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The Arsenal boss subbed his compatriot on the hour mark at Vicarage Road, replacing him with Joe Willock
Unai Emery said that the intense heat at Vicarage Road was one of the reasons why he substituted Dani Ceballos in the 2-2 draw with Watford on Sunday.
The Gunners were 2-0 up at half-time against the Hornets thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace, only for things to start to unravel for them in the second half .
An error from Sokratis Papastathopoulos allowed Tom Cleverley to pull one back for the hosts, and after Ceballos was replaced by Joe Willock – who along with Reiss Nelson and Lucas Torreira struggled to make an impact when he came on – Watford took control of midfield.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ side then grabbed a deserved equaliser when Roberto Pereyra scored from the penalty spot after he’d been tripped in the area by David Luiz.
Emery admitted his side struggled in the second half, pointing to the heat as a key factor.
“It was very, very hot. We needed in the second half, some fresh players,” he told reporters.
“We were struggling second half and I was thinking how we can improve with three players, fresh players, for give us more energy and give us also more capacity to be strong physically and tactically and also technically.”
Forward Aubameyang couldn’t hide his disappointment in the Gunners’ defence, as their concession of two goals made it three without a win in the Premier League.
“Obviously we didn’t expect that [the comeback],” the Gabonese forward Canal Plus .
“We knew that they were going to try and come back with good intentions, of the kind they demonstrated in the second half.
“Sadly, we were not able to deal with them well. I feel like we are literally giving goals to the opposition, it is up to us to progress in that respect.”