Report and highlights as Gunners leave it late
Last Updated: 08/12/18 6:06pm
Lucas Torreira’s late overhead kick gave Arsenal a hard-fought 1-0 win over Huddersfield and extended their unbeaten run to 21 games.
Unai Emery’s side were frustrated for long periods during a tetchy encounter at the Emirates but Torreira’s acrobatic effort from close range (83) was enough to secure all three points for the hosts.
Referee Paul Tierney was kept busy with nine players booked in total, three for simulation, as tempers flared either side of the break while Alexandre Lacazette had a goal controversially disallowed for offside in the first half.
The win lifts Arsenal to third in the table while Huddersfield drop into the relegation places after a third defeat on the bounce.
Arsenal: Leno (6), Bellerin (7), Sokratis (7), Mustafi (6), Lichtsteiner (6), Kolasinac (7), Torreira (8), Xhaka (6), Guendouzi (7), Lacazette (6), Aubameyang (6)
Subs: Iwobi (6), Mkhitaryan (6), Monreal (N/A)
Huddersfield: Lossl (6), Smith (6), Zanka (6), Kongolo (7), Schindler (7), Lowe (6), Hogg (7), Williams (7), Mooy (7), Pritchard (7), Depoitre (6)
Subs: Bacuna (6), Hadergjonaj (6), Durm (6)
Man of the match: Lucas Torreira
Huddersfield began brightly, playing the ball around with confidence and snapping into tackles when they lost possession as Arsenal struggled to get going.
There was little in the way of chances before the game sprung to life just before the half hour as Arsenal missed two glorious opportunities in the space of two minutes.
Firstly, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, unmarked in the middle of the area, diverted Granit Xhaka’s cross-cum-shot wide from six yards and then Lacazette lost his footing and fired over from 12 yards after being found by Matteo Guendouzi.
A flurry of yellow cards followed as Arsenal’s players became irritated by some robust Huddersfield challenges and responded in kind but it was the decision to rule out Lacazette’s strike shortly before half-time that really riled the home fans and players alike.
Arsenal made three changes to the side that drew at Manchester United with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette coming in for Rob Holding, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi. There was still no Mesut Ozil in the 18.
David Wagner also made three changes to the Huddersfield side after their loss at Bournemouth. In came Tommy Smith, Chris Lowe and Danny Williams, making way were Florent Hadergjonaj, Philip Billing and Erik Durm.
The Frenchman was offside as Aubameyang flicked the ball on but Mathias Jorgensen intercepted it, only to under-hit his pass back to Jonas Lossl, allowing Lacazette to round the goalkeeper and finish. However, the assistant referee deemed that it was all the same phase of play and raised his flag the moment the striker touched the ball.
With the home side still raging at that decision, Huddersfield had the chance to anger them further as Tommy Smith pulled the ball back for Alex Pritchard, who had the freedom of the penalty area, only for the midfielder to blaze it over the bar from eight yards.
Emery made a double change at half-time, introducing Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but after an initial burst at the start of the second period, the game reverted to the same pattern as the first.
Chances remained hard to come by before Guendouzi, who had been booked for diving minutes earlier, clipped a lovely ball to the far post. After a brief scramble, Aubameyang managed to dig out a cross and Torreira was waiting inside the six-yard box to apply the athletic finish.
Huddersfield pushed for an equaliser without success but it was not all good news for Arsenal, who will be without Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi for their next league game at Southampton.
Both received their fifth bookings of the season, leaving Laurent Koscielny, who returned to the matchday squad on Saturday after seven months out, as their only available centre-back.
Man of the match – Lucas Torreira
It has taken less than half a season but Torreira already seems to have established himself as Arsenal’s key man. They were far from their best against a combative Huddersfield but, even putting aside his match-winning overhead kick, the central midfielder was always involved.
He put his foot in when needed and despite being on the end of a number of hefty challenges, never shied away from the next one. His curling effort from distance forced Jonas Lossl into a fine save at the end of the first half but seven minutes from time, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to deny him.
- Arsenal are now 21 games unbeaten in all competitions (W16 D5 L0); their longest run without a defeat since November 2007 (28 unbeaten).
- Huddersfield have lost nine of their last 10 top-flight matches against Arsenal (W1), failing to score in each defeat.
- There were just two shots on target in this game, the fewest in a Premier League clash since Watford v Stoke on October 28th 2017 (also two).
- Arsenal haven’t lead at half-time in any of their 16 Premier League games this season, drawing 12 and losing four.
- Unai Emery’s Arsenal have made 14 substitutions before the start of the second-half in their 16 Premier League matches this season, more than any other side and five more than Arsene Wenger made with the Gunners in the whole of 2017-18 (9).
Arsenal host Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday, having already secured qualification from the group, before travelling to Southampton on Super Sunday.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield have a week to prepare for next Saturday’s home game against Newcastle.