The Premier League is over again for another season with fans having to wait until August 10 to get their fix of top-flight action.

Manchester City can reflect on becoming the first team to retain the title in a decade, having held off the strong challenge from Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's side recorded the third-highest points total in Premier League history but it was still not enough to dethrone City.

Omnisport takes a look at some of the best Opta numbers from another gripping season of Premier League football.

44 - Ilkay Gundogan's goal for City in November's Manchester derby completed a stunning 44-pass move - more than any goal in the Premier League this term.

96:52 - City also scored the latest goal in the 2018-19 Premier League. Gabriel Jesus' header deep into added time at Goodison Park earned a 2-0 win at Everton in February.

00:07 - At the other end of the scale, Southampton striker Shane Long broke the record for the fastest Premier League goal when he netted against Watford after seven seconds last month. It was one of five goals scored in the opening minute, with City's Sergio Aguero hitting two of them.

0 - Relegated Fulham were the only side to finish the season without claiming a single point from matches against the 'Big Six' of City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

22 - With 22 points from their 10 matches against fellow teams from the capital (seven wins, one draw), Chelsea won the all-London mini-league featuring the Blues, as well as Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Fulham, who failed to get any points in those games either.

31 - Eden Hazard scored 16 Premier League goals and provided 15 further assists, earning the Playmaker of the Year award and topping the table for goal involvements. He was involved in 49.2 per cent of league goals scored by Chelsea this term, indicating why they are so keen to keep him amid reported strong interest from Real Madrid.

9 - Not only did Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah share the Golden Boot, they each opened the scoring in nine Premier League matches, more than anyone else in the top flight during the 2018-19 campaign.

19 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also got a Golden Boot for his 22 Arsenal goals. They won a total of 19 points for Unai Emery's men, six more than any other Premier League player this term.

-0.44 - David de Gea's poor form is mirrored in the Opta numbers, which show his goals prevented figure at just -0.44, only the 18th best in the league. By contrast, West Ham's Lukasz Fabianski topped the table on 12.69 goals prevented despite actually letting in 54, excluding own goals.

86 - Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue intercepted the ball more times than any other player this season. Cardiff City defenders Sol Bamba and Bruno Ecuele Manga both managed 81 interceptions despite the Bluebirds suffering relegation from the Premier League.

3,119 - Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chelsea's Jorginho played more passes than anyone else in the Premier League, with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk the only other man to reach 3,000. Jorginho's accuracy was also a commendable 89.23 per cent in his first season in English football.

12 - Manchester United were awarded more penalties than any other Premier League side, but only converted nine of them. Palace scored from 10 of the 11 spot-kicks they were awarded in 2018-19.

29 - Ralph Hasenhuttl steered Southampton to safety, but there is one obvious area of improvement for next season. The Saints lost a potential 29 points from winning positions, while Leicester City only let three points slip. Liverpool's 16 points won from losing positions was the league's highest.

141 - Liverpool were top of the league for 141 days of the Premier League season, compared to City's 125, but Pep Guardiola's side were at the summit when it counted. Chelsea led the league for nine days and United were top of the table for one.

15.63 - The best shot conversion record in the Premier League belonged to Arsenal, who scored with 15.63 per cent of their efforts. Bournemouth and Burnley were also in the top five, behind Liverpool and City.

71 - The 2018-19 campaign saw only 71 draws, the lowest in any season in the history of the competition, while 34 per cent of matches ended in an away win, which also set a Premier League record.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is proud to have shared the Premier League Golden Boot with two fellow African players in Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

The trio all finished the league season on 22 goals, with Gabon international Aubameyang and Mane drawing level with Salah by scoring two each in respective wins against Burnley and Wolves on Sunday.

This meant the award was shared between three players for the first time since 1998-99 when Michael Owen, Dwight Yorke and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hit 18 goals each.

"The Golden Boot means a lot. I am really happy and proud of it," he said. "I am sharing this trophy with Mane and Salah. I like these two guys.

"We are representing Africa, so it is a good sign for the continent. I am really proud, and I have to thank my team-mates for helping me to get it."

