ARSENAL SKIPPER Granit Xhaka has claimed that the Gunners "were too scared" of Watford in the second-half as they threw away a 2-0 lead at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double had seen Unai Emery's side return to the dressing room at the interval with a comfortable 2-0 advantage.
1 Granit Xhaka and Sokratis’ protests against Watford’s penalty fell upon deaf earsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
But some calamitous defending in the second-half allowed the Hornets back into the game.
A dreadful short goal-kick routine allowed Watford to rob Matteo Guendouzi on the edge of the penalty area and grab a lifeline through Tom Cleverley's strike.
And the equaliser eventually came when the clumsy David Luiz tripped Roberto Pereyra – with the Argentine dusting himself down to equalise from the spot.
In the end it was Watford who spurned the best chances to win it – and Xhaka was not happy with the way his side collapsed.
PAID THE PRICE
He told Sky Sports: "We paid for the second-half today. We played very well in the first-half, go into the dressing room and everything is good and everyone is happy.
"And after we came out and played such a bad second half. In the end you pay for this one and have to say that we are happy to take the point.
"Everything was wrong. From the first second until the last we didn't play our game anymore, we were scared.
"We knew they would push us more but in this position we have to show more character, we have to play, we have to not be scared.
"We were too scared in the second half. They pushed us more, we spoke about it in the dressing room at half-time, but you can't give a performance like this.
Watford's first goal came from a butchered goal-kick routine when Sokratis sold Guendouzi short with a terrible pass – and the Gunners captain had his say on the matter.
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"Goal kicks: We work for this, mistakes are here, but it's not an excuse. Next time we have to do it better. We have to analyse the mistakes, the kick-off, and after we will see and look forward.
"We try, we work on it in training and it works good but today it didn't work once. It was not only this situation we lost the game. We lost the game all second-half."
Arsenal next face a tricky trip to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night – before a home match against Aston Villa in the Premier League next weekend.