Emery struggles to find the right balanceIn Arsenal’s game against Liverpool at Anfield last month, Unai Emery opted to play with a midfield diamond in support of a speedy front two of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe in the hope of catching the league leaders on the break.Although Arsenal ultimately suffered defeat, it was a ploy that showed promise with the willing Pepe, in particular, relishing the opportunity to scamper after long balls forward. Another aim was to pack the midfield in an attempt to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool’s energetic pressing game.Against Watford, Arsenal’s first away game since that trip to Merseyside, Emery elected to play a diamond again, with his two most creative players – Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos – shoehorned into the same side, with Granit Xhaka and Mateo Guendouzi providing the industry. Instead, Sokratis passed the ball straight to Cleverley inside the area and the former Manchester United man swept a well-taken first-time finish under Leno to not only bring Watford back into the game but change the entire complexion of the match.From that point on it was one-way traffic, with Watford outnumbering Arsenal’s number of attempts on goal from 23 to four in the second period. Eventually, they got what they deserved with Roberto Pereyra netting the equaliser after another dreadful piece of Arsenal defending.For the second time in his four-game Arsenal career, David Luiz conceded a penalty after lazily dangling a leg out to bring down Pereyra and the Argentine, deputising for Watford’s regular penalty taker Troy Deeney, made no mistake from the spot.AdvertisementArsenal might possess one of the best attacks in the Premier League but their defence is simply not up to top-four standard.Watford show signs of life under FloresBefore the season started, Watford were considered to be in the group of teams in with a chance of breaking the top-six duopoly in a year in which both Manchester United and Chelsea are in the process of major re-modelling projects.However, a dreadful start to the campaign had them rooted to the foot of the table by the arrival of the first international break, culminating in the sacking of Javi Gracia who had overseen a gradual deterioration in results over the course of this calendar year.It took less than half an hour for Watford to name Gracia’s replacement and there was plenty of surprise when it was revealed that Quique Sanchez Flores would be returning, just over three years after he was sacked. Skip Ad Coming Next PLAY Quique Sanchez Flores was back in the Watford dugout three years after his departure (Picture: Getty)Flores had been dismissed due to a perception that his brand of football wasn’t entertaining enough but judging on his first game in charge that may not be the case this time around. Watford were for the most part sensational.There is plenty of attacking talent in this Watford squad, with the likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra and the exciting Ismaila Sarr, all well capable of providing moments of magic, while Abdoulaye Doucoure is unquestionably one of the best central midfielders outside the top-six.On this evidence, Flores might just be able to get them all firing once more and should that occur, Watford will fly up the Premier League table again in no time. This really should have been their first victory of the campaign. by Metro Skip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice in the first half at Vicarage Road (Picture: Getty)With Lacazette sidelined, Aubameyang returned to his natural position and he demonstrated his killer instinct in front of goal with two predatory finishes. The first was wonderfully executed as he swivelled on the half-turn to collect Sead Kolasinac’s pass behind him, before firing a low shot into the corner.The second was a typical poacher’s finish as he ghosted into a position at the far post to tap in Ainsley Maitland-Niles pass across the six-yard box. Those goals were Aubameyang’s 36th and 37th in his 54th Premier League game.It’s a phenomenal strike-rate from a player whose efforts in English football appear to have been under-valued outside N7. 1 min. story SPONSORED Read More Read More Read More 1/1 About Connatix V67539 Full Screen Read More Read More Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling Video Settings Advertisement Arsenal threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Watford (Picture: Getty)Watford showed fighting spirit in abundance as they recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Arsenal in a breathtaking clash at Vicarage Road.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given Arsenal a seemingly comfortable lead at the interval with two typically ruthless finishes before Arsenal shot themselves in the foot by gifting their hosts two goals in the second period.Sokratis Papastathopolous’ errant pass was seized upon by Tom Cleverley to score before David Luiz conceded a penalty which was converted by Roberto Pereyra.Here are the four main talking points from the game…ADVERTISEMENT Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Oliver Young-MylesSunday 15 Sep 2019 6:44 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link788Shares Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE / Four talking points as Arsenal throw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Watford Aubameyang shows he’s the main manArsenal suffered a blow before the game with the news that Alexandre Lacazette would be absent due to an ankle injury picked up in the north London derby. The Frenchman is one of Arsenal’s most influential players, but when he plays it often means Aubameyang is shunted out to the flank.AdvertisementAdvertisementAlthough Aubameyang is accomplished when playing out wide, he is infinitely more dangerous when deployed through the middle. That was evidenced against Spurs when Aubameyang fired off three shots in the final 23 minutes after Lacazette had gone off, compared to one in the 67 minutes before with him on the pitch. Dani Ceballos struggled to exert