The former Borussia Dortmund striker has hit 31 goals in all competitions this season as Unai Emery's side fell short of their top-four target, although they reached the Europa League final, where they will take on Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will clash with Tottenham for the Champions League on June 1, marking the first time both of Europe's top finals will be contested by four teams from the same nation.

"Now you can say the Premier League is the best in the world because four clubs are in the finals and as we saw this season, Liverpool and Manchester City played [to] the last game for the title. So, that's why I came here, for that," said Aubameyang.

"It took a little bit of time [to adapt]. I had six months to adjust to this league. I think I did well in the first six months and now I have done it for the whole season. Hopefully I will do better [in the] next seasons."

Arsenal's final game of 2018-19 will be on May 29 when they face Chelsea in Baku.

"We will have two days off and for the first week we will not be thinking about the final," said Aubameyang.

"We will go to Baku three or four days before the final, on the Saturday I think, and prepare for the match over the final three training sessions."

Manchester City pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title on a day that broke the competition's record for the most goals scored in a 20-team season.

Liverpool's 97-point tally was a club record but not enough to earn the Reds their first title of the Premier League era, with City retaining their crown.

The Reds' haul would have been enough to win the Premier League in all but one of the previous 26 seasons, but the Reds at least can look forward to a Champions League final against Tottenham.

It was the eighth time the Premier League title has been decided on the final day of the season - Omnisport picks out some of the best Opta numbers from Sunday's action.

1,072 - A new record for goals in a 20-team Premier League season was passed on the final day, partly thanks to Crystal Palace's 5-3 victory at home to Bournemouth.

3 - For the first time since the 1998-99 season, the Golden Boot was shared between three players: last season's winner Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane and Arsenal attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. They all hit 22 Premier League goals.

31 - A brace at Burnley on the final day meant Aubameyang reached 30 goals in all competitions for the season, only the second Premier League player to do so this term after City striker Sergio Aguero, who scored 21 league goals. 

100 - Roy Hodgson celebrated his 100th Premier League win as Palace beat Bournemouth in an eight-goal thriller. The former England boss - aged 71 years and 276 days - is the oldest manager to reach that milestone.

12 - Trent Alexander-Arnold provided 12 assists for Liverpool in the Premier League this season. That tally for the Reds right-back is the most by a defender in a single campaign in the history of the competition.

30 - Liverpool won 30 Premier League games this season, but it was still not enough to secure the title. No side has ever previously lost only one game in a top-flight season and not won the Premier League.

18 - A final-day double against Wolves at Anfield took Mane to 18 home goals in the Premier League this season, the most by any player, as well as eight more than Huddersfield Town scored in total in their home games this season.

2 - Defeat at home to Cardiff City meant Manchester United only kept two home clean sheets in the Premier League this season. This is their fewest at Old Trafford in a top-flight campaign since 1962-63 (also two).

Mohamed Salah has shared the Premier League's Golden Boot award with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Salah went into the final day of the season two clear of the chasing pack but he failed to find the net as Manchester City retained the title ahead of the Reds.

The Egypt star could not match his incredible return of 32 Premier League goals from last term, but 22 was enough to share the award with two fellow Africans.

Aubameyang hit a double in Arsenal's 3-1 win at Burnley while Mane scored both Liverpool goals in their 2-0 home win against Wolves on Sunday.

Salah follows players including Harry Kane, Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer in winning the award in successive seasons.

City's record goalscorer Sergio Aguero ended the season on 21 goals after scoring his side's equaliser at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Two-time Golden Boot winner Kane again had a season heavily disrupted by injury, with the Tottenham striker bidding to recover from an ankle problem in time for the Champions League final against Liverpool on June 1.

Ederson and Alisson were level on 20 clean sheets apiece going into the final day but Liverpool shut out Wolves while City conceded at Brighton, meaning the Reds goalkeeper won his first Golden Glove.

 

Golden Boot final standings: 

Mohamed Salah 22, Sadio Mane 22, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 22, Sergio Aguero 21, Jamie Vardy 18, Harry Kane 17, Raheem Sterling 17, Eden Hazard 16.

