Ben Foster accepted it was embarrassing after Watford suffered their record league defeat at the hands of rampant Manchester City.

The Premier League champions ran out 8-0 winners at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, achieving their record top-flight victory.

Watford were also thrashed 6-0 by City in last season's FA Cup final, a match in which Foster was on the bench for the Hornets.

But this time out he had a prime spot to see Pep Guardiola's men bounce back in style from their loss to Norwich City last weekend.

"It's probably a bit of shock, embarrassment," Foster said to Sky Sports.

"I think we let ourselves down today and the fans a bit. The fans were giving it everything, all they've got. Unfortunately, we on the pitch didn't give it all we have got.

"As a keeper coming to City and Liverpool, if you let five in in 20 minutes you fear the worst, you think cricket scores.

"They are without doubt the best team I have ever played against. We were poor, didn't lay a glove on them, but at times it was breathtaking watching them.

"You come away to City and I'm not joking, you come here and think if you keep it to two or three - they are so good. Them and Liverpool are a different level.

"We didn't do our job today. We have to take some positives but that's football. You have to clean yourselves up, move onto the next one.

"We have a few experienced lads but you have to keep smiling. I have just let eight in. I'm not happy but it is what it is. There is no point in dwelling, get ready for the next game and get ready."

Manchester City set a new club record for their biggest top-flight win with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday.

City led in the first minute when David Silva was set up by Kevin De Bruyne, with the champions maintaining their frantic early scoring pace to go 5-0 up inside 18 minutes.

That in itself was a Premier League record, but City could not quite manage to equal the competition’s biggest ever win, Manchester United's 9-0 defeat of Ipswich Town in 1995.

Bernardo Silva hit a hat-trick as City impressively bounced back from a shock loss at the hands of injury-hit Norwich City last time out in league action.

The emphatic result boosts their goal difference to +18 and moves them within two points of leaders Liverpool, who are away to Chelsea on Sunday.

As for bottom club Watford – who replaced Javi Gracia with Quique Sanchez Flores earlier this month – they will have to reflect on their heaviest defeat ever in league competition.

City also humiliated Watford in last season's FA Cup final, running out 6-0 winners with Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling each scoring a brace at Wembley.

Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a stunning 8-0 triumph over sorry Watford to record their biggest ever top-flight victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side slipped to a shock defeat at Norwich City last weekend but responded in spectacular fashion against the league's bottom side, racing into a five-goal lead inside 18 minutes.

David Silva got them on their way after 52 seconds before a Sergio Aguero penalty and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi put the game out of the sight before the midway point of the first half.

Bernardo Silva grabbed the first top-flight hat-trick of his career with goals in the 48th and 60th minutes before Kevin De Bruyne added an eighth five minutes from time. 

The result moves City two points behind Liverpool at the Premier League's summit – though the Reds have a game in hand - while Watford remain rooted to the foot of the table with just two points from their opening six games.City started in blistering fashion, taking the lead inside the opening minute when David Silva slotted home De Bruyne's wonderful cross from the right.

Ederson denied Gerard Deulofeu moments later before Ben Foster rashly brought down Mahrez in the penalty area, giving Aguero the opportunity to slam home his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium from the resulting spot-kick.

Their third came after just 12 minutes when Mahrez's free-kick from the edge of the area beat Foster courtesy of a significant deflection off Tom Cleverley.

Bernardo Silva added a fourth just three minutes later, stooping to head home a corner from eight yards, while Otamendi made it five in the 18th minute, turning home Aguero's low cross at the back post.

City's intensity dropped a little after that devastating opening, although Aguero came close to registering a hat-trick before the interval, the Argentina international twice denied by the post.

The hosts wasted little time making it six after the restart, Bernardo Silva slotting past a helpless Foster from 10 yards after collecting David Silva's pass.

Aguero twice came close to adding a seventh before Bernardo Silva brought up his hat-trick on the hour mark, prodding home De Bruyne's cross from close range at the back post.

