Arsenal captain, Per Mertesacker was left lamenting over his side’s latest collapse against Watford, Saturday night. The German was able to captain his side in a league game for the first time since April 2016, marking his return with a headed goal that looked to have clinched it for the Gunners.
From a Granit Xhaka corner, the tall German did not have to jump very high over Watford’s Tom Cleverly, to power a header past Heurelho Gomes.
However, Mertesacker was left disappointed at the final whistle, as his side failed to put Watford to the sword. Watford capitalised on Arsenal’s loss of grip in the second half, tacking on waves of pressure onto the Arsenal defence.
The defence that was bending finally broke, when referee, Neil Swarbrick awarded Watford a very dubious penalty, after Hector Bellerin looked to have upended Richarlison. Tom Cleverly completed the comeback for his side, after a defensive mishap allowed him a plethora of space to power the ball into the roof of the net.
Mertesacker told the club’s website (via arsenal.com), “I think we struggled a lot in terms of that and that’s not our game, you could sense that we struggled a lot in those scenes where they just regained the ball back as quickly as they could.”
At 1-0 Arsenal had two chances that would’ve seen the game out comfortably, but lacked the cutting edge. Alex Iwobi, and Mesut Özil spurred great chances, bringing forth two vital saves from the Watford keeper, Gomes.
The Arsenal captain bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge, “Yes, I think that’s what we lacked, especially in the second half, you know when we got the ball we missed a chance, but we missed as well to play, we missed it completely”.
Mertesacker also refused to be drawn into the penalty debacle, I’m not sure, I cannot tell. Honestly, it’s so quick these actions, it’s difficult to judge and the referee made that decision”.
However, he did segue onto a lighter note, his return back to the side, “I have to do better next time, that is my target, to push these guys more that we get more out of that when we get the ball.”