BHappy: This is a monumentally terrible game of football. The hosts play a full and effective role in this outcome, for all that they deservedly win it… indeed, it’s not stretching the truth too much to suggest that for all of our failure to look remotely threatening (again), it could have gone a very different way had it been us that pulled a goal out of nowhere rather than Rangers. Arguing that “If we’d scored and they hadn’t we’d have won the game” doesn’t add much in terms of insight admittedly but… Tim Iroegbunam’s fine finish, abetted fully by hapless non-challenges from Choudhury and Porteous and perhaps by Bachmann’s positioning, was a startling outbreak of competence on an afternoon distinctly lacking in similar from either side.
The hosts had escaped punishment for a profligate first half and were indebted to Petr Cech for saving a Troy Deeney penalty just minutes after Aubameyang struck, the goalkeeper finally recording his 200th Premier League clean sheet.
Cech saved from Abdoulaye Doucouré and Richarlison while, between times, the goalkeeper pushed out a Richarlison free-kick to present Roberto Pereyra with an inviting chance. He blazed off target. Cech was not entirely convincing when asked to get down low with any degree of speed.
How the Arsenal fans also delighted in Deeney’s failure; or at least those who turned up. Anger has turned to apathy at the Emirates and there were thousands of empty seats as this game unfolded and that will be of concern to the club. Officially, there were 59,131 seats ‘sold’ but a lot were unoccupied.
There was also a milestone in the commentary box as it was to be John Motson’s last live radio commentary. I could only hope that Watford would give him something interesting to talk about (in a good way).
There was no shame in this result. We paid Arsenal too much respect in the first half and if we had been more clinical with our chances we could have got something from the game. The penalty miss at 2-0 was the crucial moment in the game and in the end Arsenal deserved the points.
BSAD: For an hour, we were once again persuasive in putting our case forward. Playing with anything like full intensity – discounting that diabolical first half against West Ham, in other words – we look a very decent outfit. Probably because we are a very decent outfit, and one that’s held itself together remarkably well in the circumstances.
BSAD: We thought we had escaped, but our relief lasted barely sixty seconds when Shearer held up play superbly before releasing Domi who sprinted to the by-line, squaring for an unmarked Gallagher to ram the ball home. Our confidence shattered, we played the next fifteen minutes like a team aware of their fate. We were clueless. If it were not for Chamberlain we could have been stuffed. He produced two unbelievable saves to deny first Speed and then, from the resulting corner, Dabizas. We had lost the plot and it was not a pretty sight.