Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was at a
loss to explain his side’s appalling first-half
display during their surprise 2-1 defeat by
Watford at the Emirates Stadium.
His side mustered just three wayward efforts
on goal in the opening 45 minutes as they
allowed Watford to canter into a two-goal
lead and damage further their tilt at the
Premier League title.
“It was not good in the first half, especially in
the first 20 minutes. We were beaten in the
duels and Watford were sharper than us,”
Wenger admitted after Tuesday’s match.
“Did we think subconsciously that we just
had to turn up? I don’t know. Honestly we
prepared well for the game. Looking at the
preparation, I have no basic regret.
“We knew that Watford would make it very
physical and we prepared for that.
“You do not make 47 points after 23 games in
the Premier League if you don’t have physical
power, but you have to switch it on 100
percent all of the time in the Premier League.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted, but in
the second half it was all us and let’s be fair,
we didn’t deserve to lose this game.
“We hit the bar and (Watford goalkeeper
Heurelho) Gomes made fantastic saves as
well, so I still think that if you look at the
chances, we were unlucky to lose.
“On top of that we were a bit unlucky with
the free-kick for the first goal and then a
deflected shot on top of that.”
Younes Kaboul’s deflected free-kick gave
Watford a 10th-minute lead and Watford
added a second three minutes later when
Troy Deeney tucked in the rebound from
Etienne Capoue’s shot.
Arsenal, who replied through Alex Iwobi,
travel to leaders Chelsea on Saturday and
Wenger insisted his team will not suffer from
a hangover from this result.
Nor was he comforted by draws for Chelsea,
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, which
limited the ground Arsenal lost.