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Arsenal leapfrog Man Utd and Chelsea as TWO mad moments end away day blues at Watford

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Foster handed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his 23rd goal of the season as he dozily allowed the Gunners forward to block his kick and score.

And then Hornets skipper Deeney effectively made sure that Arsenal clinched a victory that saw them climb back above Manchester United and Chelsea into fourth spot in the Premier League, as he was stupidly sent off a minute later, for swinging an arm at Lucas Torreira.

FA Cup semi-final hero Deeney tore his shirt off in disgust as he stalked off in only the 11th minute. But the damage had been done – and Gunners had their only their sixth away league win of the season, and their first clean sheet.

When Arsenal lost 2-1 at Vicarage Road last season Watford icon Deeney accused them of lacking ‘cojones’.

He might have taken more care about his own forearm on Monday night rather than worrying about parts of Arsenal’s anatomy.

Deeney’s words were markedly less friendly than the two managers had been anyway.

Hornets boss Javi Gracia and Gunners chief Unai Emery were old team-mates together from their playing days at Real Sociedad.

When Emery was offered the Arsenal job last summer he asked Gracia his opinion. Since then, the pair have dined together in St Albans.

There was no doubt that on Tuesday night Arsenal would need some of those ‘cojones’ to put right a wretched away record. Against a team buoyant from making the FA Cup final for the second time in their history last week.

Before the trip to Watford, Arsenal had won just five games on the road his season, only once away in the league in 2019. They had not kept a clean sheet away from home in the League.

But, boy, did Watford give Arsenal a helping hand.

The Gunners started nervously as goalkeeper Bernd Leno sliced his clearance into touch under pressure from Andre Gray.

But then an extraordinary double disaster for the Hornets, in the space of a minute. First, goalkeeper Ben Foster, recalled after Heurelho Gomes’ FA Cup heroics at Wembley last week, blundered astonishingly. He picked up Daryl Janmaat’s back pass, and fatefully dallied with apparently plenty of time.

But Aubameyang closed him down from the back unseen, and raced in to block Foster’s kick, which flew into the net to give the Gunners the lead.

Less than a catastrophoc minute later Watford were down to ten men. Deeney went into a challenge with Lucas Torriera and appeared to swing a forearm into his face.

Down went the Uruguayan, linesman Richard West flagged, and referee Craig Pawson, to Deeney’s astonishment, produced the red card. Deeney had words with Torreira as he walked off fuming. But he had wrecked his team’s hopes.

Aubameyang then shot wide before a shell-shocked Watford fought back as Craig Cathcart saw Leno push his shot onto the post and away.

But Arsenal had the numbers now, and when Alex Iwobi shot, Foster redeemed himself partly with a fine save. Watford were still carving out chances though, and Etienne Capoue forced a brilliant save from Leno with a curling free kick.

Iwobi’s cross-shot was a whisker away as Arsenal kept probing, and Watford sat deep and tried to stay in the game.

But then Iwobi crossed and Henrikh Mkhitaryan looked certain to score, only to see Foster somehow stop his point blank volley. Then Aubameyang missed a sitter.

But Watford were not giving up, and the Gunners had their own major escape as Adam Masina let fly from 30 yards – and saw his shot cannot off the angle.

For more news relating to Arsenal, visit our sister site Arsenal Live.
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