- Roberto Pereyra salvaged a point for Watford on Quique Sanchez Flores’s first game back at Vicarage Road
- Tom Cleverley made it a nervy second half for the Gunners as Arsenal were caught playing out the back
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spun in the penalty area and unleashed a vicious shot past Ben Foster for 0-1
- Aubmaeyang then made it 0-2 after brilliant build-up play from the Gunners which started with Mesut Ozil
Quique Sanchez Flores saw his Watford side come from two goals down to earn a draw against Arsenal on his Vicarage Road homecoming.
The Spaniard was reappointed last week following the sacking of compatriot Javi Gracia and guided the Hornets to just their second point of the season as they pegged back Arsenal to draw 2-2.
A first-half brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have the Gunners on course for the win but defensive errors once again cost Unai Emery’s side.
Roberto Pereyra salvaged a point for Watford on Quique Sanchez Flores’s first game back at Vicarage Road
The Watford attacking midfielder won the penalty after being tripped up by David Luiz with less than 10 minutes to play
Pererya slotted the ball into the bottom corner to earn the Hornets a valuable point against the Gunners on Sunday evening
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas, Doucoure, Capoue, Hughes, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Gray.
Subs: Gomes, Janmaat, Mariappa, Chalobah, Sarr, Foulquier, Pereyra.
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Papastathopoulos, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang.
Subs: Torreira, Chambers, Nelson, Martinez, Willock, Martinelli, Saka.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
Firstly, Sokratis Papastathopoulos saw a pass intercepted to allow Tom Cleverley to strike before David Luiz clumsily conceded a penalty which substitute Roberto Pereyra coolly converted.
Having been coasting at the interval, Arsenal saw two points slip away and since the start of last season they have made 15 errors leading to goals for the opposition – more than any other top-flight side in that time.
For Flores – who left Hertfordshire at the end of the 2015/16 season after guiding Watford to a 13th-placed finish and an FA Cup semi-final – there was plenty to take from the first game of his second stint at the helm.
Bernd Leno was the busier goalkeeper in the opening exchanges, saving easily from Gerard Deulofeu before tipping a Cleverley drive over his crossbar.
Arsenal were struggling to get going as an attacking threat without the injured Alexandre Lacazette to lead the line, with club-record signing Nicolas Pepe’s shot wide of the post the closest the visitors came in the opening 20 minutes.
But that changed when Aubameyang, last season’s joint top Premier League goalscorer, got his first sniff of a chance.
Dani Ceballos won the ball off Will Hughes and fed Sead Kolasinac, who passed in for Aubameyang to turn and shoot low past Ben Foster to put Emery’s side in front.
The Gabon striker almost had a second soon after but could not turn Ozil’s deflected cross home as Foster bundled the ball behind for a corner.
It would not take long for him to double up, however, as he was on hand to finish off a sweeping move as Ozil’s clever pass was crossed into Aubameyang’s path by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Arsenal nearly presented Watford a route back into the game as Matteo Guendouzi was caught in possession on the edge of his own box, with Deulofeu firing at Leno and Andre Gray sending the rebound wide.
The Hornets would not let the next gift go unpunished, Arsenal looking to play out from the back only for Sokratis to see his pass intercepted by Deulofeu and the ball falling for Cleverley to convert under Leno.
The goal reinvigorated the Watford players, with summer signing Ismaila Sarr coming off the bench and scuffing a chance wide as the hosts chased an equaliser.
Fellow substitute Pereyra’s cute flick also span wide of Leno’s goal, while Arsenal’s replacement Reiss Nelson drew a low save out of Foster as the visitors looked to re-establish their two-goal cushion.
Instead, it was Watford who were able to level with just nine minutes remaining as Luiz tripped Pereyra inside the box – with the Argentinian sending Leno the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
Deulofeu then curled a shot inches wide as Watford pushed for a shock win, Luiz doing well to get a head to a Cleverley strike with the hosts controlling the closing stages.
Abdoulaye Doucoure almost won it at the death, running at the Arsenal defence before latching onto Sarr’s cross only to shoot straight at Leno.
In the end Flores had to settle for a 2-2 draw, the same result he had here in the final game of his first spell in charge, 1218 days ago.
Tom Cleverley made it a nervy second half for the Gunners as Arsenal were caught playing out in their own penalty area
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno passed it to Sokratis who played the ball straight to Cleverley to rifle the ball into the back of the net
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on the end of it to tap it in but it was a superb ball from Mesut Ozil to play in his full-back
Ainsley Maitland-Niles had the task of squaring it to Aubameyang who was left all alone on the Watford penalty spot
Watford trot back to the halfway line as they know they face their fourth defeat in five games of the new campaign
Aubameyang spun in the penalty area and unleashed a vicious shot past the helpless Ben Foster early on in the match
The Arsenal striker (right) celebrated with Sead Kolasinac who set up Aubameyang for Arsenal’s first goal of the match
The Gabon international puts one fist in the air after putting the Gunners in front at Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon
Players from both sides wrestle in the penalty area as Arsenal try to defend a corner with Bernd Leno ready to make a save
Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi tries to recover the ball as Will Hughes looks to find an opening for the home side
Former Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue looks to find a way through the Arsenal midfield with Granit Xhaka in his way
Defender Kolasinac goes down holding his ankle and referee Anthony Taylor comes over to check on the full-back
Matteo Guendouzi (right) tried to keep hold of the ball whilst being hassled and hurried by Watford man Tom Cleverley
Arsenal left-back Kolasinac tries to cross the ball under pressure from Watford midfielder Will Hughes in the first half
Gunners midfielder Dani Ceballos (front), on loan from Real Madrid, tries to keep control of possession for his side.