Huddersfield Review: Torreira To Arsenal’s Rescue

Arsenal 1 – 0 Huddersfield Town

There really isn’t any point in holding a supporters’ Player of the Season vote for 2018/19. Just hand the trophy to Lucas Torreira; it’s his and in all honesty, it should the most one-sided vote in history. The diminutive Uruguayan produced an overhead kick to break the deadlock close to the end of normal time.

It was a hard-fought win with Huddersfield battling hard and it came at a cost. Next weekend’s trip to Southampton is without the suspended Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi, our two fit senior centre-backs. Laurent Koscielny will presumably fill one of the berths but could find two full-backs either side of him.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal can fill those roles or will one of the academy players be promoted? It’s a risk; Koscielny has yet to finish 90 minutes in his two comeback matches. He made the bench for this match but when defensive changes were made, he wasn’t called upon. Caution on Unai Emery’s part no doubt but not inspiring confidence that he is fully fit.

Post-match, Emery suggested the two experienced players will be in a back three, if that’s the way he decides to play that way:

Now, I don’t know how we are going to play next week, but we have players. Stephan played at centre back today and had a good performance in Manchester with good commitment. Koscielny is also coming back, Nacho Monreal too. We’ll have players.

We know we’ll have players, just not the ones we want. Mustafi’s hamstring twang isn’t serious, judging by the coach’s comments and a rest for this week and next ought to put things right. Back in time for the second NLD in ten days?

Those problems are for another day’s contemplation. Emery has enough on his mind from this match.

Sharp Eyes, Dull Mind?

We were distinctly ordinary. Had Alexandre Lacazette’s goal stood as it should have done, things might have turned out differently.  I’m far from convinced we would have used that as the inspiration to score a hatful. Too many players were off-key.

What angers me more about the offside is that the official spotted the initial offside at full pelt when his peer couldn’t see one from a deadball situation on Wednesday. How is that possible? Yes, I know; they guessed; one got it right, one wrong.

Yet the offside should surely not apply after the defender made a deliberate pass back to the goalkeeper. That he underhit it is irrelevant. He was in control of the situation and effectively, a new passage of play had begun.

Lacazette and Aubameyang as a duo didn’t work today in the way it had against Tottenham. The Frenchman was hooked at half-time with Mkhitaryan replacing him. Additionally, Alex Iwobi came on as we switched to a back four to try to give more width.

That didn’t work particularly well either. Mkhitaryan is a pale shadow of the player whose blistering season at Dortmund made him a wanted man across Europe. His touch is lethargic in attack but he does work hard in defensive duties. However, in a match such as this, it’s the attacking third where he will be noticed. Or not.

That typifies how poor we were. It’s all relative; the standards set are those by which we judge the players and the bar sits on a lofty perch. There is also an element of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. The intensity of the derby and then Manchester United away was bound to drain the players mentally. That played into an overall flatness.

We Are The Arsenal: Learn The Lessons

It didn’t help that we picked up stupid bookings. Three players received a yellow card for ‘simulation’ and the only one which looks dubious is Mustafi’s. He was caught on the sole of the foot, which was a foul no matter how slight. Enough for a penalty? It would have been soft, that’s for certain. Simulation with contact is a tough decision to make.

Which begs the question why Mr Tierney didn’t book Depoitre for simillar simulation later in the game when he went shoulder-to-fresh-air with Sokratis.

Therein is the rub. Not that Depoitre getting away with it, just the sheer lack of consistency from officials. Maybe VAR will bring that over time; I’m not holding my breath. But until we get some kind of consistency, referees are always going to be the butt of invective. Maybe allowing them to speak in a controlled environment post-match is the first step?

And those players today must look at themselves and take on-board the consequences of their actions.

Meanwhile, it’s now 21 matches unbeaten. Bogey grounds and teams are coming and going without beating us. Sometimes you must win ugly in these runs and we may need to do so against Southampton following yellow cards received today.

13 thoughts on “Huddersfield Review: Torreira To Arsenal’s Rescue

  1. bigbrovar says:

    One thing about this arsenal is how hard we are to beat or even play against. The games against Sp*rs and Manure definitely took it’s toll as did the lack of a playmaker and someone to link defence to attack. Guendouzi, Xhaka, Torreira are all not natural playmakers. On games like this is where we could have done with the skill set of Ozil.

  2. Sini star says:

    So they rescheduled the Spurs game against leicester because they play Barcelona on tuesday. I Dont recall the f.a doing same for us when we were in similar situations in the champions league . I sure hope Barcelona Dishes out a good Hinding to those Swampers.

  3. YW says:

    The PL fixtures rules are that if you play Tuesday in UCL, you must play Saturday. Frankly, I’ve never heard of a team playing Tuesday facing a Saturday night game. If it had been moved to Friday Sini Star, I think you’d have a valid complaint. As it is, Tottenham got shafted, good and proper.

  4. Jonnygunner says:


    I almost want Spurs to qualify for CL and get knocked out in their first draw…..this is what you could’ve won…,if they drop into the EUFA we may up against them.

  5. ferkov says:

    Can you tolerate all the media jizz over their Spudbabes. Dirty cheats

  6. Blue Yonder says:

    Coming on the heels of a structure-less game at MU, the undisciplined performance against Huddersfield has to be raising red flags for Emery. Or should be. Not many plaudits to go around yesterday but plenty of brickbats. Not only is Mkhitaryan a puzzle but Iwobi has lost his early- season flair and demonstrates a heavy first touch. And for all their goal-scoring, both Aubameyang and Lacazette still miss some fairly easy chances.
    And now the injuries. Who’d be a manager?

  7. Blue Yonder says:

    Another exhibition of slo-mo passing sideways and backwards, giving Huddersfield time to cover all the spaces, and achieving nothing. Arsenal have shown themselves to be capable of so much more so why this? It’s certainly not Emery’s style because they’ve been doing it since the later-Wenger years. Possibly only new personnel at the back will cure it.

  8. MikeSA says:

    Lack of a creative CM yesterday was particularly noticeable.

    Funny how hoof and hope and headless chicken stuff doesn’t work very well against a well organized side.

    You can have the most prolific goal scorers on the planet in your team but without someone (cough Ozil cough), to feed them you might as well give them deck chairs, a good book, and a six pack of beers each to pass the time whilst they’re on the pitch.

  9. Aaron says:

    It is not easy to break down teams that time waste, play overly physical one on ones, serially foul, grab shirts, shorts and bump you into oblivion. Even man$h*tty would have a difficult time. Hudds as a team should have had 3 yellows in first 15 minutes, and Laca’s goal should have stood, thereby forcing them to come out and play. Also humans are not robots and performance was going to drop after the last 2 games, and if you do not believe it to be physical just ask Holding how that worked out for him, and that kid is strong.

  10. thrillbo says:

    Not sure i agree that we were slow sideways and backwards. Both sides were basically pressing as high as possible and forcing long balls. It was like that for most of the game honestly.

    One thing that i find interesting with this year. Teams used to sit back and let us pass ourselves to a draw or late blowup and a loss. When teams actually tried to play ball with us we would tear them to shreds. Now teams are pressing us all the way up the pitch but we sometimes struggle to make progress. A top side that wants to possess the ball should have a field day with teams that press. All you need is one little trick, fake out, touch etc to bypass your man and BOOM the field opens up.

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