Mahrez then saw a header cannon back off the crossbar before De Bruyne capped a superb individual display with a rising drive from 16 yards that gave a beleaguered Foster no chance.

 

What does it mean? Watford on the end of brutal backlash

Determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's surprise defeat to Norwich, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's men. A display of relentless efficiency moves them two points behind Liverpool, who travel to Chelsea on Sunday well aware that the reigning champions are ready to pounce should they slip up.

Aguero hits another landmark

The 31-year-old has now scored in each of his six Premier League appearances this season as he brought up a century of league goals at home. His only disappointment will be that he failed to add more, twice hitting the upright in the first half.

Foster in accommodating mood

He was hardly helped by his woeful defence, but the Watford goalkeeper provided little resistance to City. He brought down Mahrez for Aguero's penalty and scarcely produced a save in what was a game he will hope to forget quickly.

What's next?

Both sides are in EFL Cup action on Tuesday, with City travelling to Preston North End and Watford hosting Swansea City. Guardiola's side then visit Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, while the Hornets take on Wolves at Molineux on the same day.

Manchester City piled the misery upon Watford in an astonishing start at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with the Premier League champions roaring into a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes.

The Hornets claimed a fine 2-2 comeback draw at home to Arsenal last weekend but their efforts in Manchester had more in common with May's 6-0 FA Cup final thrashing at the hands of Pep Guardiola's side.

City's brutal opening salvo is the quickest any team has established a 5-0 lead in Premier League history.

David Silva started the rout after 52 seconds, tapping in a delightful Kevin De Bruyne cross for the fastest Premier League goal of the season so far.

Sergio Aguero brought up his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium from the penalty spot after visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster brought down Riyad Mahrez.

Algeria winger Mahrez then dispatched a free-kick via a deflection off Tom Cleverley and Watford's defensive poise appeared to have deserted them entirely as Bernardo Silva and then Nicolas Otamendi capitalised upon abject set-piece organisation.

City, who headed into the weekend five points behind Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, have won all of their past 11 games against Watford.

Benjamin Mendy is back in the Manchester City starting XI for Saturday's Premier League match at home to Watford.

It is the France international's first start in the top flight since April and Pep Guardiola will hope it marks the end of an injury nightmare for the left-back he bought from Monaco for £52million in July 2017.

Mendy has only made 17 appearances across City's back-to-back title triumphs, twice undergoing knee surgery.

He lines up in a defence that again features Fernandinho at centre-back alongside Nicolas Otamendi, in the continued injury absence of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Raheem Sterling drops to the bench, meaning Sergio Aguero will be supported by Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez in attack as the striker chases a 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Quique Sanchez Flores began his second stint at Watford boss with a rousing 2-2 comeback draw against Arsenal last weekend and makes two changes to that line-up, with Adrian Mariappa and Dimitri Foulquier replacing Andre Gray and Christian Kabasele.

Pep Guardiola is hopeful midfielder Fernandinho stays at Manchester City beyond the end of the season when his contract expires.

The 34-year-old joined City in 2013 from Shakhtar Donetsk and has gone on to become a vital – if often unheralded – cog in the team.

He featured 29 times last season as City edged out Liverpool in the title race, while he looks set for an important role at centre-back over the coming weeks following injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Spain international midfielder Rodri was brought in from Atletico Madrid in the transfer window, with every indication suggesting him to be the long-term replacement for Fernandinho.

But Guardiola has no desire to see him leave, even if he is unsure about what is happening in terms of discussions.

"It's not my business, I'm sorry guys, it's Txiki's [Begiristain, City sporting director] business," Guardiola told reporters when asked if there had been progress in talks. "Do you have Txiki's phone number?

"Of course, he is a joyful player," Guardiola added when asked if he wanted the Brazilian to stay.

"What he has done for all of us, especially me as a manager, our time together has paid off, it's incredible. He's incredible, so no doubts."

