Huddersfield Town Review & Who’s Going to Help Santi’s Paws?

Arsenal 5 – 0 Huddersfield Town

The morning after the night before and I’m still not quite sure how that ended up 5 – 0.

For an hour, it looked as if Alexandre Lacazette’s quick goal would be our sole reward for the evening. Instead of inspiring us onto greater things, we slipped into our smoking jacket, lit the pipe and put our feet into the comfiest slippers we could find.

Port followed by brandy; not quite enough of the fine stuff to descend into the warm glow of an alcohol-induced sleep but enough to relax us. Huddersfield huffed and puffed but offered little genuine danger; two chances early in the second half, both resisted by Petr Cech, offered a glimmer of hope but they know their home form will keep them up if that is their fate. Good luck to them in that fight.

Arsenal needed a spark; it didn’t arrive immediately after Lacazette’s goal. Instead, we laboured; passes were too hard, fast or wayward. Touches were leaden when we needed finesse.

And then it happened. The game’s “What the actual f*ck did I just see?” moment; Olivier Giroud, six yards out, rattled the post. And then skewed the rebound wide, which was quite impressive because I thought it was easier to score.

He made amends on 68 minutes, Alexis scored on 69 before Mesut Özil rounded off a rash of goals three minutes later. 4 – 0 and Wengerball, a much-mythologised style of football, briefly surfaced. Arsenal shredded Huddersfield defence, taking all fire from their bellies, as the home XI picked them off with relative ease.

Giroud completed the scoreline rout in the final ten minutes but we had so many other chances, it could quite conceivably have finished 10 – 0.

And we’d still be scratching our heads as to how.

Clouds Gathering

Like every Arsenal victory, it came at a cost. Alexandre Lacazette “will certainly be out” after suffering a groin injury, with the vagueness of Wenger’s prognosis suggesting a far longer absence. Back for the visit of Liverpool, perhaps?

Not that it really matters; United is a big game and despite being our record signing, it’s a racing certainty that Wenger would omit him from the starting line-up.

It’s easy to point fingers and say “I told you so” when it comes to rotation, but it’s an injury which might be suffered in training or in the first minute against United. The latter is arguably more damaging; at least this way, we know it’s Giroud to start.

Unless Wenger goes with Sanchez to lead the line, which can’t be ruled out.

It’s a difficult game to judge performances on. Arsène felt we became inhibited as the first half progressed and you can’t argue with that summary. The question is why?

Mesut Özil received plaudits for his goal and rightly so; a good finish and when we flowed, Özil was at the heart of it. Yet, when we didn’t, he was equally subdued. He didn’t drag a performance out of the team and the praise was too effusive post-match. The manager seeking to influence contract thoughts? Probably; in his case, it might make a difference.

Others flitted in and out of the game as well. Defensively, we were strong then lackadaisical. Followed by nervousness until the circle was completed and the football flowed. You get the picture.

Remember: a Santi is for Life, not just Christmas

No-one summed it up more than Sead Kolasinac. Our resident bull found a china shop to unleash his energy on, before a sublime moment of adventure in creating the fifth. In real-time, you waited for the look of thunder to cross his face as Giroud lashed the ball home. It never came.

Replays showed the Frenchman was right to step in; the club level was already ducking for cover at the prospect of Kolasinac wildly lashing at a runaway ball. No wonder he grinned like a loon as the ball hit the net.

It was all fun stuff at the end. Nacho Monreal popped up in the box with only Koscielny and Mustafi studiously staying in defence. Jumpers for goalposts…next goal wins…offside optional. And they certainly were, as the linesman missed a couple along the way. Who cares? You never do when you’re the beneficiary.

All of which was nice but it didn’t completely erase the cloud hanging over Arsenal heads. Earlier in the day, Santi Cazorla announced he needed further surgery, his ninth in total. His return to the first team is now the 12th of never.

The cruelty bestowed upon him by the fates isn’t dampening his spirit entirely. “I still have the motivation and the hope of being able to return to enjoy my great passion, football,” the announcement said.

You can but hope that there is light once at the end of the tunnel. He is 33 in December and absent from the football pitch in over a year.  Let’s hope we see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

’til Tomorrow.