 

Golden Glove final standings: 

Alisson 21, Ederson 20, Kepa Arrizabalaga 14, Jordan Pickford 14, Hugo Lloris 12.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his fine scoring record against Burnley as Arsenal concluded their Premier League season with a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Gabon striker had netted braces in each of his previous two appearances against the Clarets and he repeated that feat to finish the campaign with 22 league goals, level with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the race for the Golden Boot.

In-form Aubameyang, who netted a hat-trick in the Europa League semi-final second leg against Valencia on Thursday, capitalised on Jack Cork's misplaced pass to race away and slot home his first before a thumping back-post volley put the Gunners in control shortly after the hour.

Ashley Barnes' header swiftly pulled one back for the hosts but there was to be no equaliser as Eddie Nketiah got his first Premier League goal in stoppage time to ensure Unai Emery's side ended 2018-19 in fifth, one point adrift of the Champions League places.

Arsenal can still qualify for that competition with victory in the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku later this month – a trophy Emery has already lifted three times.

Aubameyang appeared to have the Golden Boot on his mind early on as he diverted Henrikh Mkhitaryan's free-kick against the post and stung the palms of Tom Heaton inside seven minutes.

Barnes was denied by Bernd Leno in a lively opening that threatened to boil over when the pair clashed, resulting in a caution for the Burnley man, whose strike partner Chris Wood thumped an effort against the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

Shkodran Mustafi's superb block thwarted Matt Lowton before Joe Willock fired narrowly wide late in the half but Arsenal were ahead seven minutes after the interval as Cork's ball evaded Ben Mee and allowed Aubameyang to beat Heaton.

He hammered home Alex Iwobi's chipped ball to double his tally but within two minutes Johann Gudmundsson dug out a similar cross for Barnes to glance in.

Aubameyang somehow stabbed Mkhitaryan's low delivery wide from six yards and later fired over – misses that cost him the Golden Boot outright - before Nketiah's deflected effort from a tight angle squirmed through Heaton's legs and in.

 

Unai Emery saluted his squad's "perfect mentality" after Arsenal defied their poor domestic form to win 4-2 at Valencia and advance to the Europa League final.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick and a second-half goal from Alexandre Lacazette inspired the Gunners to a memorable triumph at Mestalla and convincing 7-3 aggregate success.

Arsenal can now pin their Champions League qualification hopes on beating London rivals Chelsea, who edged Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties, in Baku on May 29.

Reaching the top tournament via the Europa League has become the club's likely last resort after a run of one win and four defeats in six top-flight matches left them three points adrift of the Premier League's top four with one game to play.

"We had confidence," Emery told reporters in Thursday's post-match news conference.

"We had two possibilities – the Premier League we lost, now we are in the Europa League.

"After the Premier League was lost, we took a strong stance in our mind to prepare, to focus, to work hard to take this feeling.

"We can be proud of the players, of the work, of our supporters.

"It's not finished. We have one step more to play in the final. We are happy but we know it will be difficult to win."

Aubameyang and Lacazette have now combined for an impressive 48 goals in all competitions this season.

Emery commended the pair on complementing their prolific goal-getting with defensive diligence.

"I am proud of them," the three-time Europa League winner said. "Big players can be good strikers but when their commitment is like today, defensively also, to work to help us, it is amazing.

"Before the match, we spoke [as a team] at the hotel. We talked about our moment, our experience, our being together, to make the best performance. They did that."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick sent Arsenal to the Europa League final and the striker was relieved his team avoided their European errors of the past.

Arsenal reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last term only to be edged out by Atletico Madrid, but they have gone one step further in 2019.

Aubameyang's treble secured a 4-2 victory away to Valencia, with Unai Emery's side knocking his old team out in emphatic fashion thanks to a 7-3 aggregate success.

Gabon international Aubameyang was key to Arsenal's triumph with four goals across the two legs and he hailed their performance.

"It means a lot, we've learned from last season and this year we didn't make the same mistakes, [and we are] into the final. So happy," Aubameyang said to BT Sport.

"When you win games like this you feel very, very good. I think now it's a final so it doesn't matter which team [Arsenal play], we have to give everything and win it."

Like his strike partner, Alexandre Lacazette struck in both legs to send Arsenal to Baku, the France forward also having netted in last year's semi-final.