Left-back Benjamin Mendy is closing in on a return to fitness after he missed the majority of last season with a serious knee injury.

And Guardiola is excited for the France international's comeback, convinced he will add another dimension to City's play.

"In the future he is going to play a little bit more regularly and try to understand what we want to do, because he has missed two seasons without training and the guy, to understand things, he has to practice," he said.

"Just for the videos, or just talking, he has to train and play and play and play and always we dreamed that he would be an incredibly important player for us.

"With him we can attack more constantly, he brings a special quality that only he has in our team, so with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko we cannot attack the wides and deep, but his qualities are completely different.

"With Mendy we can do that. Hopefully he can be fit, healthy and play."

Pep Guardiola insists he will not be concerned if Manchester City fail to win a single title this season, adamant their last two campaigns should be considered "exceptions".

City were beaten 3-2 away to Norwich City last time out in the Premier League, leaving the champions five points adrift of pacesetters Liverpool, who have won all five of their matches.

The Reds and City went the distance in the title race last term, with Guardiola's side ultimately lifting the trophy after accumulating 98 points, one more than their rivals.

Having dropped points in two matches already and suffered injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, Guardiola is tempering expectations of City in 2019-20.

He said in Friday's news conference: "I'm going to tell you something, we are not going to win the next 10 Premier Leagues in a row, not even the next one or the next four or five in a row, that is impossible, that is not going to happen.

"I'm not concerned about that, I am concerned for every single game to be close, close to who we are and our strong points, of which we have many, but you know if the people believe what Norwich has done, if they do it every time, they will beat us, so we will see if we can find a solution to it.

"With football, having the same players and what we did last season, maybe that won't work this season. One more year and different personal problems, maybe manager personal problems, everything influences the team.

"One little detail can have a big impact on the performance of the team and on players, so that's why it can happen. It is part of the process to lose games, it's a normality, it happens.

"The exceptions are what we have done two seasons ago and what Liverpool and Man City did last season, that is an exception, but the team will lose games.

"The problem is, know the reason why, or if you have figured out the reason why, try to find a solution for the next ones, so I'm not really concerned if we don't win any titles this year.

"I want to win again as much as possible with titles, but it's a different approach when I see my life, see my career, my profession, around the games like the people expect.

"So, when you hear 'they are invincible', 'they are the best team in the universe', or whatever, it seems bad, it's not true.

"I saw many good things against Norwich and I've seen many good things against Shakhtar [Donetsk]. In one game it was enough, another game it was not enough, but we are not going to win every game all the time, we are not going to win all the titles.

"No one can do that, Manchester City neither, so we will try. Did we try against Norwich? Of course we tried, we did not give up, we didn't say, 'we are going to lose'. That didn't happen, we tried and we tried and we tried.

"So hopefully, the last game of the season against Norwich here [the Etihad Stadium], we can think about it [the defeat to Norwich] and see if we can beat them, a little revenge to win the Premier League."

City return to Premier League action on Saturday when they host rock-bottom Watford.

Riyad Mahrez's love of the ball is starting to pay dividends, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

City signed Algeria winger Mahrez from Leicester City for what was then a club-record fee of £60million in July last year.

Although the 28-year-old netted the pivotal third goal in City's 4-1 final-day win at Brighton and Hove Albion to seal the Premier League title, he spent much of his debut campaign on the periphery of Guardiola's first XI.

But Leroy Sane's knee injury and a comparatively slow start this time around from City's player of the year for 2018-19, Bernardo Silva, has handed Mahrez a more prominent role.

He opened the scoring in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win at Shakhtar Donetsk – an authoritative response following last weekend's shock 3-2 loss at Norwich City – and Guardiola finds something of a kindred spirit in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations winner.

"When he played last season he played good, except maybe the first few games, but it's normal," he said ahead of Saturday's home game against Watford.

"We knew the quality and especially the mentality. How competitive he is, it surprised me a lot.