58 thoughts on “Huddersfield Town Review & Who’s Going to Help Santi’s Paws?

  1. Yes Yogi, no mention of Ramsey. I thought I was harsh on the lad.
    I can see Welbez starting against his old employer with Giroud super subbing.

  2. Not harsh at all. He was as culpable as the rest when play bottomed out for an hour. A 5 – 0 scoreline was fine and dandy but it concerns me that we are being lulled into thinking “He was good. Him too”; if we build them up and they fuck up against United, I’ve got a ‘higher low’ than if I’m eulogising because we took points off a team which has gained one win on the road on the opening day of the season and hasn’t scored in their last half-dozen of those games.

  3. Don’t worry, we will fuck up against United. They are a top 4 side.
    I just thought he was good which surprised me, that’s all.

  4. In fairness to Ramsey, he’s done well for the past 4 or 5 games. Rash in shooting but working hard for the team as an all-rounder. If he keeps it up, he’ll be Player of the Year.

    And my new career as a stand-up comedian begins…

  5. As for Santi, I can’t believe he’s going under the knife again. The surgeon said after the last one that he should be thankful to be able to walk in the garden with the kids. That man is the epitome of positive thinking

  6. Lovely report – didn’t find a stream in the end so half watched BBC updates online – tbh have to enjoy a 5-0 outcome and the MoTD highlights made a nice backdrop to breakfast.

    at the risk of tempting fate – our crisis hit club is a step closer to celebrating st totteringhams day over our magnificent neighbours

  7. We really got at it in the 2nd half, but flattered to deceive in the first. Not fashionable, but I thought Monreal had an outstanding game. Considering this is a new position to him he has adapted really well.

    Roll on Man United!

  8. Having only watched MotD and the Sky highlights, we looked pretty good, but it seems we were second best for much of the first half.

    Nobody can complain about a five nil win in which even Ramsey (a player I have little regard for) had a good influence on the result. His flicked pass for Lacazette’s goal was sublime.

    What a joy it is to watch Ozil when he plays that way, we really need to convince him to sign a new contract.

    C will be pleased, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette all started and all scored.

    Well done the Glorious Gunners!

  9. Orson Kaert,

    Mate I was over joyed to watch, though have to admit the first half was a bit of a meh outside of Lacazette’s goal (which was started by Ozil and finished with Ramsey’s brilliant flick and Lacazette’s ruthlessly ice cold finish).

    The second half it really looked like Ozil was the heartbeat of everything and he decided to turn it on. Giroud’s goal was Ozil being that driving force and his pick out for Sanchez’s goal was a lovely cross with his right foot and finished off by Ozil’s lil flick of the GK.

    Have to admit though, Giroud’s miss was HORRENDOUS but good for him to still finish with a brace.

  10. Excellent result by our boys against a Huddlesfeld side that have given other clubs quite a bit of trouble.

    While we were second best for a large portion of the first half they never really threatened, they just kind were the better side. Our home form this season has been really good results wise.

    Ramsey was meh in the first half but seemed to up his level in the second with the whole team and this was certainly a performance that Ozil’s influence raised the levels of the players around him. Ramsey can be a good player especially when given time and space like he was, his problem comes when he is pressured even a bit and has to be the player in midfield who gives us the quick transitions. Xhaka was steady and Sead was a beast and Bellerin was good but needs to continue to build his confidence in his crossing.

  11. The biggest loss naturally is Lacazette who along with Sanchez and Ozil have really started to flourish together and I think they would have ripped Manure to pieces.

    I actually would go with Welbeck to give us that pace, energy and movement that works best with Ozil and Sanchez then we bring on Giroud in the 2nd half since we all know that Welbeck can’t go the full 90.

    The interesting sub was Jack coming in for Ramsey in midfield, which I think suits him and the team perfectly.

  12. @Damon

    I read your last comment and your right about Jack, the problem though with letting him build is that, like Ozil and Sanchez, his contract is up so to get him match time now in the PL would be perfect. I thought Huddlesfeld was the perfect chance for him to get 60 mins in a PL match but I would fancy we see him a couple of times in the PL coming up.

