Arsenal claim 3-0 win over side that had the joint meanest defence in the league.
Arsene Wenger believes his side’s 3-0 win at Watford on Saturday was perfect preparation for Tuesday’s crucial Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.
The Gunners are yet to pick up a single point in the European competition following defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos this season.
But they are going well in the Premier League, with Saturday’s victory, courtesy of goals from Alexis Sanchez, substitute Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey, lifting them back into second spot.
“For me the important game was today,” said Wenger. “Because I knew that winning today was vital to stay in touch with the top teams. Secondly, the best way for us to prepare for Tuesday night was to win the game.”
Wenger opted to play his strongest side against Watford, who matched Arsenal until Sanchez broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute to record his 10th goal in just six games for club and country.
And those players will, in the main, start against the German champions at the Emirates Stadium in the first instalment of a back-to-back double-header.
“Obviously there is no reason to completely change the team,” added Wenger. “There might be some, I don’t know yet, I will have to see how completely everyone recovers. I was able to rest Mesut Ozil and Sanchez a little early.”
Arsenal have qualified for the knockout stages for the past 16 consecutive years in the Champions League but Wenger admitted they are up against it. “We have of course to put pace into the Bayern game. We are playing against a big team,” he said. “We know we have put ourselves in a bad position in the Champions League. And we want to make something special against Bayern because that’s the only way we can stay in the race.”
Wenger admitted he had been tempted to rest Sanchez as the forward had travelled to South America and back to play two games for Chile, which saw him score two goals. “Yesterday, in the training session, he looked quite sharp and the medical people told me he had no problem at all,” added the Frenchman.
Sanchez opened the scoring with a shot that went in off the post after Ozil had seemingly been brought down in the box by Nathan Ake.
Ozil then set up Giroud for the second, and Sanchez and Ozil were both involved for Ramsey’s third.
The setback does not leave Watford in any relegation danger but manager Quique Sanchez Flores was disappointed that his players wilted in the second half.
“In the first half we played well and in the first 15 minutes of the second half but when Arsenal found space it was different,” he said. “We will have to analyse why this happened.”
Pellegrini challenges Sterling to score more
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Raheem Sterling can be more prolific for his new employers than he was for former club Liverpool.
Sterling scored the first hat-trick of his senior career as City beat Bournemouth 5-1 to stay top of the Premier League, and Pellegrini praised the England forward for his contribution.
Moved into a central role in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero, Sterling took his goal tally for City to five and Pellegrini thinks he can go well beyond the 11 goals he mustered for Liverpool last season.
“I think it was important for Raheem to score three goals,” said the Chilean, whose side visit third-place Manchester United in the Manchester derby next weekend. “He’s a very young player and I’m sure he will continue improving in the future.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.
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