Arsenal fall to EMBARRASSING 4-2 defeat against Championship side Watford in behind-closed-doors friendly… as Mikel Arteta prepares to jet off to Dubai for Gunners’ warm-weather training this month
- Arsenal lost 4-2 to Championship side Watford in a behind-closed-doors friendly
- Mikel Arteta named a strong starting line-up before making wholesale changes
- The Gunners boss brought on a number of young prospects for second-half
- It was the first of four friendlies the side will partake in during the World Cup
Mikel Arteta watched on as Arsenal were beaten 4-2 by Championship side Watford in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners have scheduled four games throughout the World Cup break with Arteta keen to keep his first-team players fit and available ahead of the Premier League’s restart.
And in their first test, Arteta’s side were embarrassed by their training ground neighbours despite a number of first choice players featuring in the match.
Mikel Arteta watched on as his Arsenal side were beaten 4-2 by Watford in a friendly
Brazilian youngster Marquinhos scored in the first-half before Watford overturned the deficit
The Gunners fielded a strong starting line-up for the first-half which featured the likes of Martin Odegaard, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel.
Arsenal took a 2-1 lead into half-time after Nketiah and Brazilian youngster Marquinhos scored against Slaven Bilic’s side.
Arteta then chose to make wholesale changes and replaced 10 of his starting players with some of the Gunners’ youth prospects.
The groups inexperience proved costly as Watford’s Keinan Davis, Yaser Asprilla and Joao Pedro all got on the scoresheet in the second period to wrap up a win.
It was Arsenal’s first outing since their 2-0 win over Wolves in November, in their final Premier League match before the World Cup break.
First-team players Gabriel (L) and Cedric Soares both featured in defence for the Gunners
Watford striker Joao Pedro was one of the goalscorers for the Championship side
The Gunners are currently without a number of their star players such as William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale who are all representing their respective nations.
Defender Ben White left England’s camp in Doha over personal reasons and is not expected to link-up with the squad for their upcoming friendlies.
Striker Gabriel Jesus – who had been with the Brazilian national team – also left Qatar after sustaining a knee injury that may keep him out until the New Year.
The Gunners will now jet off to Dubai for the Dubai Super Cup where they will face Lyon and AC Milan before returning for a final friendly against Juventus at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus (middle) will miss the rest of the World Cup with a knee injury