    The biggest question now is, will Jack sign a new deal if he isn’t a regular in the PL (which is a possibility with Ozil/Lacazette/Sanchez looking like they fit perfectly together) or will he wait to see what happens with Ozil and the summer transfer business. For instance, if we bring in Fekir to replace Ozil then I’m sorry Jack doesn’t get in the team because Fekir is a goal scoring #10 and the one thing Jack doesn’t offer is goals.

  13. Not such a bad November after all. All competitions, played 6, won 3, drawn 1, lost 2. Goals for 9, goals against 4.

    Premiership Fourth, Europa League Group winners, Carabao cup quarter finals.

  14. Great review yogi

    Wonderful passage of play in the second half. The whole team was excellent during that run. I know that Huddersfield has not scored away from home for 6 games but its still a bit of a surprise when we keep a clean sheet. The bigger surprise was the clean sheet at Burnley and credit to our team defense which looks to be playing pretty solid right now. We are not going to score more then 1 against ManU and the defense is going to be the critical element if we want a result in that game. Credit where its due and Arsene made a good decision to start a full strength team. 3 points in the bank against lower table teams in our home games is always critical and it takes a bit of pressure off the need to get a result in the ManU game. It looks like we are in another one of our annual runs of good form right now. We know the team will bottom out and hit a run of miserable form at some point again this season so we need to collect as many points as possible while we are playing well.

  15. The other thing is its quite funny how so many reports had players pissed and reportedly really ready for Sanchez and Ozil to leave and wanted them dropped but my oh my how that has changed and you now hear all the players talking about how important they are and how Arsenal need to keep them.

  16. Bad news about Lacazette. Hopefully Sanchez can pick up his scoring for the next few weeks to compensate. Lacazette has not been a prolific scorer but 1 goal every 2 games is probably more then we could have expected from Giroud and certainly a big upgrade from Welbeck. The thing I like about Lacazette is that he finishes well and rarely seems to waste a good chance. He probably needs to self create a few more of his own chances if he is going to be the prolific high scoring CF that we really need and hopefully we will see him doing more of that in the second half of the season

  17. Bill,

    The strange thing is that even with Lacazette’s 1 in 2 goal to game ratio, you also have to factor in that he didn’t start against Liverpool and Citeh but came on in both matches so that factors in.

  18. Oh, everyone’s a critic, eh JG?

    Speaking of which, the comment I’m about to release from moderation from a first time commenter is having a right pop at you lot. Oh? Me? Are you having a go at me? Not the brightest bulb in the box, are you Mike?

  19. Am I alone in feeling acute embarrassment reading the comments of so called Arsenal fans….. which planet to you need to live on and what sort of entitlement do they have to criticise a side winning 5 nil.
    Huddersfield could and should have taken a point off the Champions Elect??
    Citeh…the same citeh who scored in the 96th minute last night.
    I was at the match last night and would have loved to see fantasy football and a straightforward 3 points but that didn’t happen.
    Support your team and that means scrappy affairs away to Burnley as well as triumph at home to that lot down the road, if not fuck off and support them!

  20. “Support your team and that means scrappy affairs away to Burnley as well as triumph at home to that lot down the road, if not fuck off and support them!”

    I’ve worked it out, Mike. It’s a bad case of mistaken identity.

    You’ve mistaken me for someone who gives a shit what you think.

  21. C,

    I agree, Giroud’s miss was pretty horrendous. At least we got the Giroud who works hard around the pitch and tries to get on the end of things, rather than the Giroud who swans around and falls over at the slightest touch. I was amused by his Superman impersonation as the cross came in for the Alexis goal. I wonder how close he actually came to a hand ball.

  22. Wavey,

    It was horrendous, I really liked the fact that Giroud came in with a point to prove and more importantly, he got the tap-in which I think really raised his confidence; kudos to Ozil for putting it on a platter for him. Giroud’s flailing about and what not is so infuriating and that is why I would actually start Welbeck to keep that fire burning in Giroud’s belly. Yea, not even sure why he tried to go for that ball to Sanchez because it was clear it was meant for Sanchez because Giroud was past the ball and not even close to it.

  23. Mike,

    I normally don’t respond to comments like that but your getting lucky today.

