Watford played as well here last season as they ever have done in September 2018, but paid the price for not taking their chances, conceding two goals in the last ten minutes. They paid the same heavy price here, with Arsenal scoring with what felt like their second attack on 24 minutes. Kieran Tierney threaded one past Foster via a deflection from Christian Kabasele.
What felt like an uphill task become a mountainous one when Aubameyang pounced on a bouncing ball in the box to acrobatically crash one past the helpless Foster. You wondered and feared how many Arsenal might get at that stage.
With just pride seemingly left to play for, the Hornets did pull one back before the break with a nerveless penalty from Deeney after a foul by David Luiz on Danny Welbeck. The captain nailed it to the left of Martínez, who had stood relatively still in thinking Deeney would smash it straight down the middle. It was his 31st successful spot-kick for the club he joined ten years ago. It was the very least the Hornets deserved for a spirited attacking performance.
A second goal was going to put the cat right amongst the pigeons. And they nearly got it five minutes after the break when Masina smashed one over following a goal-mouth scramble. There was then a corner that Dawson and Christian Kabasele came within a whisker of getting on the end of. And how Martínez managed to save one from close range from Welbeck, following some terrific interplay with Deeney, would have taken some explaining in a goalkeeping coaching clinic with Graham Stack and Foster.