Troy Deeney has been given freedom to speak his mind by Watford manager Javi Garcia after the boss admitted he likes his captain's honesty.
The reverse fixture earlier this season had a hint of controversy added to it after the game, when Deeney highlighted Arsenal's lack of a backbone in their side. Deeney came on as a second half substitute with his side trailing 1-0. He instantly troubled the Arsenal defence and scored from the penalty spot just 10 minutes after coming on.
He continued to hound Arsenal's defence and Watford found a winning goal in injury time thanks to Tom Cleverley, but the star of the show was Deeney. The controversy came after the game when Deeney told BT Sport: "I've heard Wenger's already blaming that [the penalty] as the reason they lost.
"Having a bit of cojones, I think the word is. Whenever I play against Arsenal – and this is just a personal thing – I go up and think 'let me whack the first one, then we will see who wants it'. I came on today and jumped up with Mertesacker - I didn't even have to jump up actually - nodded it down and the crowd gets up. They all just backed off."
Now the two sides meet for the reverse fixture at the Emirates on Sunday with Arsenal trailing the league leaders by 33 points. There is likely to be an extra hint of flair to the game following Deeney's comments, and Garcia has revealed he likes his captain's honesty even if it did rub the Arsenal fans up the wrong way.
He told the Daily Mirror: “Troy is our captain and a very good player. Everyone is free to explain feelings and a point of view as he wants - I like this way. I don’t know what happened with him and the squad in the past and I don’t care.
"If you say something about what happened in the past, you are talking about different coaches - I prefer only to think about the future for Troy and all the players.”
Deeney will be looking to have a similar impact when the sides meet on Sunday, as Watford look to close the gap on their opponents to just six points.