    Here’s the thing, NOBODY on this blog doesn’t support Arsenal through the good times and bad times; hell there are some that have been supporting as long as I have been alive and longer (I’m 30 by the way) so to question anybody’s support or loyalty is not only absurd but exactly the type of bullshit that divides supporters.

    Just because somebody doesn’t support blindly doesn’t make them less of a supporter nor them admitting that the first half was ‘meh’ but the second half was superb make them less of a supporter either.

    Think about this, if Yogi didn’t support and love this club then WHY THE FUCK would he keep ACLF going through the bad times, if we didn’t support and love this club then why would we comment, surely people have lives, work and have other things to do other than come on an Arsenal blog and post over and over again even during the boring ass International breaks?

    Also, if you actually read the post Yogi enjoyed the 5-0 result and the fact that it went from a scruffy affair to a full on romp and could and should have been more.

    P.S. Giroud’s miss was appalling even for a U12 player let alone a full French International striker.

  24. I am choosing to focus on the second half which was very strong.
    Every good movement involved Özil.
    Nice to see LJW get 20 minutes.
    Good result.

  25. C

    Lacazette has been good and I am confident he will score when he gets into good positions. If Sanchez goes away we are going to need more then 1 goal in every 2 games. Most prolific strikers can create some their own chances and the only way Lacazette will turn into a golden boot winner is to self create. Hopefully we will see more of that in the second half of the season

  26. Mike,

    So if I don’t think my team played particularly well(on any given occasion)-and I’m critical of them………you’re telling me to fuck off and support Spurs?…..that lot down the road.
    I can’t see your logic-is it blind faith you think we should all have?So if we all followed your twatish remark we’d all (at some point) be supporting Spurs 😂😂
    You really are a king sized cock aren’t you?

  27. Bill,

    Having watched Lacazette for as long as I have (remember I have been wanting him for 3-4 years), he is a player who can self-create especially from a ‘meh’ chance. I think and know he will score more goals and quite a lot of goals time and time again. I think the thing with him is that he isn’t a volume shot type of goal scorer but he is ruthlessly efficient, for instance, he gets 2 chances a good there is an extremely good chance one of those chances ends in the back of the net. Then you have players like say Lukuka who will get 4-5 chances and will bury one (just think Lukuka cost more and has gone more matches without a goal since his barn-storming start to the season). The biggest question is what Sanchez will do and if he stays that will naturally boost our goals since he scores goals in splashes.

  28. Said it before and will say it again, having a stable back 3 or 4 makes all the difference. Clean sheet again, thanks to Mr. Cech and a world class save, but nonetheless a save.
    Lather rinse repeat please.
    Hudders have some very good players, hungry, tough and quick. They mean business and can see them staying up. But, they got tore up in a matter of minutes and Arsenal looked super going forward, and that was without Lacazette.
    6 minutes again for $h*ty to eek out a win, sounds like fergie time to me. They won the title a few years back with the same crap, on the last day, way into time.
    F them, and may the Arsenal beat that a$$ when they come to town and wreck their undefeated season.
    Now, onto more important things, such as beating manure, and starting their move towards the middle again with a hundred draws in a row, after losing to the Arsenal of course.

  29. C

    Lacazette is clinical and I don’t know the numbers but i agree that his conversion percentage is probably very high. However I would rather have my lead CF score 30 goals on 120 shots rather then someone who scores 18 goals on 50 shots. We don’t get extra credit for conversion percentage. It seems like Lacazette has scored almost every time he gets into a good position but he so far he has not been the create something out of nothing type player. If Sanchez leaves we will need more goals from Lacazaette and he is going to have to create his own chances and when you try to do that the conversion percentage is definitely going to decrease but we need volume of goals even if it means less efficiency.

  30. Lacazette and Sanchez have 11 total league goals in 14 games which is decent but we need more from the leading 2 scorers if we want to ever challenge for the top of the table instead of 4th. Both of those are good finishers and they would be scoring more if we were really creating quality chances. That is another reason why I don’t believe “chances created” is a useful stat. That and it does not meet the eye test.

