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Petr Cech celebrates 200th clean sheet after revenge on Troy Deeney

Arsenal recorded a second win in four days to ease some of the pressure on Arsene Wenger. After beating AC Milan in midweek, they comfortably dispatched Watford 3-0 on Sunday.

The biggest cheer of the day was arguably reserved for Petr Cech saving Troy Deeney's penalty. The Watford striker invoked the ire of the Arsenal fans with his comments back in October, and was the subject of consistent boos throughout the match.

Goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the difference. Watford mounted many attacks, but their attacking players lacked the cutting edge of their Arsenal counterparts.


It was promising to see Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan link up so effectively. Each player laid on a goal for the other, showing good awareness and selflessness. Come next season, their combination will be integral to Arsenal's hopes of mounting a more successful campaign.

Cech will have been delighted to finally get his 200th Premier League clean sheet. It's a remarkable record, and a strong way to bounce back from his poor performance at Brighton last time out in the league.


Wenger will have been concerned to see Mustafi limp off with a groin problem. The German had an improved performance and is certain to start against Milan on Thursday if fit.

The only other negative might be the fact that Arsenal conceded so many chances. Only sloppy play from Watford prevented them from scoring a couple of goals. Wenger's men must be more conservative against Rino Gattuso's men next week.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- This was a good day for Wenger, who was able to heavily rotate his side yet still come away with three points. Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were rested entirely, and will be fresh for Milan.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 8 -- What a way to mark your 200th Premier League clean sheet. Cech had never saved a penalty for Arsenal before, and doing so against Deeney would have been particularly sweet.

DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 6 -- After being asked to play in central midfield, at left-back and left wing-back over the course of the season, Maitland-Niles started this match in a new role at right-back. He largely did well, showing the athleticism to suggest he could be a potential back-up for Hector Bellerin. However, he needs to ensure his customary composure does not creep into being lackadaisical. The manner in which he hung his leg out to concede the penalty suggested he has a lot to learn yet.

DF Rob Holding, 6 -- The young defender has been a curious absentee from the Arsenal XI this season, and will have enjoyed this rare opportunity to get some playing time.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 8 -- Rose highest to power home the header which gave Arsenal the lead. He is aerial dominance continued at the other end, where he shackled Deeney effectively. After a dreadful run, there are signs that Mustafi's form -- like Arsenal's -- is recovering.

DF Sead Kolasinac, 7 -- The Bosnian appears to be steadily adjusting to playing in a back four. His runs on the overlap were a constant threat, and had he had a more in-form player than Alex Iwobi ahead of him he would surely have got in-behind more often.

MF Granit Xhaka, 7 -- Outstanding in Milan, and continued his improved form with a steady display here. He was never going to be able to match the athleticism of Abdoulaye Doucoure, but his positional play and passing were strong.

MF Mohamed Elneny, 8 -- With Xhaka playing deeper alongside him, Elneny adopted a box-to-box role. Going forward, this was arguably his best performance in an Arsenal shirt. His passing can sometimes be far too conservative, but he unlocked his adventurous side in this game and offered a considerable threat.

MF Mesut Ozil, 8 -- From the moment Ozil played a first half pass off his shoulder, it was clear he was in the mood. He should have doubled Arsenal's lead after a flowing move into the box, but saw his shot saved by Orestis Karnezis. Nevertheless, he remained at the heart of most of Arsenal's best moves.

FW Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 8 -- When Arsenal swapped Alexis Sanchez for Mkhitaryan, they thought they were getting someone to add some smoothness to their attacking play. That hasn't proved to be the case. In fact, much like Sanchez, the Armenian pairs a habit of frequently conceding possession with some undeniable end product. He got a goal and an assist, though, and his combination play with Aubameyang bodes well for next season.

FW Alex Iwobi, 6 -- His poor decision-making in the final third saw him frustrate both the Arsenal fans and Ozil. It's clear he's really struggling for form, but supporters should be patient with the academy product. Despite recent performances, he remains a player of considerable potential.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 8 -- He probably should have opened the scoring in the first five minutes after an excellent pass from Ozil, but did eventually get his goal after showing his pace and rounding the goalkeeper. Three goals from six starts is a decent return for the club's record signing.

Petr Cech has seen his form dip a bit this season at Arsenal.
Petr Cech's penalty save from Troy Deeney helped him on his way to 200 Premier League clean sheets.


FW Danny Welbeck, 6 -- Came on for Iwobi to get some more minutes ahead of the Milan game.

DF Calum Chambers, N/R -- Replaced the injured Mustafi and will probably start as right-back on Thursday.

MF Jack Wilshere, N/R -- Introduced for Mkhitaryan, the Englishman did not have much opportunity to impress.

James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.


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