Aubameyang added: "We enjoy it a lot, we talk a lot about our relationship already and it's a pleasure to play with him [Lacazette], with this team."

Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via the Premier League are slim, with Lacazette noting their poor recent form has cost them.

"We reacted well and we knew we had to score at least one goal today," Lacazette added to BT Sport.

"Thanks to Auba for the hat-trick, we needed a goal, so thank you.

"We want the Champions League, we play bad in the last month in [the] Premier League so we have to be better.

"We go to the final and have to go to win to go to the Champions League."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a superb hat-trick as Arsenal stormed into the Europa League final by winning 4-2 away to Valencia, progressing 7-3 on aggregate.

Kevin Gameiro's early opener cut the deficit for Valencia, beaten 3-1 last week, but Aubameyang swiftly hit back for the Gunners at Mestalla on Thursday.

And when Alexandre Lacazette, who scored twice in the first leg, put Arsenal ahead, their place in the Baku final later this month was seemingly secure, despite this week's European drama.

Gameiro struck again but Aubameyang killed the tie off with a second goal of his own and Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, a three-time winner of the competition with Sevilla, will now have a chance to add a fourth title after downing former club Valencia.

Valencia took the lead in the first leg and Marcelino's men did so again in the return, with Gameiro on target in the 11th minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles had a shot saved by Neto at the other end but Valencia broke rapidly, with Gameiro turning home Rodrigo Moreno's low left-wing cross.

Arsenal swiftly levelled the second leg, though, as Valencia failed to deal with a Petr Cech long ball and Lacazette flicked on for Aubameyang to brilliantly smash past Neto.

Dani Parejo bent a free-kick wide of Cech's left-hand post then Lacazette should have struck in the 39th minute, clipping the outside of the post after brilliant Aubameyang play.

Lacazette made amends, though, collecting Lucas Torreira's pass, turning neatly into space and rifling across Neto to make it 5-2 on aggregate to the Gunners.

Gameiro's second of the game, which saw the striker bundle past Cech after inadvertently blocking an effort from Daniel Wass, reduced the arrears but Aubameyang had the final say.

Maitland-Niles brilliantly skipped clear on the right wing and Aubameyang got ahead of his man to turn home a near-post finish, before his 29th goal of the season in all competitions secured the match ball, with Valencia tempers spilling over at the full-time whistle.


What does it mean? Champions League dreams alive for Gunners

It would need an extraordinary turn of events for Arsenal to pip north London rivals Tottenham to the last Champions League qualification place by finishing in the Premier League's top four. However, Emery now has a great opportunity to lead Arsenal back to Europe's elite as the winners of the Europa League will be granted a qualification spot in next season's Champions League.

Alert Aubameyang saves Arsenal twice

Before Aubameyang struck his first goal, Arsenal were enduring their most nervous moments of the tie. But the Gabon international is made for the big occasion and he quietened the usually raucous Mestalla crowd before later silencing them completely. Aubameyang, who also scored Arsenal's late third in the opening leg, stamped his name all over the tie.

Ozil a passenger on Europa League journey

This was the sort of occasion Mesut Ozil ought to decorate with his undoubted ability, but the former Germany international showed nothing of his precious playmaking gifts. Given a rough ride by home fans, shushing them as he was substituted early was his only notable contribution.

What's next?

Arsenal wrap up their Premier League campaign away to Burnley on Sunday, needing a win, as well as a Tottenham defeat at home to Everton and a large goal difference swing to qualify for the Champions League. Valencia, also fighting for a top-four berth in LaLiga, host Deportivo Alaves on the same day.

Arsenal were held 1-1 at home by Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, the result severely denting their top-four hopes and confirming Chelsea's Champions League return.

The Blues moved up to third place in the table with a home win against Watford and their fellow Europa League semi-finalists were unable to respond at Emirates Stadium later on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Unai Emery's men an early lead from the penalty spot, but Brighton - whose survival was rubbed-stamped by Cardiff City's relegation on Saturday - battled back to claim a deserved draw.

