Date: 2nd February 2017 at 12:09pm
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If Arsenal had managed to beat Watford we could have closed to within six points of Chelsea – ahead of the meeting at Stamford Bridge – after they drew with Liverpool.

However, a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium was a ‘huge setback’ for our title chances with Petr Cech admitting Arsenal needed to be at optimum level for the whole 90 minutes.

Commenting after the game the keeper was quoted by Sky Sports as saying.

‘This was a huge setback because this was the game we wanted to win. We wanted to put ourselves in a better position going into the weekend. I always say that at this level you cannot play 80 minutes, or 85. You have to play 90 minutes with full concentration and everybody on top of their game.’

Having conceded twice inside of the 13 minutes – when Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney scored – in a disastrous first half Alex Iwobi’s goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation in the end.

This defeat means the Gunners go into the meeting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge nine points adrift of the leaders.

Cech didn’t deny the first half performance wasn’t anywhere near good enough with the brilliant second half too little too late.

‘We were second best in the first half. We made so many bad passes, we lost every challenge, we were simply second best, as I said. In the second half we improved, we had a lot of chances. I thought we were brilliant second half, but obviously we only scored one goal.’

He finished.

‘We had a very bad start. Obviously it gave a lot of hope and motivation to Watford’s side because this was something that lifted them up. But then I think we didn’t play well at all. It was too much for us to take in the first half and it’s very hard to say why because we were prepared.’

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