Arsene Wenger bemoaned a “scandalous decision” to award Watford a penalty as Arsenal squandered a lead to lose 2-1 in injury time at Vicarage Road.
The Gunners led through Per Mertesacker’s header but the Hornets equalised when Troy Deeney converted from the spot after Hector Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled Richarlison. Substitute Deeney’s strike with 19 minutes left set the scene for a stirring Watford finish, with Tom Cleverley converting in the closing seconds to send Watford fourth.
“I would say it was not a penalty,” said Arsenal manager Wenger. “It came at a moment in the game where it was absolutely important for Watford. No penalty, no goal.”Deeney gave a scathing assessment of Wenger’s comments and the Gunners in general, telling BT Sport: “I’ve heard Wenger’s already saying the penalty is the reason they lost. Well, I’m not going to be one to tell Mr Wenger about himself, but there’s a reason they lost and it wasn’t because of one penalty.
“It’s having a bit of cojones. Whenever I play against Arsenal, I’ll go up and think ‘let me whack the first one and see who wants it’.”I came on today and jumped up with Mertesacker – I didn’t even have to jump, actually. I nodded it down, the crowd got up – ‘yeah we’ve got somebody who can win it’ – and they all just backed off.”For me as a player, I just think ‘happy days’. That’s my strength – if you’re going to let me do my strength against you, you’re going to have a tough afternoon.”
Hornets boss Marco Silva was unhappy with any inference that attacker Richarlison had exaggerated to win the spot-kick that helped turn the game in his side’s favour.”I have seen the penalty and I respect the decision of the referee,” he said. “I didn’t see a dive or a simulation.He goes down easily but it’s not simulation because there’s contact. If Arsene Wenger was in the other dugout he’d want the penalty there.
“Richarlison has suffered the most fouls in the Premier League this season, and people are starting to say he dives.”He is not. He is fair, He wins fouls like the best players in the world win fouls.”Silva’s side have now scored in the 90th minute or beyond in three consecutive games, as a second-half revival sealed their first home win of an impressive start to the campaign.
Without the rested Alexis Sanchez the Gunners lacked the cutting edge to capitalise on a string of chances, with substitute Mesut Ozil – also benched after his World Cup qualifying exertions for Germany in the week – guilty of one glaring miss.
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