Glenn Murray converted another penalty and the battle for the last Champions League place will now be fought by Tottenham and Arsenal on the final day of the season, though fourth-placed Spurs have a three-point cushion and a huge advantage over their north London rivals on goal difference.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's 20-yard drive hit the foot of the post as Arsenal started well, with the Gunners taking the lead in the ninth minute from the penalty spot.

Nacho Monreal went down under Alireza Jahanbakhsh's clumsy challenge and Aubameyang sent Mat Ryan the wrong way for his 20th Premier League goal of the season.

After sustained Brighton pressure - led by Yves Bissouma's persistence - the Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno claimed Murray's header while Lucas Torreira rifled wide at the other end.

Solly March stung Leno's palms after the restart and the visitors drew level on the hour from the penalty spot after the Brighton winger was tripped by Granit Xhaka.

Murray coolly converted, beating Leno easily to score his first Premier League goal since March, with Aubameyang missing a fantastic chance to restore Arsenal's lead in the 74th minute.

Emery made a triple change in a desperate late throw of the dice but his side could not find another goal, with their hopes of playing in next season's Champions League now likely dependent on them winning the Europa League.

And Brighton should have wrapped up the top-four situation with five minutes left when March's header was blocked by Leno, Pascal Gross horribly firing the rebound well off target.


What does it mean? Nervy finale for top-four race

Teams continue to slip up in the battle to secure Champions League qualification, with Arsenal unable to take advantage of nine-man Spurs losing 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday.

With both teams in European semi-finals in midweek, there will be some tired legs next weekend when the campaign comes to a conclusion, although it would need to be a remarkable pair of results to see Arsenal pip Spurs, who host Everton.


Bissouma flies high for Seagulls

Few have impressed for Brighton in a poor second half of the campaign, but Chris Hughton has a solid foundation on which he can build in the form of midfielder Bissouma.

His ball-carrying skills repeatedly unnerved the Arsenal back line, while the Mali international also showed the combative side of his game by competing in an impressive 19 duels.


Xhaka the fall guy again

Both penalties were arguably harsh decisions from referee Anthony Taylor, but Xhaka continues to find himself on the scene of crimes seemingly more often than not when things go wrong for Arsenal.
 


What's next?

Arsenal travel to Valencia for the second leg of the Europa League semi-final on Thursday - in a tie they are 3-1 up in after the first leg - before heading to Burnley to wrap up their Premier League campaign three days later. Brighton finish their season at home to Manchester City in a match that could decide who wins the title.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would rather avoid facing domestic rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final should his side overcome Valencia.

The Gunners are favourites to book a place in the May 29 showpiece as they take a 3-1 advantage into Thursday's semi-final second leg at Mestalla.

Chelsea still have plenty of work to do in their tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, following a 1-1 draw in Germany earlier this week.

But Aubameyang does not fancy the prospect of an all-English showdown in Baku later this month, having already faced Chelsea twice in the Premier League this season.

"I don't want them. We know they're a great team but hopefully first we will go to the final and then I prefer to play Frankfurt because we've already played against Chelsea," he told reporters.

"I know Frankfurt are really good and, if we both go through to the final, it will be a hard one."

Aubameyang scored a crucial third goal for Arsenal in the 90th minute against Valencia, adding to Alexandre Lacazette's first-half brace after Mouctar Diakhaby had put the visitors in front.

The strike duo have netted a combined 43 goals in all competitions this season and Aubameyang has talked up his on-field understanding with the Frenchman.

"Maybe this is the first season in my career that I play with another striker like him," he said. 

"I'm really happy that we're doing well. We always give everything for the team and Laca deserves to score goals, and I think I do as well.

"We have the same vision about football when we talk in the dressing room - the same ideas and the same feelings. The fact that we understand each other is the thing that makes the difference in games."

Arsenal turn their attentions back to the fight for a top-four Premier League finish on Sunday with a home match against Brighton and Hove Albion, before travelling to Mestalla for the return leg against Valencia.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang warned Arsenal not to make the same mistakes as last year after winning the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Valencia 3-1.

Aubameyang scored a potentially decisive late goal at Emirates Stadium on Thursday after Alexandre Lacazette struck twice in seven minutes following Mouctar Diakhaby's early header.

