Arsenal travelled to Watford on Monday night, looking to reclaim a top-four place as the season enters its climax. Here are five things we learned from the 1-0 victory.
Thanks to some lapse goalkeeping and an early refereeing decision, Arsenal squeezed past Watford on Monday night for only their second away win in the Premier League in 2019. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notched his 18th goal of the year, blocking Ben Foster’s clearance into the empty net, but it was Watford who were much the superior team, despite playing for almost 80 minutes with just ten men. No one at the Emirates will mind, though. The win, in the end, is all that matters.
Here are five things we learned from the hard-earned, largely fortunate 1-0 win.
5. Full-backs are needed
Unai Emery shifted to a 4-3-3, abandoning the back-three-based formations that he has used and trusted in recent weeks. Instead of having wing-backs, the 4-3-3 features two traditional full-backs, a role shackled with a greater defensive responsibility than their wing-back counterpart.
Want your voice heard? Join the Pain In The Arsenal team!
Write for us!
In the 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation, Emery has trusted Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play the left and right wing-back positions. Both were dropped, with Shkodran Mustafi, a natural centre-back, and Nacho Monreal, a player who has largely played centre-back, filling in.
Both played admirably, especially Monreal, who defended with great intelligence and awareness, but they are clearly not the long-term solutions to the full-back positions. Hector Bellerin will return at right-back next season, though depth is a concern, while I am not sure there is a left-back in the squad that Emery truly trusts. Full-back is a major summer need.