"There is one detail - he loves to play football, he loves the training sessions, he loves to be in contact with the ball.

"I like this type of player. He goes to the training session on the pitch and immediately takes the ball to have fun with the ball. That maybe is a stupid detail but I like it."

Despite failing to win too many plaudits last season, Guardiola insists Mahrez has never lacked for self-belief – to the extent he is not always the most receptive member of the City squad when it comes to regular rotation.

"He is a guy who I think doesn't feel too much pressure. It doesn't matter where he plays, he has a lot of confidence in himself.

"If he makes two bad actions, he goes 'give me the ball, give me the ball – I am going to try again'. That is the best detail for the players on the big, big stages. It is the most difficult to find.

"The only thing he has to improve is to be a bit more relaxed when he doesn’t play. The rest is top."

In that regard, Guardiola suggested Mahrez should follow the example of Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazil striker grasped his opportunity to start versus Shakhtar by completing the scoring, although the presence of club great Sergio Aguero means the bench if never too far away.

"It's difficult to find in Europe, in the world, a striker like Gabriel," Guardiola said. "How important he is, a number nine for Brazil.

"He's an incredibly top player, a young player. His behaviour in the training sessions is outstanding.

"He has to handle fighting in his position against a legend – one of the best strikers I have ever seen in my life, Aguero.

"It is not easy to accept this role and he accepts it. That's why I am over the moon with him.

"In the last two years Sergio has been incredible how he fights for the team, but I know when [Jesus] plays he does absolutely everything.

"He is a young, young striker. The future for this club is incredible."

Pep Guardiola has declared Liverpool "the strongest opponents I have faced in my career as a manager" after Manchester City shipped an early lead in this season's title race.

City are pursuing a third consecutive Premier League crown but a shock 3-2 loss at Norwich City last weekend – their first top-flight loss since January – left them five points shy of Jurgen Klopp's men, who have won five out of five in 2019-20.

As the two sides engaged in a titanic battle last season, City eventually prevailing on 98 points to Liverpool's 97, Guardiola said the Reds ranked alongside the Barcelona side of 2014-15 and their forward line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar when it came to considering his strongest foes.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's home game versus Watford, the former Barca and Bayern Munich boss stated Klopp's Liverpool were now out on their own.

"You have to understand what we have done in the past does not ensure you can do it tomorrow or the day after," Guardiola said.

"The opponents we have, I've said many times, are the strongest opponents I have faced in my career as a manager – Liverpool.

"These are not weak words. I said it when they were in front, I said it when we were in front; when we won and we lose.

"They have absolutely everything in terms of a positional game, counter-attack, set pieces, transitions, offensive, defensive and mentality. Anfield the stadium – many things.

"I know how difficult it was, how difficult it is and how difficult it will be.

"But that is the challenge. The same with the central defenders. We go, 'Okay, let's find a solution to keep the team stable and good'."

Guardiola has limited options in the heart of defence following injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, the latter set to return in around a month from a thigh problem.

It meant defensive midfielder Fernandinho beginning a transition to defence alongside remaining specialist Nicolas Otamendi against Shakhtar Donetsk and the Brazil international impressed throughout a 3-0 win.

"We don't have many other options," Guardiola said. "Rodri can play there and of course two young players who we trust a lot, especially Eric [Garcia].

"Last season he was training all season with us. Taylor Harwood-Bellis was with us in the pre-season and we were impressed.

"It is not a problem, it is a challenge. I don't take these situations like a problem.

"It is important to be positive in your mood. If we do it we will be happy; if we don't do it we will work harder."

Guardiola also offered reflections on City's stunning reverse at Norwich, which did not displease him to the same extent as the previous time they lost in the Premier League – a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United that looked to have given Liverpool a decisive title advantage.

"After watching the game against Norwich, I was not really upset for the way we played. I was upset after Newcastle [last season] – after 1-0 after one minute we forgot to play," he added.

"Against Norwich we shot more than 15 times and we could have one. In Newcastle I don't have that feeling after one minute."

