Hands up if you saw last night coming. Nope, us neither. Watford have gone from bad to good, and good to bad, with relative ease this season - but nothing like that.

To a man, Watford fought, harried, tackled, fouled, ran, and certainly suffered together - the latter in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, when the expected Arsenal resurgence began.

But their first-half performance, as poor as the Gunners were, was exceptional. At times the Hornets' midfield has crumpled like a paper cup under the sign of pressure, but the central three took everything thrown at them, and the defence were for the most part equally immense.

Troy Deeney can be forgiven for tiring after the hour mark following a performance where he just did not stop fighting for every ball.

It was a special night in North London, a shade different from one south of the river 48 hours prior, and gives Walter Mazzarri a lot more breathing space than he would have envisaged come Saturday's game with Burnley.

Here's how we rated the mighty Hornets at the Emirates Stadium:

Heurelho Gomes - 8
Pulled off some fine saves in the second half and no shaky moments from the Brazilian. Some fine time wasting - sorry, gamesmanship - and could do little about the Arsenal goal when stranded at the near post.

Craig Cathcart - 7
Still a decent performance from the Northern Ireland man, but could not deal with Alex Iwobi's running after the break for the first 20 minutes. Dealt with Alexis Sanchez very well before half-time. A solid berth given he's not the most natural right-back.

Younes Kaboul - 9
Superb from the former Spurs captain, who maybe put that extra one per cent in because of his past - who knows? Never mind the deflection, his goal was a fine strike and Olivier Giroud was anonymous thanks to him and Seb Prodl. Could've been run ragged with Arsenal's incisive passing after half-time but stood firm.

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Seb Prodl - 9
A back-to-his-best showing from the Austrian, who was a man mountain and could have even had a goal for himself. Similarly to Kaboul, headed and kicked everything he could and contributed to a fine defensive unit.

Miguel Britos - 8
His best performance of the season, saw most of Arsenal's attacks come down the right before the break but never let them get a free run beyond him. Done too easily for the goal but otherwise sound.

Daryl Janmaat - 8
Ran his heart out and offered good cover to Cathcart on the right. Always willing to run with the ball and harried the Arsenal defenders throughout.

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Etienne Capoue - 9
The best we've seen of him this season. Strong as an ox, pacey and willing to fight for every ball, Capoue just shades Watford's man of the match effort, although there's a few other good calls. Arsenal could not deal with his surging runs before half-time, and after the break he offered excellent defensive cover.

Valon Behrami - 8
Was he injured? Was he tired? If not, it still seems a little odd to have brought him off last night, as the Swiss international was on fine form in getting in the Arsenal midfield's faces and keeping them at bay. A typically energetic and committed performance from Berhami.

Tom Cleverley - 8
A few very smart looking balls over the top for Troy Deeney, and a bit of a mixed bag of set pieces, but also the sort of tough-tackling showing Cleverley has developed since he was last at Vicarage Road. Played a real part and fought for everything.

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M'Baye Niang - 7
Looks tidy and was a real thorn in Gabriel's side in the opening minutes. When he knew he couldn't advance Watford's play a great deal, he'd at least make sure he kept the ball, which was often just as useful. Will improve but a strong debut.

Troy Deeney - 9
Deserved his goal, his running was immense and he did not stop chasing down lost causes. Looked a yard quicker than he has in recent weeks and made himself less isolated as a lone striker with his sheer commitment.


Abdoulaye Doucoure - 7
Slotted in well to replace Behrami, and the Hornets' midfield was no more pourous with him in it - linked up well with Isaac Success a few times too.

Isaac Success - 8
The right substitute at the right time, Success did very well bringing the ball forward to relieve pressure on the Watford defence when they could do with a breather, and could've been through at one point but for an odd ricochet off a static Deeney.

Stefano Okaka - N/A