Arsenal 4-1 Watford: FIVE things we learned as Gunners ease to victory

Arsenal new boy Albert Sambi Lokonga produces commanding display while Miguel Azeez could be the next young star to break through… but glaring errors continue to haunt Gunners: FIVE things we learned from the 4-1 win over Watford

  • Arsenal beat Watford 4-1 in their behind closed doors friendly on Wednesday
  • Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and Miguel Azeez all scored
  • Watford had briefly equalised after a defensive mistake from Mohamed Elneny
  • But the Gunners turned on the style in the second half at London Colney 

Arsenal stepped up their preparations for the new Premier League season with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Watford on Wednesday afternoon.

Just days after beating Millwall by the same scoreline, Arsenal were at it again during their behind closed doors friendly at London Colney thanks to goals from Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and Miguel Azeez.

With the new season fast approaching, the Gunners now complete their pre-season schedule with friendlies against London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in ‘The Mind Series’. 

But before focusing on those upcoming matches, Sportsmail has taken you through five things that we learned from Arsenal’s commanding 4-1 win against Watford.

Mikel Arteta saw his Arsenal side run out 4-1 winners over Watford at London Colney


While Arteta will have been pleased with the 4-1 victory and his players getting some vital minutes under their belts, perhaps the thing that will have delighted Mikel Arteta the most was the performance of new boy Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Lokonga recently joined Arsenal in an £18million deal from Anderlecht, and there are high hopes on his shoulders – with many seeing him as a star of the future.

But during his time at Anderlecht, the young Belgian midfielder showed maturity beyond his age and some are tipping him to even make an impact this season.

And against Watford, in his first start for the club, Lokonga produced a commanding display in the middle of the pitch, with his Watford counterparts struggling to deal with his presence.

The 21-year-old midfielder constantly showed for the ball and always looked to go forward – adding some directness to Arsenal’s attacking play, just like his team-mate Thomas Partey. 

Greater challenges lie ahead against both Chelsea and Tottenham, but if he shines against Arsenal’s London rivals, he could earn Arteta’s trust when the new Premier League season commences.

New signing Albert Sambi Lokonga stood out for Arsenal as they thrashed Watford


First it was Bukayo Saka, then it was Emile Smith Rowe. Could Miguel Azeez be the next to break through into the first team?

There are big expectations for 18-year-old Azeez at London Colney, and Arsenal supporters saw glimpses of him last season in the Europa League group stages.

Azeez has been tipped for big things and the buzz grew even stronger on Wednesday after his impressive second-half cameo against Watford, who are gearing up for life back in the Premier League.

Azeez, who has bulked up during the off-season, looked assured on the ball and got his just reward late on in the pre-season friendly victory at Arsenal’s headquarters.

After Nicolas Pepe played a quick corner into the feet of Azeez, the young midfielder shifted the ball onto his weak foot before curling home superbly into the far corner of the Watford net – leaving the goalkeeper with absolutely no chance.

While it is very unlikely he will make an impact straight away, you can expect Azeez to get minutes in the cup matches next season for the Gunners. 

Miguel Azeez scored a superb curling effort with his weak foot on Wednesday afternoon


Eddie Nketiah burst onto the scene in style for Arsenal, scoring a superb brace to help Arsenal squeeze past Norwich in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in 2017.

Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out the way he would have liked in recent times, with his lack of composure in front of goal leading many fans to question his credentials in attack.

He saw his game-time limited last season under Arteta, and has been linked with a move away this summer, but if his performance on Wednesday was anything to go by, it showed that he is here to fight until the end.

Nketiah was one of the stars of the show for Arsenal against Watford, and he put his side ahead with a superb finish in the opening period.

After being played down the left by Willian, Nketiah raced onto the ball before cutting in onto his right foot. 

The English youngster then fired a low right-footed shot into the corner of the net. An emphatic finish – something he needs to produce more of in Arsenal colours.

Eddie Nketiah, who is fighting for his place, scored a brilliant goal to put the Gunners ahead


The Gunners were plagued by defensive errors last season, far too often gifting the opposition goals after trying to play out from the back, which contributed to their lowly eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

And frustratingly for Arsenal supporters, this hasn’t changed during pre-season either following errors against Hibs and Rangers.

And that recurring theme continued against Watford, with Mohamed Elneny the culprit this time.

Bernd Leno played a short ball into Elneny in his own penalty area, only for the Egyptian midfielder to turn straight into the trouble – before he was robbed which subsequently led to Watford’s equaliser through Philip Zinckernagel.

These continuous errors are hugely worrying signs for Arsenal fans, and Arteta will be desperate for his side to cut out these mistakes with just weeks to go until the new campaign kicks off. 

Mohamed Elneny made a glaring defensive error that led to Watford’s equaliser on Wednesday


While there were plenty of positives for Arteta to take away against Watford, one thing that will be of slight concern is the club’s struggles to get rid of some of the deadwood or youngsters who are in need of regular game time – whether that be on loan or a permanent deal.

There were several players on display at London Colney whose futures appear bleak in north London – including the likes of Willian, Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin, who is seeking a new challenge after 10 years with the club.

Furthermore, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Nketiah – as already mentioned – were also given game time, even though there are question marks over their futures. 

After the imminent arrival of Ben White is confirmed, Arteta and technical director Edu will focus their attentions elsewhere in the market – most notably for a No 10, a new goalkeeper and a right back.

But if Arsenal want to fulfil their summer ambitions, they will need to stump up the cash first – and the only way to do that is by raising funds through player sales. The clock is ticking…

Willian was one of several players on display whose future appears bleak in north London

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