
Welbeck then cut Arsenal’s lead to just one goal, making it 3-2 midway through the second half. The former Arsenal striker then nearly equalised, only for the excellent Emiliano Martinez to deny him. In the end, the Gunners held on for the narrow win, ending their Premier League campaign on a high. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mikel Arteta’s men.
Emiliano Martinez: 9/10
It is a rare sight to see a goalkeeper get such a high rating after conceding two goals in a game. However, such was the impact that Emiliano Martinez made against Watford. The Argentine made four saves in all, with two of those being right out of the top drawer. The one from Danny Welbeck’s backheel flick, in particular, was delightful to say the least. Reasonably precise with ball at his feet too.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6/10
A surprise pick to start as the right-back ahead of Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares, Maitland-Niles had a hit-and-miss game against Watford. Pinged back in his own half, the youngster was solid at times, but also had his troubles at times against Roberto Pereyra. Did not make a great deal of impact in the final third, although he did force Ben Foster into a stunning save.
Rob Holding: 6/10
Starting in a central defensive pairing, Holding looked assured for large parts of the game before Watford starting imposing themselves on Arsenal. His 10 clearances helped ease some of the pressure and he was positioned well to deny Troy Deeney a goal in the first half. However, he could have done better in the air and he was nowhere to be seen when Danny Welbeck scored.
David Luiz: 4/10
This was a game in which Luiz started off decently only for it to slowly descend into a chaotic outing for the Brazilian. The former Chelsea defender made 3 clearances and blocked a couple of shots, but he conceded the penalty which was converted by Deeney before going missing for the Welbeck goal. Luiz has now conceded a staggering 5 penalties in the season gone by. Needs to do better.
David Luiz has now conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, at least two more than any other player. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/u5ZAnxG0Kz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 26, 2020
Kieran Tierney: 8/10
Tierney, like Maitland-Niles, blew hot and cold in the game and had his problems against Ismaila Sarr. Having said that, his goal was crucial, although he was helped by a deflection. It was also his throw-in that found its way to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the Arsenal captain netted the winner. Will be such a huge asset next season.
Dani Ceballos: 7/10
This was a game in which Ceballos did not really have the chance to show the creative side of his game. However, the Spaniard was crucial in releasing the pressure when Arsenal were pinned back in their own half by Watford. It is in such situations that Ceballos showed a great deal of composure and calmness. Played in a couple of key passes while making an important block as well.
Granit Xhaka: 6.5/10
A difficult evening for Xhaka, who could not manage to contain the threat of the Watford attack. The former Arsenal captain was usually accurate with the ball at his feet, misplacing just 5 passes. Could have done better to keep a check on Abdoulaye Doucoure, though.
Joe Willock: 6/10
Given a rare start, this was not the best of performances by Willock, who was rarely involved in the game. The young midfielder attempted just 15 passes and showed that he needs to improve his decision-making, but he did do a decent job off the ball. Scope for improvement all around though.
Nicolas Pepe: 7/10
It was a game of two halves for Pepe, who seemed to be in his elements in the first 45 minutes and played in 2 key passes. However, his influence in the final third waned post the interval, although he did his part in supporting Maitland-Niles in the defensive phase. Needs to step up next season.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6/10
Much like Pepe, Lacazette looked to be in great touch in the first half. Earned the penalty for his side after being brought down by Craig Dawson, with Aubameyang subsequently converting it. Did not see much of the ball after this, though, mostly helping out Arsenal off the ball. Managed just 11 passes, completing 5 of them. In a weird space right now.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. That has been the case with Arsenal and Aubameyang all season long. In a way, it is poetic that his goals earned the Gunners all three points. The first was a penalty, rather straightforward. The second, though, was rather splendid, as Aubameyang scored from an overhead kick. The Arsenal captain also provided the assist to Tierney for his goal.
⚽ No player has scored more PL goals than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang since his debut in the competition in February 2018 (54) pic.twitter.com/BtaWUc0j6Y
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) July 26, 2020
However, in the end, Aubameyang ended up missing out on a second successive Golden Boot by just 1 goal, although he did have a chance to seal the deal. Nevertheless, this was another top class Premier League campaign for Aubameyang and he ends it on a positive note. Arsenal desperately need Aubameyang to sign the new deal, with his future still uncertain.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
On for Willock, Kolasinac’s arrival shifted the formation, as he settled into a back-three. Won a couple of duels, but also lost possession a few times, which added to the pressure on Arsenal late on.
Eddie Nketiah: 6/10
Nketiah came on for Lacazette and managed to be more involved than the Frenchman. Played in Aubameyang, but late decision-making meant that the chance was not as clear-cut as it could have been. Decent cameo, though, which included 1 misplaced pass.
Lucas Torreira: 6/10
On for the final 20 minutes or so, Torreira hardly got a touch on the ball but helped close out the spaces in he defensive third.
Reiss Nelson: 6/10
Introduced in place of Pepe, Nelson managed to get 15 touches on the ball and even laid on 1 key pass. Also ended up winning 6 duels.