By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Thierry Henry (pictured), with a brace, and Ray Parlour were the men on target and they secured all three points for a lacklustre Arsenal side.
Despite the score-line, the win was far from convincing as The Hornets showed tremendous spirit to match Arsene Wenger’s men in every department of the pitch.
Graham Taylor’s side dominated the early exchanges and could have taken the lead in the 11th minute when Heidar Helguson’s low shot was well saved by England keeper David Seaman.
The Gunners, however, are on a tremendous run of form and they took the lead, somewhat against the run of play after 19 minutes, when Henry raced clear of the Watford back line before firing the ball under Alec Chamberlain.
The home side were unlucky not to grab an equaliser when Mica Hyde’s fine curling shot cannoned clear off the post.
Arsenal were far from fluent and their frustration was epitomised by Dennis Bergkamp who received a caution for a crude lunge at Paul Robinson.
However, the Highbury outfit found their feet in a two-minute period before half-time. Firstly, Parlour found himself in an advanced position and he calmly rounded Chamberlain before slotting home from an acute angle.
Secondly, in injury time, French flyer Henry picked the ball up in the deep and went on a mesmerising run, appearing to hypnotise the Watford defence in the process, before smashing the ball home.
Arsenal appeared to go to sleep after the break and they were punished when Helguson deflected the ball past a stranded Seaman.
The complacency in The Gunners` line-up reared its head again on the hour when Mica Hyde picked the ball up 30-yards out and rifled a shot past the despairing Seaman.
Arsenal were jolted by the spirited Watford fight-back and found their feet late in the game and Henry was only denied a hat-trick by the width of the crossbar.
This defeat sees Watford hang onto their Premiership status by mathematics alone, while Arsenal move two points clear of Leeds in the race for the third Champions League spot after the Elland Road outfit were held to a two-all draw at Newcastle.
The game, however, ended on a sour note as following a clash between Patrick Vieira and Heidar Helguson, that saw the Frenchman receive a caution, the Icelandic star confronted his aggressor and the two had to be pulled apart by team-mates.