Mesut Ozil has been rested for Arsenal's Europa League trip to Eintracht Frankfurt despite making a single Premier League appearance this season.

Ozil started Sunday's 2-2 draw at Watford but was substituted after 71 minutes, the former Germany midfielder having helped to create Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's second strike.

An ankle injury to Alexandre Lacazette opened a place in Arsenal's attack for Ozil but head coach Unai Emery has opted to do without the playmaker for Thursday's Group F opener in Frankfurt.

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I wanted to use different players," Emery told a news conference, having named a 19-man squad including teenagers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

"We can have some rotation in the first XI and the 19 players. Sokratis [Papastathopoulos] and Mesut are rested for that match.

"We are going to play another match on Sunday [against Aston Villa]. My decision is because he played [against Watford], I am thinking tomorrow of the first XI and after that deciding who can be the best for tomorrow.

"The first match he played on Sunday he played well with his capacity and skills. His first minutes for us was good. Now he is going to be helping us. Sunday we are going to play another match. We're thinking to have a reaction.”

Asked if Ozil was omitted to spare the 30-year-old a return to Germany following his controversial international retirement, Emery said: "No."

Arsenal gave a cheap goal away against Watford by losing the ball trying to play out from a goal kick with Emery accepting his side have work to do after conceding seven times in a three-match winless run.

"The first analysis is on how we can improve and recover our confidence, starting and controlling the match," Emery added.

"Sunday we struggled more than we wanted and also we made some mistakes and conceded some goals. We are working yesterday and today on how we can work on it, usually Eintracht are doing high pressing.

"Tomorrow we need to improve. Some mistakes we made on Sunday, we need to improve. We want to control every game with the ball, with positioning. We did on Sunday, in the first half. Tomorrow is a new challenge in terms of how we're improving."

Bernd Leno believes Arsenal must continue to take risks at the back despite that approach contributing to a disappointing collapse at Watford at the weekend.

The Gunners gave up a two-goal lead in an error-strewn second half to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

The most egregious gaffe was the misplaced pass from Sokratis Papastathopoulos that gifted Tom Cleverley a goal and the hosts a way back into the game.

Centre-back Sokratis attempted the pass from inside his own penalty area but goalkeeper Leno, signed last year in part for his ball-playing ability, does not think Arsenal should discard their tactics.

"That's our style to play," Leno told reporters.

"We try to take the risk because if we beat the press of Watford, then there is a lot of space for our strikers.

"In the first half we did it very well but in the second we didn't create too many chances from playing out from the back. It is still a process we have to work on. Everybody was angry and disappointed after this game.

"The manager is a very positive guy. He wants to be positive and he said we will analyse this game with time. Now everybody was with emotions, very mad and crazy.

"But that is normal after the game. He said 'calm down and then on Tuesday we analyse this game and then on Thursday we have another game'."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's quickfire brace had given Arsenal a comfortable buffer but David Luiz's late foul on Roberto Pereyra enabled the Watford winger to seal a share of the points from the spot.

Leno said: "It was very frustrating because we controlled the game but also in the first half, you could see that we made two easy mistakes and then at the end we conceded two goals from these kinds of mistakes and we were lucky we didn't lose this game.

"I think in the second half we completely lost the control of the game. The distance from the midfield to the strikers and all the distances from the players were too big.

"Watford deserved at least the draw."

Arsenal, now seventh in the Premier League, are winless in three games.

Norwich City caused the biggest shock of the Premier League season on Saturday when they registered a famous 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City at Carrow Road.

That stunning result means Liverpool are now five points clear at the summit after Jurgen Klopp's side ran out 3-1 winners over Newcastle United to maintain their perfect start to the campaign.

Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead over Watford at Vicarage Road to draw 2-2, while Tammy Abraham netted a hat-trick as Chelsea thumped Wolves 5-2.

