Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan score as Arsenal beat Watford

Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both scored for Arsenal against Watford

Arsenal ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats as they secured a fine victory over Watford.

Shkodran Mustafi headed in Mesut Ozil’s left-wing free-kick to give the Gunners an eighth-minute lead, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang collected Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass to add a second.

Watford had a chance to pull one back but Troy Deeney’s penalty was saved by Petr Cech, who secured the 200th Premier League clean sheet of his career.

Mkhitaryan sealed Arsenal’s victory, their first league win since beating Everton 5-1 on 3 February, with a shot from inside the penalty area following Aubameyang’s pass.

The result leaves the Gunners sixth, 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the final Champions League spot.

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However, Arsenal could still qualify for next season’s Champions League if they win the Europa League, and that competition affected Arsene Wenger’s team selection on Sunday.

With Arsenal holding a 2-0 lead against AC Milan and playing the second leg of their last-16 leg tie at home on Thursday, Wenger took a risk by making six changes.

Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were rested, with Jack Wilshere only on the bench, but the gamble paid off for Arsenal.

Arsenal give their fans something to cheer about
Despite an official attendance of 59,131, there were empty seats all around the Emirates with a number of season-ticket holders seemingly put off by the Gunners’ disappointing season.

However, those who had turned up were almost celebrating after only two minutes when Aubameyang was clean through, but he was denied by a fine save by Orestis Karnezis.

But the Gunners took the lead only six minutes later when Ozil’s free-kick from the left touchline was powerfully headed in by Mustafi.

Aubameyang, Ozil and Granit Xhaka were denied by Karnezis, before Aubameyang made it 2-0, collecting Mkhitaryan’s pass and taking the ball around the Watford keeper.

After Deeney’s penalty miss, Mkhitaryan added a third when he shot past Karnezis for his first league goal for the Gunners.

With the Europa League on Wenger’s mind, the Frenchman was able to take Mkhitaryan off late on for Wilshere, although Mustafi is now a doubt for Thursday’s match after he limped off in the second half.

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