Arsenal are therefore in pole position to reach next month's final in Baku, although Unai Emery's men still have work to do when they head to Mestalla for next Thursday's return.

The Gunners drew their home leg 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in last season's semi-final, Lacazette again on target, but did not fully capitalise on Sime Vrsaljko's 10th-minute red card.

Diego Costa's goal in the second leg was then enough to send Atleti into the final 2-1 on aggregate, with Aubameyang telling Arsenal not to let their strong position slip.

"We started not so good, but we had a good reaction, played very well and won the game," Aubameyang said to BT Sport.

"I think we started the game a bit nervous, because we lost the last three [Premier League] games. That's normal, we are human. But after that we had a good reaction.

"I think we have a lot of quality in the group. We can go to the final but we know the next game will be difficult. But if we perform the same there we will go through.

"It's our target of course to win this trophy. It's an opportunity to qualify for the Champions League, so it's really important.

"Last year we were stopped in the semi-finals, this year we've learned from our errors and hopefully we'll go on to win."

Before heading to Valencia, Arsenal have to host Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday.

Emery's side can still secure Champions League qualification via a top-four finish and Aubameyang urged his team-mates to renew their focus and get back on track after a poor spell.

"It's the last home game so we have to give the fans a win," Aubameyang added. "It's tough in the Premier League in the race for the top four but we will give everything."

Unai Emery became frustrated by questions over Arsenal's recent form ahead of their Premier League trip to Leicester City on Sunday. 

Back-to-back defeats at home to Crystal Palace and away at Wolves saw the Gunners slip to fifth in the table, a point behind Chelsea, leaving their hopes of a top-four finish out of their hands. 

Those losses came after a positive run in which Arsenal beat Napoli 3-0 on aggregate in the Europa League quarter-finals and battled to a 1-0 victory against Watford at Vicarage Road. 

And head coach Emery insists it is important to focus on their coming matches, not their previous ones, as they aim for just a fourth league win in 14 away matches. 

"We lost the last match and the one before but our focus is on the present and Sunday," he said. "If we think negatively about the last two matches we can think positively about the matches we won against Watford and Napoli. Each match is a new test. 

"We need to be positive and recover the confidence in our work. We will be ready and confident. 

"I don't want to speak about the last matches we lost. I don't want to speak about the victory in Napoli and Watford. I only want to speak about the next match, to give my players enough information to be ready to play." 

When pressed on whether their form is a concern, particularly away from home, he replied: "How many times are you going to ask the same question? Maybe I need to change my words to say the same [thing]..." 

Emery hopes to have striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available after he returned to training on Friday following a small sinus procedure. 

Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Denis Suarez (groin), Hector Bellerin (knee), Rob Holding (knee) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) remain out of action. 

Arsenal recorded their first away clean sheet in the Premier League this season with Ben Foster's mistake and Troy Deeney's red card contributing to a 1-0 victory for the Gunners at Watford.

Unai Emery's side have struggled for form on their travels in all competitions but were gifted three points at Vicarage Road on Monday, moving them up to fourth in the table.

Foster's lapse in concentration saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score his 18th league goal of the campaign in farcical fashion in the 11th minute, with Deeney then almost immediately dismissed for an elbow on Lucas Torreira.

FA Cup finalists Watford impressed despite being reduced to 10 men, full-back Adam Masina clipping the crossbar with a superb drive in the second half, but they succumbed to their first home defeat of the year.

Watford made the better start only to fall behind in self-inflicted circumstances.

Daryl Janmaat played a routine pass back to Foster but the Watford goalkeeper did not spot the advancing Aubameyang and his clearance crashed against the striker and into the net.

Within two minutes Watford were down to 10, Deeney sent off for catching Torreira, although Bernd Leno soon tipped Craig Cathcart's drive on to the post.

The Hornets continued to test Leno despite Arsenal's man advantage, with Etienne Capoue's floated free-kick turned away by the keeper.

Foster made a fine block to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the restart, the Armenia international seeming certain to turn home Alex Iwobi's cross with Watford caught short at the back.

Masina went closest to earning the hosts what would have been a deserved draw, the defender letting fly with a rising drive that nicked the woodwork.

