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Arsenal 3-0 Watford: Gunners end Premier League drought as Troy Deeney misses penalty

Shkodran Mustafi celebrates scoring Arsenal's first goal against Watford with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Elneny

Arsenal geared up for their Europa League decider and halted a run of three straight Premier League defeats with a 3-0 win over Watford at the Emirates.

Shkodran Mustafi headed an eighth-minute opener and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang fired a belated second just before the hour-mark, before Henrikh Mkhitaryan added a third 13 minutes from time as Arsene Wenger's selection gamble with AC Milan in mind paid off.

The hosts had escaped punishment for a profligate first half and were indebted to Petr Cech for saving a Troy Deeney penalty just minutes after Aubameyang struck, the goalkeeper finally recording his 200th Premier League clean sheet.

Wenger's scrutinised side remain 10 points adrift of the top four, having played a game more, but victory at a stadium once again pockmarked by empty seats will at least help boost still-fragile confidence ahead of a Europa League last-16 showdown pivotal to their season.
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Deeney had memorably accused Arsenal of lacking 'cojones' at Vicarage Road in October but after responding to their critics with a 2-0 win in Italy on Thursday, the Gunners set a brisk tempo despite six changes that saw Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey rested.

Ozil had slipped Aubameyang through with just two minutes on the clock, Hornets 'keeper Orestis Karnezis splayed to thwart him, but the German created the opener soon after with an inswinging free-kick that Mustafi rose between yellow shirts to meet.

That milestone goal - Arsenal's 1,000th at home in the Premier League - might have been supplemented before the break but Sead Kolasinac's heavy centre just evaded Aubameyang's lunge (17) and after collecting Mohamed Elneny's ball on the run, Ozil lashed straight at the goalkeeper (28).

Abdoulaye Doucoure's driving run into the box had tested Cech's reactions, while Roberto Pereyra smashed a loose ball from close range over the crossbar (25) during a half where the visitors grew in confidence as their hosts failed to increase their lead.

Man of the match - Petr Cech

Cech had pushed away a stoppage-time Richarlison header to preserve the slim advantage by the break and Rob Holding was forced into a smart block after the restart as Watford maintained momentum.

Danny Welbeck was stripped to enter the fray, home nerves lingering, but then Mkhitaryan pounced on a loose ball and drove goalwards, threading through a ball that Aubameyang tucked away before flipping backwards in celebration (59).

Arsenal breathed easier but Watford were gifted a lifeline when Ainsley Maitland-Niles tripped Pereyra, only for Deeney - booed lustily as he stepped up to the spot - to fire straight at Cech.

The Czech punched the air, landmark shut-out in sight, as the Emirates noise finally lifted, and having opened his Arsenal account in midweek, Mkhitaryan sealed the points when he latched onto Aubameyang's ball and slotted home.
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