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13 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Wenger gets boost as Arsenal sink Watford

AFP
Wenger gets boost as Arsenal sink Watford
Arsenal’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi (R) celebrates with Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny (L) and Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match against Watford at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday. AFP PHOTO

AFP, LONDON: Arsene Wenger received a welcome boost as Arsenal eased a little of the pressure on their beleaguered boss with a 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday.

After a wretched run left Wenger fighting to save his job, a 2-0 win at AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday offered the Frenchman temporary respite from the torrent of abuse he has endured this season.

Maintaining the momentum from that last-16 victory in the San Siro, Wenger's side ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats with a solid display at the Emirates Stadium.

Shkodran Mustafi’s early opener and a cool finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them in control. In a moment of sweet vindication, Watford captain Troy Deeney, who had questioned Arsenal's spirit earlier this season, had a second-half penalty saved by Petr Cech.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike wrapped up the points, but there was concern for Wenger as Mustafi limped off in the closing stages.

Arsenal, who had lost eight of their previous 14 matches in all competitions, remain in sixth place and trail fourth-placed Tottenham by 10 points ahead of their rivals' trip to Bournemouth later on Sunday.

Winning the Europa League guarantees qualification for next season’s Champions League and, with Arsenal’s hopes of achieving that goal via a top-four finish looking bleak, it was no surprise Wenger prioritised the continental competition.

With the second leg against Milan looming on Thursday, Wenger rested Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny and left Jack Wilshere on the bench. Aubameyang was one of the established stars who started for Arsenal and the Gabon striker should have opened the scoring when he raced onto Mesut Ozil's pass and shot straight at Watford goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.

For the second successive home game, a significant amount of seats were empty as fans stayed away in protest at Wenger’s woes.

The subdued atmosphere lent an 'end of an era' feel to the match, but it didn't bother Arsenal, who had a point to prove to Watford captain Deeney.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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