Unai Emery took Arsenal to Vicarage Road hoping for an easy win and after the first 45 minutes, the match seemed to be heading in that very direction with the Gunners leading 2-0.
But after the break, the whole dimension of the game changed as Watford managed to claw back the two-goal deficit ending the match 2-2 and were a bit unlucky not to have picked up all the three points.
And according to former Arsenal man Paul Merson, Gunners boss Unai Emery is the man to put the blame on since he chose to make a number of odd decisions during the game.
“I’ve got to put it on the manager,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“People will say there were experienced players on the pitch, but he’s the manager and they’re paid to listen to him. You can’t have a manager give instructions on how to play and then they go out and do their own thing.
“There would be mutiny, so they’re listening to him and he’s not getting it right.
“His substitutions weren’t right. They needed to keep the ball in that game but they kept giving it away cheaply. The only player who didn’t give the ball away all game was Mesut Ozil. You just knew that Arsenal needed to score another goal but he was bringing youngsters on in a game when you’re under pressure.
“Only Arsenal would give them a chance to get back in the game. The shackles came off and Watford felt like they had nothing to lose, but the manager got it horribly wrong. I couldn’t believe he brought Ozil off. Who else is going to open up a team bar him?
“To get Sokratis to play out from the back… the lad can’t play. He’s not David Luiz. He can pass, he’s comfortable on the ball. No way can Sokratis play the same way.
“They need to play three at the back as they’re not good enough to play a four. They let in too many goals and make too many mistakes.
“It’s like anything in life, if you keep on doing the same things, you’ll keep on getting the same results.”
While there can be a debate on Sokratis playing out from the back but one thing we totally agree with is the wrong decision taken by substituting Mesut Ozil.
We can understand that Unai Emery wants to lay his faith on the youngsters to pull the team out of difficult situations but there are certain times when you need to give up on all the fancy details and just go by the book.
And Sunday’s game was one such instance when Mesut Ozil needed to be on the pitch not only because Arsenal needed another goal but also for the fact that the German knows how to keep the ball and control the flow of the game.