Quique Sanchez Flores felt Adlene Guedioura’s emergence as the unlikeliest of FA Cup quarter-final match-winners for Watford was a fitting reward for his patience and attitude during a difficult season for the Algerian.
Guedioura’s selection for the daunting last-eight tie at the Emirates stadium came out of left field but not as left-field as the rocket he unleashed with his sledgehammer of a right foot to send the 8,325 fans in the away end delirious.
“He represents very well a humble player in a humble team,” said Sanchez Flores, who has not used Guedioura in the league since January 2. “He came with expectations when he signed for Watford and was expecting to play more. Maybe I didn’t use him well but he’s an amazing example of the player we have here. He played on the right and good players can play in every position. He has power and a strong shot and he does this a lot in training.”
After his first start since the fourth-round tie at Nottingham Forest, Guedioura had very little in the tank by the time he was replaced after 77 minutes, but he had done his job, with his first goal since Millwall away last season, and cemented his place in the hearts of the Watford fans.
“I think it was important to follow the game plan and to not concede a goal, and I think we did that well because Arsenal keep the ball well and we managed to get two goals,” he told BT Sport. “The set-up for my goal was very good too. It was difficult at the end – we were very anxious because we were scared they would score the second, but everyone worked hard and I am happy that we are going to Wembley.”
Troy Deeney was the architect of both goals, teeing up the first for Odion Ighalo and then laying on the second for Guedioura to ram into the roof of David Ospina’s net.
“Guedioura scores like that in training, too,” Deeney told BT Sport. “He hits about 17 over but when he gets it right it is amazing. He has done it before, not just for us but for other clubs, and for me it is quite easy because you lay it into his path and he gets it home.”