MX23RW : Wednesday, April 24 22:20:35| >> :600:758568:758568:
Apr 15, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Vicarage Road
Attendance: 20,480
Watford
0-1
Arsenal

Deeney (11')
FT(HT: 0-1)

Result: Arsenal edge past 10-man Watford to regain top-four spot

Result: Arsenal edge past 10-man Watford to regain top-four spot
© Reuters
Watford captain Troy Deeney dismissed early on but Arsenal struggle to 1-0 victory.

Arsenal moved back into the Premier League top four as 10-man Watford provided the tonic for their away-day ills.

With questions hanging over their poor form on the road, the Gunners benefited from a rare Ben Foster mistake and a rash moment from Troy Deeney, which saw the Watford skipper sent off as Arsenal still laboured heavily to a 1-0 win.

The hosts started the game on the front foot as they looked to take advantage of Arsenal's frail record away from the Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates his early goal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates his early goal (John Walton/PA)

But then two of their standout performers of recent times turned the game in favour of Unai Emery's side in under two minutes.

Foster – so reliable in the Watford goal this season – inexplicably dallied when clearing his lines and could only smash the ball into the foot of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he tore down on him, the ball flashing into the empty net.

If that was not enough, captain Deeney was dismissed moments later as he appeared to catch Lucas Torreira with a stray forearm.

Referee Craig Pawson liaised with his assistant before producing the red card, an angry Deeney removing his shirt and exchanging views with the Arsenal bench as he finally departed.

Arsenal had won just five away league games all season before travelling to face the FA Cup finalists and still made a meal out of securing the three points required to leapfrog both Chelsea and Manchester United into fourth.

The Hornets almost hit back when a long-free kick dropped to Craig Cathcart, whose low strike was pushed onto the post by Bernd Leno.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster, right, was at fault for the goal
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster, right, was at fault for the goal (John Walton/PA)

Despite their numerical advantage, Arsenal laboured following Deeney's departure, barely dealing with a barrage of set-pieces and crosses into their box as Konstantinos Mavropanos – making his first start since May – particularly struggled.

The visitors remained a threat on the break, however, and Foster had to be alive to push an Alex Iwobi drive behind, while Leno was then on hand to brilliantly turn an Etienne Capoue free-kick around the post.

Emery reacted by introducing Mesut Ozil in place of Torreira at half-time but it was Henrikh Mkhitaryan who missed a fine chance to double Arsenal's lead as Foster made a fine stop from the Armenian's back-post effort.

Watford, fresh from securing a place in just their second FA Cup final, were still in the game and Adam Masina was unfortunate to see a long-range strike crack against Leno's crossbar just after the hour.

Emery switched formation to a back-three before soon reverting back to the system which had started the game, bringing on Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in an attempt to wrestle control of the contest.

Maitland-Niles was soon on hand to keep Arsenal in front, bravely sliding in to block Gray as Watford headed into the final 10 minutes with their visitors again on the ropes.

Troy Deeney, second left, speaks to Arsenal's Granit Xhaka
Troy Deeney, second left, speaks to Arsenal's Granit Xhaka (John Walton/PA)

Will Hughes headed over as the volume inside Vicarage Road rose, Aubameyang flashing a shot wide from what proved to be a rare opening for Arsenal.

Emery's side, despite struggling against a team which played for 79 minutes with 10 men, were left exhausted at the full-time whistle as the players embraced on the pitch having survived a stern test of their mentality.

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Unai Emery in charge of Arsenal on March 14, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35292489226789
2Liverpool35277179205988
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd35197963501364
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35149124443151
8Watford35148135050050
9Everton35147145044649
10Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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