Watford 2-2 Arsenal
Watford stormed back from two-down to secure a deserved 2-2 draw against Arsenal in Quique Sanchez Flores’ first game back in charge at Vicarage Road.
Flores, who was brought back to Watford to replace the sacked Javi Gracia, opted to make two changes to his first line-up as the manager in his second spell as Gerard Deulofeu and Etienne Capoue replaced Roberto Pereyra and the injured Craig Cathcart.
Unai Emery also made two changes to the Arsenal side which drew 2-2 against Tottenham before the international break with Mesut Ozil restored to the line-up in place of the injured Alexandre Lacazette, while Dani Ceballos came in for Lucas Torreira.
Watford had the first efforts of note in the opening 10 minutes when Bernd Leno needed two attempts to save a Deulofeu curling effort from just inside the area, before he tipped a fierce angled strike from Tom Cleverley over the top.
On 13 minutes Deulofeu tricked his way down the left side of the area and pulled the ball back to Jose Holebas, but he somehow failed to hit the target as he lifted his shot over the top.
However, it was Arsenal who went ahead in the 21st minute when Will Hughes was caught in possession in the middle of the pitch by Ceballos. Sead Kolasinac then picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just inside the area and he turned before firing a low strike beyond the outstretched hand of Ben Foster.
Watford were furious no free-kick was awarded for a foul on Hughes, but VAR was happy to stick with referee Anthony Taylor’s decision.
It was 2-0 on 32 minutes when Ozil’s neat pass sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles clear down the right of the box and he put the ball on a plate for Aubameyang to tap in his second of the game at the back post.
Watford got their noses back into the contest on 53 minutes as they capitalized on Arsenal’s insistence on trying to play the ball out from a goal kick.
Having almost been caught out in the first half, Sokratis attempted to play the ball to Matteo Guendouzi on the edge of his own area and Deulofeu intercepted to tee up Cleverley who drilled his shot past Leno from 12 yards.
Watford continued to press for an equaliser and they were rewarded nine minutes from time when David Luiz sent Pereyra tumbling just inside the box and the Brazilian stepped up to fire the penalty past Leno.
Deulofeu was inches away from putting the Hornets in front two minute later but his low strike from the left side of the box was the wrong side of Leno’s upright.
On 86 minutes Cleverley swung his boot at the ball on the edge of the box but his goal-bound strike was diverted over the top off the head of Luiz.
In an end-to-end finale, Abdoulaye Doucoure almost snatched the win in the second minute of stoppage time when he met Ismaila Sarr’s cross from the right but hit his effort straight at Leno.
The draw sees Watford remain bottom with two points from five games, while Arsenal remain in seventh on eight points.