his influence on proceedings (Picture: Getty)It was a slightly surprising decision, considering Watford’s new boss Quique Sanchez Flores is renowned as a defensive coach and as such, Watford’s defensive line would have been situated far deeper than Liverpool’s was, thus denying space in behind for the forwards.More of an issue, though, was the balance in midfield which looked all wrong in the opening stages. Ozil struggled with the pace of the game and Watford were able to bypass Arsenal’s midfield at will and pepper shots on goal, having four in total in the opening 20 minutes.AdvertisementAdvertisementAubameyang’s goal against the run of the play altered the pattern of the first half but regardless, Emery would have seen enough to know his away game strategy still requires fine-tuning.Arsenal’s defensive woes continueOne of the main changes that Emery instigated when he assumed control of Arsenal after Arsene Wenger was to encourage his goalkeeper and defender’s to build from the back by playing short passes into midfield.Over a year on from Emery’s appointment, though, and Arsenal are still not particularly adept at it. Mateo Guendouzi twice ceded possession inside his own penalty area and was fortunate that Watford were unable to capitalise.Despite those near-misses, Arsenal continued to try and play out from defence and eventually they paid the price for it. Bernd Leno knocked the ball square to Sokratis and the Greek defender attempted to find Guendouzi on the D. Advertisement Top articles Comment
“I have tried a couple of times to come back but it is difficult for an England manager to come back and manage – Sir Bobby (Robson) didn’t do a bad job but there were quite a few years in between. “Hopefully those years have set me up to do that. You want to come back in the Premier League and if you want to pick a club, there are not many as big as Newcastle United in terms of potential.” McClaren has accepted there can be no honeymoon period as he tries to lift the gloom of despondency that hung over Tyneside during last season’s calamitous campaign. A summer spending spree which has brought in the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba – plus a contract extension for captain Fabricio Coloccini this week – have gone some way to improving the mood. And McClaren knows the onus is now on him to win over those doubters who remain unconvinced by his appointment to replace former caretaker-boss John Carver in the summer. “I can understand that point of view and it’s no problem,” added McClaren. “I’ve got the opportunity and it’s something I’ve wanted since I’ve lived in this area. “Where ever you go, you want to make it work. That is the difference. Before, it was drive and ambition and everything and now it’s ‘let’s do the job’. “Where ever I have been since then (England), I have said, ‘that’s it, I just want to do the job here and not have ambitions for anywhere else – and so I am here.” While Wijnaldum is set to start against Saints, McClaren is unlikely to risk either Mitrovic or Mbemba from the start to their relative lack of match fitness. Coloccini is also facing a late fitness test after missing almost the entirety of the Magpies’ pre-season programme with an Achilles complaint. McClaren admits he spent years seeking to repair his reputation after being booted out of the England job in 2006, but the 54-year-old says his own career is now very much rooted in the present. McClaren said: “After the England job, I spent a lot of years trying to prove myself, then after that I spent a lot of time gaining experience. That is what I have been doing. Steve McClaren is adamant he has nothing more to prove as he prepares to make his Barclays Premier League bow with Newcastle against Southampton at St James’s Park on Sunday. Press Association
Nancy Spears, an entertainment industry executive and recreation-league teammate of Sparks co-owner Carla Christofferson, was hired Tuesday as president of the WNBA team. Christofferson and Katherine Goodman head an investment group that purchased the Sparks from the Lakers in December. They plan to participate in a limited number of events in 2007 while they finish school and get back into competitive shape for the 2008 Olympics. PASSINGS: Willye White, a five-time U.S. Olympian and two-time Olympic track and field silver medalist, has died. She was 67. White died of pancreatic cancer at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to a longtime friend. WINTER SPORTS: Lindsey Kildow won her first medal – a silver – after finishing second to home favorite Anja Paerson in the women’s super-giant slalom at the Alpine Skiing World Championship in Are, Sweden. Bode Miller made a series of mistakes and finished 24th in the men’s super-G at the world championships in Are. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Spears, 37, joins the Sparks from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, where she was director of worldwide acquisitions. Before that, she was director of marketing for Kid Franchise Entertainment at Warner Home Video. “Her brand marketing experience will be a great asset as we continue to build the franchise into one of the finest in sports,” Goodman said of Spears in a news release. “Equally important, Nancy shares our vision of creating a community among Sparks’ fans.” Spears played basketball and softball for four years at South Pasadena High. FOOTBALL: Gordon Riese, the Pacific-10 Conference official who missed a call during the Oklahoma-Oregon game last season, has been told he will not return to the job in that capacity. Riese said he received death threats after a call on an onside kick near the end of the Sept. 16 game that the Ducks won 34-33. Televised replays showed the Sooners recovered that kick, but Riese did not see that angle in the replay booth. Riese will remain a Pac-10 technical assistant, making about $350 a game. GYMNASTICS: Olympic champion Paul Hamm, who won the disputed gold medal in the all-around at the 2004 Olympics, and his twin brother, Morgan, have decided to return to competitive gymnastics USA Gymnastics officials confirmed.