Arsenal failed to kill the game, Aubameyang missing a chance for his second, but they held on thanks to Ainsley Maitland-Niles' excellent block on Andre Gray to move within a point of third-placed rivals Tottenham.

 

What does it mean? Arsenal finding consistency

Emery's men had only beaten Huddersfield Town away from home in the league since November, but they finally seem to be finding their feet despite Deeney's red aiding matters.

Watford, meanwhile, will rightly wonder how the game may have played out differently had they competed on a level playing field. They did not look overawed at all.

Xhaka makes welcome return

With big games coming every few days, Emery was able to welcome back Switzerland international Granit Xhaka for his first club appearance in over a month. Xhaka is not the silkiest of midfielders but he adds much-needed steel and grit to Arsenal.

Deeney demeans the armband

Watford captain Deeney was incensed by Craig Pawson's decision to send him off but the referee, who consulted with his assistant before producing the red card, had little option.

Deeney memorably highlighted what he described as Arsenal's lack of "cojones" after the Hornets came from behind to beat the Gunners in October 2017, but he let his side down here.

What's next?

Arsenal go to Napoli seeking a Europa League semi-final place on Thursday before hosting Crystal Palace three days later in the Premier League. Already relegated Huddersfield welcome Watford on Saturday.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has described the increase in reports of alleged racist abuse in English football as "really painful" and bad for the game.

Premier League club Arsenal opened an investigation after a video on social media appeared to show a supporter racially abusing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their Europa League encounter on Thursday.

Chelsea, in action at the same time away to Slavia Prague, slammed as an "embarrassment" the fans who allegedly sang racist songs about Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Wilfried Zaha, Danny Rose and multiple Football League players have recently called out instances of abuse from the stands and on social media, while equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out has expressed concern about the level of discrimination at grassroots level.

Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown in his direction during the north London derby in December and the Gabon international expressed frustration when quizzed on the subject following the 2-0 win over Napoli.

"I am really disappointed about that," Aubameyang told reporters.

"I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England.

"Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out."

Arsenal are well placed to reach the Europa League semi-finals thanks to their polished first-leg performance against Carlo Ancelotti's side, although their poor away form will come under scrutiny in the reverse fixture at Stadio San Paolo.

"We know away we have some difficulties. We have to improve that," Aubameyang said.

"We are confident. We had a good result and we have everything in our hands. We will go there and try to win the game.

"If you win there I think you send a message to everybody. It will be an important game and a good challenge for us."

Mesut Ozil is still a leader for Arsenal despite throwing his coat in frustration during the team’s Premier League loss at Everton, says Alexandre Lacazette.

Although enjoying an improved run of form of late, Ozil struggled to make an impact in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park and was substituted by Unai Emery.

Ozil later hurled his coat in the direction of Emery and Everton counterpart Marco Silva from his seat in the dugout as staff from both teams clashed on the touchline, with the player's actions drawing criticism.

The former Germany international is one of Arsenal's captains and Lacazette feels that status should not be affected by the incident at the weekend.

"He's still a leader, even if he knows he doesn’t have to do this," Lacazette told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League quarter-final first leg against Napoli.

"When you are upset for some reason, sometimes you do things you don't have to do. That's something for him but today everything is fine."

Arsenal head coach Emery indicated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be passed fit to face Napoli after recovering from illness.

"Yeah, Auba is a good player," Lacazette said of his fellow forward. "We play well together but I like to play with all of my team-mates, not only with Auba or any individual players.

"If we score a lot of goals, it's because our team-mates put us in these positions and give us good balls to score.

"If they give us these good balls to score, then I'm okay."

Ahead of Napoli's visit, Arsenal have won seven home games in a row in all competitions.

But they continue to struggle for consistency away from Emirates Stadium, winning only twice on the road since November, those victories coming at Huddersfield Town in the league and League One side Blackpool in the FA Cup.

"First at home we have the fans, so of course we feel more confident," Lacazette said. "Sometimes we want to do something but some days it's not as we want, you can't play as you want. That's it.

"I wouldn't say I am their favourite player but I have noticed that the fans like me. I am grateful for that. And it makes me want to give my best for them and my team-mates."

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