Unai Emery has blamed Arsenal’s collapse against Watford on his team-mate’s inability to deal with the Hornets’ pressing game in the second half.
Arsenal raced into a two-goal lead at Vicarage thanks to a first-half brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and looked certain to pick up their third win of the season.
The Gunners, however, imploded in the second half, with Sokratis handing Quique Sanchez Flores’ a lifeline in the 52nd minute and David Luiz giving Roberto Pererya the opportunity to level the scores from the penalty spot with less than ten minutes to go – which he gleefully took.
Emery was left lamenting his troops’ failure to kill off the game with a third goal but believes Watford’s constant harrying in the middle of the park was ultimately his team’s undoing.
During his post-match interview, the Spaniard said: “They pushed us, Watford last year played like today.
“We were up in the first half and we knew that we needed to score the third. They had the capacity to come back with the supporters and that’s what happened.
“We couldn’t break their pressing in the second half. They are physical, a very strong team. They pushed for our mistakes, they were playing for our mistakes.
“When you are trying to break their lines you can have chances. They won the second half and my summary is it is not a good point. We need to continue working. When we tried to play the long ball we lost the ball as well.”
Gunners skipper Granit Xhaka admits he and his team-mates were afraid of the Hornets in the second-half, saying: “Everyone was happy but we came out and played such a bad second half. You have to say we are happy to take a point.
“We were scared in the second half. We knew they would come at us and push us hard but we have to show more character and not be scared.
“We have spoken about it. We cannot give a performance like this in the second half.”
Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways on Thursday night when they travel to Frankfurt to play Eintracht Frankfurt in their first Europa League match of the season.