  31. Wow — just finished my day job — nose glued to spreadsheets — makes it difficult to see what I am doing, but ……. no one understands them anyway! 😀

    Have had a look at the Arsenal MOTD offering and my observations on a few minutes of the 90 min game have probably already been analysed, but to hell with it — here goes;

    (1) Some crap passing by (Xhaha – who else? – well, actually, everyone else in the highlights it seemed wanted to panic pass).

    (2) Hudds could have scored a couple of goals on another day.

    (3) Some passages of exquisite passing featuring Mesut – and Rambo had some neat moves too.

    (4) Ummm — a brilliant scoreline.

    (5) Bloody ‘high lights’ means there is little relevant a person can say other than the above.

    I was told off last night for ‘ruining’ the meal because I kept looking up the score – well, I was paying — and it was worth it!! 😀

    The bits of the game I saw (as above) just confirms my belief that we do need a couple of transfer biggies in January, or at least in the summer — and despite the Gazidis ‘coup’ …….. I suspect that is wishful thinking. [Our two outgoing dudes, S & O, as Orse would have it, are going to be difficult to replace.]

  32. Aaron,

    I’m with you on the significance of our back four working so well together, a feature of the last three games. But this was helped last night by the urgency with which the rest treated their defensive duties (barring that bizarre half hour in the first half).
    I’m puzzled by Sanchez and his errors, also a repeating feature of late. I no longer assume when he gets the ball that he’s going to hang onto it, let alone do something dangerous with it. Anybody got a plausible explanation?

  33. Actually, Noon, I forgot to mention that (above) — well done for reminding me — well not about Belli, who, from what little I saw, seemed all over the place — but for praising the non-defence players getting back to help out the defenders, especially an effort by La Caz when he tracked right back to our bye line and helped out with a tackle and a clearance — I will overlook the fact it nearly led to Hudds scoring, but you cannot have everything. 😀

    But that ‘everyone defends mentality’ seems to have been a big improvement in our defensive improvement – at home anyway.

  34. We are currently on a solid run of good defensive form and that saved us against Burnley. You have to win games like the Burnley game in order to challenge for the top of the table. No team can win consistently if their strategy is attack all costs and hope that defense takes care of itself

  35. Hi, C,

    You will have to up your game in the light of Arsenal’s new man! 🙂

    Raul Sanllehi did his work behind the scenes at Barcelona, but his unrivalled contacts in the game is why the Catalan giants will miss him so much.

    Not a great deal is known about Arsenal’s new head of football relations, Raul Sanllehi. The 48-year-old’s arrival was confirmed by the club after months of speculation.

    According to Diario Gol director Albert Masnou, Barcelona will miss his excellent work and the extensive list of contacts he’s built during his time at the club.

    “He’s the best in the business at what he does,” Mansou told ESPN. “In reality, he’s worked in the shadows at Barca, almost unknown, but his work has been excellent.”

    Raul Sanllehi has joined Arsenal as Head of Football Relations.
    The hope is that Sanllehi will do a better job negotiating transfers than Dick Law did.

    The former worked on the huge transfers that saw Neymar and Luis Suarez join Barcelona, while also helping Barcelona sign Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic and Nelson Semedo.

    It seems he’ll work closely with new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, who will likely identify the targets while Sanllehi goes and gets the deal done.

    Sven Mislintat, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, has become Arsenal’s new Head of Recruitment.
    ESPN report that Sanllehi has connections from his time as one of three directors for the European Club Association.

    It’s that contact book that will hopefully help Arsenal secure good deals for players, as well as improve their commercial performance.

  36. A good summary and as usual good reflections on the game.Good comments bar one.You find a Mike on every blog.
    In all probability Sanchez will leave and Ozil might but I have never waivered my support for either especially Ozil.
    A really good team is built initially from defence, then midfield and finally attack.
    A bit late now but we should have added quality intelligent players to S and O and told Ozil not to venture back beyond the halfway line(like Cantona)and have cover for him.
    Now in all probability we lose both and have to spend at least 20% more to replace them as opposed to their value last Summer and also add to the squad so we can really challenge.Will Kroenke really invest on the pitch regardless who is manager ?

    Jack is a conundrum.One serious injury away and who knows,I would imagine if he wants to stay and recovers well he is an asset but it’s a huge risk.
    I feel for the much loved Santi and maybe being the decent club that we support they should arrange a sort of testimonial for him, which I am sure would be to a packed house.

