Our seventh straight win was far from plain sailing, as Watford pushed us to the limit in our 2-0 victory at The Emirates.
The Hornets poured forward on plenty of occasions, and showed their high-flying position in the league is far from an accident.
Watford’s double act up top of Andre Gray and Troy Deeney were giving our defence all sorts of problems, and the omission of Sokratis - who failed to recover from his dead leg suffered last week - meant that the promising but inexperienced Rob Holding would have to have his wits about him. The first ten minutes were cagey, but we should have had a penalty, as Kabasele checked into Lacazette. The Frenchman gamely battled to stay up, and ultimately shot wide while off balance. If he had gone down? Stonewall penalty.
Deeney soon got in on the act, his knockdown found Will Hughes, but his effort was just wide. An effective warning, but we seemed unable to stem the tide. Their attack was intent on coming forward and causing us problems, and our midfield couldn’t build a dam quick enough.
Doucoure was next to go close, Lacazette then came within inches of reaching Monreal’s header in the box. End to end, blow for blow. How was there no goals yet?
Granit Xhaka blasted a shot toward goal, Ben Foster was its equal though. We were giving as good as we got, but the deadlock remained.
Petr Cech pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury in the first half, and it gave summer signing Bernd Leno his Premier League debut.
He would be busy.
The first half ended with the score goalless, and it was a wonder how really. Some profligate finishing, Lacazette had probably the best chance of the half of either side, but both goalkeepers had yet to pick the ball out of the net.
The second half began with us on the front foot, but the first chance fell to Watford - and Leno pulled off a fantastic save to keep the score goalless. Troy Deeney thumped a volley toward the top corner, and the German touched it wide on the stretch. The game took a breath as both teams huffed and puffed in midfield - and it fell to the managers to make changes to disrupt the game that was headed for a goalless draw.
Aaron Ramsey trudged off to be replaced by Alex Iwobi. Javi Gracia shuffled the dice too, bringing on Isaac Success.
Just before Gracia replaced Gray for Success though, Leno was called into action again, and he stood up well to deny the striker.
Pereyra had been relatively quiet, but he rose to the surface during the next few minutes - Watford’s best spell of the game. He went past Torreira like he was an apparition, and his chipped effort fell just wide of the back post. Watford were getting closer.
Success was denied by a last-ditch Holding tackle, Cathcart was denied by Leno, Then, they went as close as they can come without scoring.
Success went past Holding and took his shot. Leno couldn’t stop it, but thankfully, it fell inches wide.
The Hornets had given as much as they could give, but somehow, we had remained unscathed. They had no more to give, well, not as good as they had already given.
Welbeck came on for Aubameyang, who had been subdued, and then Deeney showed the other side to his game as he caught torreira late - while already on a booking. Anthony Taylor was not to be swayed, but The Emirates crowd let him know of his error.
Karma was then doled out to Deeney, and it was in no small part down to Iwobi. the substitute broke down the left and his cross to the front post was going to be met by Cathcart or Lacazette, both were racing to meet the ball for very different reasons.
Cathcart’s toe got there first, and he diverted the ball past Foster to give us the lead.
Two minutes later, as Watford were swaying, we put them on the canvas.
Iwobi was involved in a one-two with Lacazette, and the Frenchman squared the ball to a perfectly timed Ozil, who finished first time to end the game as a contest.
There was nothing left for Watford and we saw out the game comfortably. We grabbed yet another win, this one under some real pressure. It showed we can be resolute when we need to be too.
We are now fifth, just goal difference separating us from our neighbours without a home. Let’s keep the momentum going.