With the help of Opta stats, we take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

UNSTOPPABLE PUKKI STUNS CITY

Norwich were outstanding in their dramatic win over Pep Guardiola's side, inflicting a first defeat for the champions against a newly promoted opponent since March 2015 when they lost to Burnley.

It was a defensive nightmare for City, who conceded twice in the opening half-hour of a Premier League game for the second time under Guardiola. The other occasion was against Leicester City in December 2016, when they also conceded three times in total.

Central to the Canaries' success was Teemu Pukki, who has now been involved in eight goals (six scored, two assisted) in his first five Premier League appearances. Only Sergio Aguero has been involved in more goals (nine) in the same number of games at the start of their time in the competition.

Aguero's strike on the stroke of half-time, meanwhile, saw him become just the third player to score in a team's first five Premier League matches of a season after Jose Antonio Reyes for Arsenal in 2004-05 and Wayne Rooney for Manchester United in 2011-12.

LIVERPOOL SWEEP ASIDE MAGPIES

Newcastle took a surprise early lead against Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp's side bounced back in style to become just the fourth team to win 14 consecutive English top-flight matches.

The Reds have now won their opening five games of the Premier League season for a second consecutive campaign. The only previous two teams to do so in back-to-back seasons were Chelsea (2009-10 and 2010-11) and Manchester City (2015-16 and 2016-17).

Andy Robertson proved a handful for Newcastle with another industrious display. His assist for Sadio Mane's equaliser took him to 17 for Liverpool in the Premier League since the start of the 2017-18 season, more than any other defender in that period.

Defeat for Newcastle represented a 13th loss in their last 14 Premier League away games against 'big six' opponents, with three of those losses coming at Anfield.

AUBAMEYANG HEROICS NOT ENOUGH FOR GUNNERS

Arsenal will consider themselves lucky to have scraped a point at Watford despite holding a two-goal lead thanks to the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, the Gabon international has been directly involved in 46 goals in the competition (37 scored, nine assisted). Only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has had a hand in more in this time.

The Hornets were rampant in the second period, attempting 31 shots – the highest tally the Gunners have faced in a Premier League game since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003-04.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that Watford's leveller was from the penalty spot. Since the start of last season, no side has conceded more goals via penalties than the Gunners (10, level with Brighton and Hove Albion).

ABRAHAM MAKING HIS MARK ON THE BIG STAGE

Tammy Abraham enjoyed a day to remember as Chelsea ensured Wolves' wait for a league win this season goes on.

The England striker – who was prolific on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season – became the youngest ever Blues player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League and is the youngest Englishman to do so since Raheem Sterling against Bournemouth in October 2015.

He also became just the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 and Dele Alli in 2017.

Wolves, meanwhile, conceded five goals in a home Premier League game for the first time since a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United in March 2012.

Unai Emery believes Arsenal's capitulation against Watford on Sunday could help his young players in the long term.

The Gunners appeared to be coasting to all three points at Vicarage Road after Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang's first-half double.

Tom Cleverley took advantage of some slapstick defending by Sokratis Papastathopoulos to reduce the deficit, however, before Roberto Pereyra ensured a share of the spoils from the penalty spot after he had been brought down by David Luiz.

The Hornets – who had 31 shots on goal – can consider themselves unlucky not have claimed all three points, leaving Emery to hope the chastening experience will be of use to some of his side's younger players.

"We have some young players and they need to have experiences like today," he told a media conference.  

"Matteo [Guendouzi] is young and very emotional; sometimes he needs to make some mistakes to improve. In the first half he made a mistake and they didn't score.

"When we are analysing the mistakes, we prefer to speak about them collectively. I have responsibility.

"I don't want to say it's the fault of one player or another. It's my responsibility to give them the confidence to execute our game plan."

The Arsenal boss was frustrated with his side's inability to deal with Watford's aggressive pressing and says improvements are needed quickly.

"The second half was going to be difficult as they changed their plan to push more than us," added Emery, who watched his side fight from 2-0 down to draw with Tottenham prior to the international break.

