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Unai Emery says he was the man responsible for Arsenal’s second-half collapse at Watford

Unai Emery

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has accepted responsibility for his team's second-half collapse against Watford last weekend.

Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners a 2-0 lead at the midway point of their recent trip to Vicarage Road.

Watford (opens in new tab), who are still without a win in the Premier League this season following Saturday's 8-0 thrashing by Manchester City (opens in new tab), fought back after the break to secure a 2-2 draw.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ mistake allowed Tom Cleverley to halve the deficit, before Roberto Pereyra scored from the penalty spot after a foul by David Luiz.

The Hornets were vastly superior throughout the second period, and ended the game having taken 31 shots - the most Arsenal have conceded in a top-flight match since Opta began collecting such data in 2003/04. 

That tally also meant that, going into this weekend, the Gunners had faced more shots (96) (opens in new tab) than any other team in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga this term.

And Emery has admitted that he was the man to blame for Arsenal (opens in new tab)’s failure to pick up all three points in Hertfordshire last time out.

“One mistake is not his mistake,” he said when asked if Sokratis was left out of the squad that beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday because of his error last weekend.

“It is the mistake of all the team, and I am responsible because I decided to start like that.

“In the first 45 minutes they didn’t push a lot or do a really big press against us. We controlled the match with the ball, the possession, the build-up, easier in the first half. The second half changed because they needed to push more, to attack more, to go against us.”

Arsenal will attempt to return to winning ways in the Premier League when Aston Villa (opens in new tab) travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).