Arsenal have gone back into fourth place after edging past Watford, who had captain Troy Deeney sent off 11 minutes into the game. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal the lead inside ten minutes after Ben Foster’s attempted goal kick came off his leg at close range and ended up in the back of the net.
After the game, Arsenal boss, Unai Emery reveals the reason why he substituted Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira for Mesut Ozil in the game after playing the first half.
“First I decided to do the change of Lucas Torreira because after the red card, the atmosphere is against him and also the doctor said to me in the first half that he has a little pain for Thursday and I decided okay, it’s the moment [to take him off]. We played with the same system – 4-2-3-1 – with Xhaka and Aaron coming closer to Xhaka for the build-up and Mesut behind Auba as a midfielder.”
“We didn’t control like I wanted to control the match. We are thinking and I was thinking to play with three centre backs to be enough for our build-up and use one player more in the middle, like Matteo as a possibility to help with Xhaka, help with Aaron and Mesut, to give the security in the midfield. But I didn’t do this decision on the pitch with all the control I wanted, so after I changed and recovered a 4-2-3-1 with Ainsley.”
“Above all, also in our team, the second half they can take some moments and the possibility to score in set-pieces or a long ball and a second action. We worked very well on set-pieces and the long balls with second actions but the most important for us was to score the second goal to control the match.”
Emery also said he did not hear what Troy Deeney said in his direction after being sent off in Watford’s 1-0 home loss to Arsenal in the Premier League. Moments after Ben Foster’s error handed Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang what proved the only goal at Vicarage Road on Monday, Watford captain Deeney was dismissed. The striker caught Lucas Torreira with his elbow as he ran past the Arsenal midfielder, referee Craig Pawson showing the red card after consulting with his assistant.
Do you think this was a red card challenge from Deeney? #WATARS pic.twitter.com/a2JJJr1E7z
— #NFFCSHOW #FANSWEYSABI #football (@NFFCshow) April 15, 2019
Deeney’s red card proved a key factor as Watford battled despite being down a man, with Craig Cathcart and Adam Masina both hitting the woodwork for the FA Cup finalists. Should Deeney receive a standard three-match ban he would return in time to face Manchester City in May’s showpiece at Wembley, but he risked a further punishment as he left the field. Television footage appeared to show Deeney swearing at Emery as he headed down the tunnel, but the Arsenal head coach claimed not to have been aware of the content of the striker’s volley.
“I didn’t listen to him,” Emery told a news conference after Arsenal moved up to fourth in the Premier League table. “He said something – it doesn’t matter what – but I said to him I didn’t see it. “I didn’t see the red card. I respect the decision from the referee. It’s clear it helped us, the decision. Playing with one less player is more difficult. “But our goal gives us the advantage in the result. We didn’t do all we wanted to do. We can be happy with the result. To win here is very important. “The three points is the most important but also we worked on being consistent in our structure, defending their long balls and set pieces.”
He also gives update on his players health and the Spanish manager reveals that all his players are fine despite Torreira small injury in the first half.
“Yes. At the end the doctor said to me that they are okay. Only in the first half with his small injury, Lucas Torreira, but I think it’s small and he can be ready for Thursday physically. It was a very physical match today but I think we can respond well and above all the result gives us the opportunity to continue in our way, being consistent in the table.”
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