Watford relegated after early Gunners blitz
Watford will be playing in the Championship next season after losing 3-2 at Arsenal on the final day of the Premier League season. They fought back brilliantly after being 3-0 down, but the first 33 minutes of the contest cost them. Arsenal fielded a strong side despite having the FA Cup final against Chelsea next Saturday.
Aubameyang put the Gunners ahead with a VAR penalty in the fifth minute and then Kieran Tierney saw his deflected effort turned into the goal 19 minutes later. Aubameyang looked to have put the game to the bed when he made it 3-0 with an overhead kick, but Troy Deeney gave the Hornets a lifeline with a penalty just before half-time.
Danny Welbeck got a second for the visitors just before the midway point of the second half, but despite having plenty of chances, they fell two short. Welbeck came the closest to drawing Watford level when his amazing backheel was stopped by a splendid Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal and Watford were just left with too much to do.
The game started with Dani Ceballos firing over the bar inside the first minute, but the VAR spotted that Lacazette had been knocked over in the box by Dawson and the Gunners were awarded a penalty. Aubameyang sent Ben Foster the wrong way and it was the worst possible start for Hayden Mullin's side. Watford nearly scored after 13 minutes, but Doucoure's strike was blocked by Ceballos and then Pereyra was denied by a fine stop by Martinez.
Watford continued to target Arsenal's left, but it was Arsenal's left back who made it 2-0. Pepe's pass found Aubameyang who laid the ball off to Tierney and his shot was deflected off Dawson and into the goal. Then, Watford conceded again in spectacular fashion. A long throw by Tierney found Aubameyang who controlled with his back to goal and he scored an overhead kick.
Watford were not done though as three minutes before the interval, they got a spot kick. Welbeck was hit late by David Luiz and referee Mike Dean gave a penalty. Troy Deeney made no mistake and it was game on.
In the second half, Masina had an early effort for Watford while Maitland-Niles was denied by Foster at the other end. Then, in the 64th minute Deeney and Welbeck linked up well and Arsenal's keeper denied the latter from point blank range. They were rewarded shortly afterwards though when Mariapa's pass found Sarr on the near side and Welbeck was there in the middle to tap in. Aston Villa's draw at West Ham meant Watford needed to win and they certainly tried.
Pereyra hit a free-kick wide and then, 15 minutes from the end, it was somehow not 3-3. Sarr ran down the left before passing to Welbeck in the middle of the box and he backheeled from close range, but Martinez made a sensational stop to keep Arsenal ahead. It was a sign it was not Watford's day and the game became very open.
Aubameyang had an opportunity to complete his hat-trick after unselfish play by Nketiah and then Watford kept on pressing, but they were unable to really threaten again until injury time. Deeney headed over a Chalobah free-kick and then the Hornets had a double chance just seconds later after a dangerous cross in. Arsenal held on three points which were no good to them, but would have been vital for Watford who now face a season in the second tier.