Former Liverpool man says the Gunners striker’s goal was better than Mo Salah’s long-range stunner against Chelsea
Dean Saunders believes Troy Deeney deserved to be sent off during Watford’s narrow, and some would say unjust, defeat to Arsenal on Monday night.
The talkSPORT pundit also believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner should be Goal of the Season, and is better than Liverpool star Mohamed Salah’s wonderstrike against Chelsea.
Arsenal scraped a 1-0 win over the ten-man Hornets thanks to Aubameyang’s fortuitous goal – the ball ending up in the net after he blocked a clearance from Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Watford endured a nightmare start, going a goal and a man down with just 11 minutes on the clock as their captain, Deeney, was shown a straight red card for an apparent elbow on Lucas Torreira.
The hosts recovered and were the better team for the remaining of the clash but the Gunners managed to hold on by the skin of their teeth, with goalkeeper Berd Leno making a series of crucial saves.
Deeney’s sending off sparked a huge debate on social media. Referee Craig Pawson didn’t actually see the incident, he was notified of the contact between the Watford skipper and Torreira by his linesman.
Replays showed very little indication of intent, but Pawson had obviously heard enough to make up his mind.
The striker clearly disagreed with the decision, exchanging angry words with Unai Emery as he left the pitch, and many, including Watford boss Javi Gracia, were left scratching their heads at the call.
But Saunders insists it was the right decision and believes officials may have been on the lookout for trouble from the Watford captain, after his comments about Arsenal’s apparent ‘lack of cojones’ 18 months ago.
“I think it was a red card,” Saunders said on Tuesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“I was trying to look at reasons not to give him a red card… but he meant to leave a bit on him, leave an elbow on him.
“I think the referee would have seen what he said [about Arsenal] and thought if Troy Deeney starts putting himself about, we’re going to stamp it out early.”
The former Wales striker also hailed Aubameyang for his match-winning goal, and dubbed it his Goal of the Season.
Liverpool ace Mo Salah sent jaws dropping on Sunday for his brilliant long-range ‘thunderbolt’ against Chelsea, which some hailed as one of best they had seen so far this term.
But Saunders says the Arsenal star’s goal against Watford was better, for his sheer effort and determination.
“Aubameyang’s goal – and this is going to sound stupid – but that’s Goal of the Season, for me,” he added.
“You look at Salah’s goal and you think, ‘how can that be better?’ But Aubameyang has chased a lost cause, he’s closed down Ben Foster and turned it into a goal.
“Personally, being a striker and coaching strikers, I enjoyed that goal more than Salah’s. He didn’t have to do it, it’s effort and determination.
“He’s made a goal out of absolutely nothing and won Arsenal the game.”