    Finally being the decent club that we are I feel it would be nice to offer the much loved Santi a sort of testimonial, to what I am sure would be a packed house.

  37. Kelsey

    Nice to see you back. I would agree with most of your comments although I think you build a great team starting with a solid defense including the GK and DM. The defense does not have to be expensive but just well organized. Next step which is the most difficult and by far the most expensive is finding the goal scorers. Midfield creative attacking players usually do not score and they need the quality finishers and scorers in place in front of them. Once you have spent the money it take to get at least a couple of impact forwards then you can build the attacking midfield around them. Fergie’s best team in this century always had a league best defense and scorers like Ronaldo, Teves, Rooney, RVP etc and then he filled in the midfield with mostly role players. That’s not to say that midfield is unimportant but the defense prevents the other team from scoring and the forwards are the one who actually score. The last step is to build a midfield that can link cover the ground between them together which is that last part of the equation.

  38. I suspect nearly all of the bloggers on this site would agree that in 2013 spending $35M on Higuain or $50M on Suarez who were each potential golden boot winning CF’s would have been much better use of our money then spending $45M on a world class creative midfielder.

  39. Bill,

    Prolific strikers are largely reliant on the service they receive from……world class creative midfielders. So here is one blogger who disagrees with your premise that Higuain or Suarez would have been a better proposition.

  40. HenryB,

    Good thing I work in the shadows as well and who knows, he may pop his head in ACLF one day and next thing you know I’m working on his shadow team of deal makers and talent evaluators!

    One can dream can’t they 😊

  41. Bill,

    Sorry mate but one of the things about Higuain that actually infuriates supporters of the clubs and teams he plays for is the fact that he rarely gets involved in the build up, rarely creates his own goals BUT is world class at taking a half of a half chance and burying it with just a half turn.

  42. The other thing for me that infuriated me to no end waS Arsene’s comment about Ozil. He throws him under the bus and its fucking ridiculous that Arsene talked about Ozil finally doing what everybody else wanted to see, why is Arsene talking about Ozil tracking back, its not his fucking job; Silva doesn’t track back nor do you here Pep asking or talking about him doing it, you don’t here Mourinho asking or talking about Pogba or Mata tracking back but Arsene yet again throws Ozil under the bus.

    Fuck Arsene for that.

  43. Bill,

    Agree with C that Higuain needs service

    On the other hand, Suarez does not! He’s the one that got away and would’ve won us the league before making us a fortune going to Barca

    He carried a shite Pool side to within touching distance of the title. And missed the first eight games through suspension. Wasn’t he going better than a goal a game for a pretty prolonged period in that season?

  44. Woke up to see Sanchez has a hamstring problem.Not stated if he will play or not tomorrow. If he is semi fit i think he will play as with the B team playing a dead rubber next week it will give time for all to recharge their batteries.If he doesn’t it needs an exceptional performance from either Giroud and/or Welbeck (not seen that often) Ramsey is the key for me and maybe Jack needs to play, and that’s not even discussing the defence.

    I don’t see Mourinho parking the bus.They score freely but also concede and de gea has saved them more than once.
    We need that old chestnut CONSISTENTCY, and come out of the box as we did against Spurs.I believe we have beaten them in our last two Home games,but still extremely nervous..

  45. C:
    HenryB,

    Good thing I work in the shadows as well and who knows, he may pop his head in ACLF one day and next thing you know I’m working on his shadow team of deal makers and talent evaluators!

    One can dream can’t they 😊

    So true, C, baby, you are our secret player identifying blog scout — maybe that’s what you should specialise in? 🙂

  46. https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/nov/30/arsenal-refound-groove-arsene-wenger-jonathan-wilson

    We certainly could do with Alexis on board to double up to repeat the Spurs effort. And let’s face it this power shift bollocks was all media driven. I find it demeaning to sink to that level.

    United is the benchmark. Has been for a while.

    I will be at the first day/night Ashes to see the first pink bowled (plus looking up to Brisbane to see if we can pull off another coup in the rugby league final

    Need to work out where AFC fits in to the schedule

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