Ten Thoughts: Arsenal 1-2 Watford

Well, that was a load of old bollocks, wasn't it?

Like I imagine you do, I don't want to spend tons of time reliving this. So, let's just get right to it and then never speak of this again, shall we?

1. We deserved that. Every single square inch of it. The way that we came out in the first half was absolutely inexcusable. Watford played like their lives depended on it, we played like we expected to win just because we turned up. I can't say that it's definitely the case, of course. I'm not in that dressing room, I don't know the behind the scenes.

But, to get blitzed like that in the first 10 minutes at home to Watford? Come on, now. It especially rankles when you consider that going into this one, there was every chance that Chelsea would drop points up at Anfield. It turns out that they did after all (thank you, Simon Mignolet!), and that makes it even worse.

2. You can complain all you want about the starting XI that was selected today, but the fact of the matter is that those 11 players were good enough on paper to win this game.  We had World Cup winners, Copa America winners, one of the better center-half pairings in the league, a goalkeeper that has won everything (more on him in a second)...and the opposition was Watford. Not to take away from their ability as professionals and all, but there is zero excuse for losing this game in the fashion that we did.

I mean, if we played well but fell victim to bad bounces, a lucky goal, one guy on the opposition playing the game of his life, that's fine. However, despite Lucas Perez hitting the bar late and their first goal coming off a silly and preventable deflection (FFS, Ramsey stuck his hip out at that one - trust your bloody goalkeeper mate), even the most blinkered Gooner would have to admit that the Hornets deserved this over the course of the match.

15 minutes of trying won't win a 90 minute game.

3. There were points though where I thought we might snatch a draw after all. It feels like we've had a run of tremendous luck in these situations this season, so it was a bit shocking to see Lucas Perez's Podolski-esque thunderbastard ring off the underside of the bar and go out.

Perhaps our luck has finally run out.

4. OR, perhaps recency bias has made us think that we've been luckier than we truly have been over the course of the season. I was wondering this shortly after Perez's unlucky meeting with the woodwork, so I did a wacky thing and looked it up. Specifically, about results in the Premier League.

As it turns out, we've only rescued 5 more points from dire positions than we've thrown away from winning ones. It is yet more impactful when you consider that these points thrown away have given direct rivals - Liverpool, City, Spurs - bonuses that they shouldn't have gotten.

5. A silver lining from that table though is that this was the first wall-to-wall loss of the season in the Premier League. It's annoying that it came against the opponent that it did, but what it tells me is that our overall season-long performance levels have not been all that bad. Even when we've had infuriating results, like in the NLD or the opener against Liverpool, we've been right there up until the end.

It can be hard to keep an even keel over the course of a 38-game season, and yeah, I get it that Chelsea are playing out of their minds right now. But, should we beat the Blues at the weekend, we're 6 points back with 14 matches left to play.

6. Speaking of keeping an even keel, I feel at times that roughly 95% of our fan base owes this man one hell of an apology.

Photo: arsenal.com

Because the game was not on NBCSN proper this afternoon, and further given that watching on a laptop is not miles away from watching the little sprites run around on Football Manager, I spent more time on Twitter mid-match than I would otherwise do. Were one to believe the combined genius found on that platform, you'd think Petr Cech was responsible for AIDS, the refugee crisis and Donald Trump being elected.

All this, of course, in a match where the goals came off of a crazy deflection and Nacho Monreal losing his man on the back post after Cech made a top-class save on a 1-v-1. I'm not going to give it its own thought, but consider "I am so done with Nacho Monreal at this point" to be thought 6b. His dive to try and win a penalty was embarrassing - if you're going to cheat, then do it well at least, laddie. I don't know what the issue is with him but it may be time to give Kieran Gibbs a serious run in the team.

7. I digress from my point, however. This was an actual exchange I had on Twitter with someone during the match:

Feelings are not facts, children.

Speaking of, you know, facts and stuff: Let's do a little thought experiment.

Club A: 12 clean sheets - 7 Premier League, 2 Europe, 2 EFL Cup, 1 FA Cup
Club B: 14 clean sheets - 7 Premier League, 3 Europe, 2 EFL Cup, 2 FA Cup

Can you guess who is who?

The answer is that Club A is us, Club B is Manchester United...you know, the one who has the consensus second-best keeper in the world in David De Gea. Keep in mind that, as far as I know, De Gea has played all the cup games this season, whereas for us David Ospina has gotten all the cup games.

8. So, this isn't really about the Watford game, but since people are blaming Cech for everything these days, I have to get two rants off my chest when it comes to assessing goalkeepers.

First: Save percentage, on its own, is a fantastically idiotic method to apply in this case. Another thought experiment: Keeper A concedes 5 goals on 10 shots, 2 on penalties, 2 on unmarked back-post tap-ins, and maybe 1 he should have saved. However, he also makes 4 world-class saves in key situations.  Keeper B concedes 1 horror goal, and saves 9 that are sent straight at him.

Keeper B has the better save percentage by far, but I damn sure would rather have Keeper A on my team.

Second: Clean sheets are a team-wide statistic. Goalkeepers naturally contribute to that stat, but it isn't ever entirely down to the keeper...good or bad.

Actually, let's tie that to this match. Watford's second goal should be played in every defensive video drill for every club in the world as a shining example of how not to defend. Francis Coquelin was a statue further up the field, and I believe there was a bad giveaway to begin the move in the first place. But, my god, watch Shkodran Mustafi on that one. He was in attendance for virtually the whole move, but instead of fouling him outside the area or staying tight on his man at the very least, he treated us to the best bullfighting Veronica seen this side of Sevilla.

On top of it all, Cech saves the 1-v-1, the ball loops back to the back post, and literally no one is there to deal with it. The goalkeeper more than did his job - exceeded expectations, in fact.

But, no, Twitter Man *feels* like he's playing badly, so it must be so. Muppets.

9. The absolutely weird thing is that I do think we'll be OK against Chelsea. We've performed far, far better against our title rivals this season than we have in the recent past, and people always forget that every match is a distinct and separate entity. It doesn't hold true that we're going to lose forever because we lost one match, just like we're not going to win forever because we won one match.

Peaks and valleys, kids. Welcome to top-level football.

10. Still, that fucking sucked, though.

Man of the Match: Troy Deeney