"If we could break that pressing, we could connect with our midfielders and have space to continue imposing our game plan. We couldn't control the match and break their pressing. They're a good team and in the second half they showed that.

"We also spoke about the need for calm to achieve what we wanted, and we did not do that. We need to work and improve things."

The draw leaves Arsenal seventh in the table, with eight points from five matches, while winless Watford remain bottom on two.

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka admitted his side were not mentally strong enough at Watford as they squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

The Gunners appeared to be in control of Sunday's Premier League match at Vicarage Road after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice in the space of 11 first-half minutes.

But Tom Cleverley halved the deficit early in the second half following a sloppy pass from Sokratis and substitute Roberto Pereyra levelled things from the penalty spot nine minutes from time after being brought down by David Luiz.

In the end Arsenal were left holding on for a point and Xhaka confessed the visitors were "too scared", while also accusing his team-mates of hiding.

"We are very disappointed. We had a good first half and then we came out and played so bad in the second half and paid for that," he told BBC Sport.

"We knew they had nothing to lose and they would come for us but we didn't show our game. We were too scared. Nobody wanted the ball.

"Every team in the Premier League is strong enough to score so you have to stay calm, be mentally strong and we weren't."

Arsenal were architects of their own downfall as Sokratis gave away possession for Watford's opener as his side persisted with attempting to play out from the back, despite also nearly being caught out in the first half.

Xhaka, who is expected to be announced as Arsenal's permanent skipper next week, told Sky Sports: "Mistakes happen but it is not an excuse. 

"Next time we have to do better. It was not only this situation we lost the game. We lost the game all second half.

"You have to say we are happy to take a point.

"We knew they would come at us and push us hard but we have to show more character and not be scared.

"We have spoken about it. We cannot give a performance like this in the second half."

Arsenal travel to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday and return to Premier League action next Sunday with a home match against Aston Villa.

Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead at Watford in Quique Sanchez Flores' first match in charge of the Hornets since returning, while Bournemouth confidently dispatched Everton at the Vitality Stadium.

Sanchez Flores was back in the Watford dugout having been appointed as Javi Gracia's replacement during the international break.

The former Espanyol coach spent the 2015-16 campaign at the club before being surprisingly dismissed and he appeared to have a decent impact on the team for the visit of Arsenal, though he was unable to inspire a win in the 2-2 draw.

Bournemouth did claim all three points, however, beating Everton 3-1 to stop a difficult run.

ARSENAL STUNG AS HORNET FIGHT BACK

It all looked to be going swimmingly for the Gunners at half-time, as a pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang efforts had them 2-0 up in the 32nd minute.

The striker produced a fine finish on the swivel for the first, even though Watford felt they were due a free-kick in the build-up, before then rounding off a 20-pass move with a tap-in for his second.

But individual errors cost Arsenal dear in the second period – Sokratis Papastathopoulos gifted Watford possession in his own area and Tom Cleverley slammed home to pull one back.

Roberto Pereyra secured a share of the spoils nine minutes from time, converting a penalty after being clumsily tripped by David Luiz.

Sanchez Flores' men remain rooted to the bottom of the table, however, while Arsenal join Tottenham, Manchester United, Leicester City and Chelsea on eight points.

WILSON LEADS BOURNEMOUTH

Everton failed to win for a sixth successive Premier League away game, as Wilson inspired Bournemouth in Sunday's early kick-off.

The England international opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when found in the danger zone by Joshua King and, although Dominic Calvert-Lewin levelled just before the break, Bournemouth exploited Everton's sloppiness in the second half.

Ryan Fraser's free-kick was allowed to go all the way through a body of players and find the bottom-right corner in the 67th minute.

Wilson got his second goal five minutes later, applying a gorgeous finish on the bounce after Diego Rico's hopeful ball inexplicably split Everton's defence.

The result sees Bournemouth bounce back from consecutive defeats to Manchester City and Leicester City.

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