Arsenal Leave It Late To Secure Precious Points

Online Ed: Torreira pops up again to seal home win v Huddersfield

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Ed’s note – My thanks to Charlie Ashmore for covering me for the piece on the game yesterday as I was not able to attend.

It's easy to moan at teams at the bottom end of the table who come to the Emirates and set out their stall to frustrate, irritate and time waste. But why shouldn't they? We can't expect them to come and open themselves up, giving us a free rein to attack at will. It is of course up to the referees to do their jobs properly and ensure that what they do is within the rules of the game and today the referee manifestly failed in that duty.

In the first half he repeatedly allowed them to get away with fouls which should have merited yellow cards and had he done the right thing early on he would have properly set the boundaries for Huddersfield's approach. As it was he let them get away with countless fouls designed to break up our play which they achieved to good effect. The end result of that was that by the time he started dishing out the yellow cards our players had had enough and were biting back so that they got caught in the flurry of cards that did eventually materialise even managing to end the first half leading the card count.

The big fear for today was a sending off. The big fear for next week is that it looks as if both Lichtsteiner and Sokratis will be suspended for the next game which with Holding out and Mustafi looking like he will be out having limped off with an apparent hamstring injury (Ed’s note – I think he is also suspended for five bookings anyway), leaves us picking two or three from Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka and Jenkinson to be our defence.

As for the football, we started slowly and took a long time to get going. We created little of note in the first half and they created less so it was one of those annoying stop start niggly type of games. A controversial decision to disallow Lacazette’s goal for offside when the last touch was by a Huddersfield player got the crowd agitated, Aubameyang put one wide when he might have done better and Lacazette slipped as he shot from the edge of the box putting it high over, but there was little else of note.

As is becoming traditional already Emery shook things up at half time with Lacazette and Lichtsteiner (booked for his usual in yer face reaction to a foul on a teammate) being replaced at half time by Iwobi and Mkhitaryan. Both brought a bit more directness to the play but both frustrated in equal measure. Iwobi, whilst producing a couple of the mazy twisty turny runs only he seems capable of in our squad, also managed on numerous occasions to make my first touch look good (and believe me I am no footballer). Mkhitaryan feels like he is a good player trying to burst out of a player who just cannot quite deliver and end product. The comparison has been made with Theo and I can understand that.

As the second half wore on a head of steam built up despite the referee’s failure to get a grip on the time wasting in particular. It felt as if any winner would come from us though there was a dangerous moment on 77 minutes when my neighbour Matt’s prediction that this felt like the sort of game to be won by a scrappy 78th minute goal threatened to come true with a Huddersfield corner but it came to naught.

In the end the winner did come from us and a bit of a peach it was too with Guendouzi feeding Aubameyang who did well to keep the ball alive and saw his chip back into the box met with a spectacular scissor kick from Torreira (any other player would have just stooped and nodded the ball in but Torreira is after all giving any other player a lot of inches in height!). Suddenly Huddersfield were in a hurry and we showed signs that we were indeed learning about game management, seeing the game out with few alarms and if anything we could and perhaps should have extended the lead.

21 games unbeaten in all competitions now and whilst we cannot continue to expect to turn matches round in the second half from losing or drawing positions, our continued ability to do so and to get these results bodes well and reflects a significant change in mindset and approach under Emery.

He now has a real challenge of finding a workable defence at a time when our options are severely limited and games are coming thick and fast. Expect to see one or two youngsters in the Premier League over the next 4 weeks I would suggest.

It wasn't great. It wasn't pretty. But a win is a win is a win and winning breeds the sort of confidence that enables teams to keep going and continue to deliver results when not playing well.

The early signs continue to impress and I am looking forward to Emery's work on the defence over the next couple of transfer windows. In the meantime, let's keep enjoying this run.


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  1. mbg

    Dec 10, 2018, 18:22 #112681

    markymark, and Ramsey would have had his demands met and new contract all signed, sealed, and delivered under wenger also as he was another favourite of TOF, i'd say Ramsey would take/agree to a lot less now to get staying, but obviously the manager isn't interested. I'd imagine a lot of the players found a big change when they realised there was no more favourites.

  2. The Man From UNCLE

    Dec 10, 2018, 07:27 #112680

    I saw it online and my goodness the heart was in the mouth when Sokratis bundled their bloke over towards the end but a good win. To be fair to the old fraud we did win plenty of games like that under his watch. But we got to start going in at half time in front. Can't keep on relying on second half get the results.


    Dec 9, 2018, 20:04 #112679

    I agree that the injuries list is a real worry presently & I wish the club would be a bit more forthcoming about the lengthy absence of "the young Greek boy". At 20 he should have been as fit as a flea & great things were apparently expected of him. Does he exist? It's a real puzzler.

  4. markymark

    Dec 9, 2018, 18:53 #112678

    Bard - I’m sure we will here far less sentimental tosh coming out of Arsenal. Danny Welbeck ( great guy ) is going to be shipped I hear. Under Wenger it’ll have been a new contract guaranteed even if there was minimal hope of resurectung a career. Sanhelli sounds a right b’stard and quite frankly this has been needed for years at Arsenal. Every successful club is based on ruthless decision making. Players will be sold to fit our tactical model. Hence Ramsay will be sold however well he plays. New boss has new ideas and he doesn’t fit. It’s a great time to be an Arsenal Supporter again I’ve also noticed the disappearance of “Rainbow boys” comments from Chelsea supporters as well. Arsenal are regaining respect .

  5. mbg

    Dec 9, 2018, 18:13 #112677

    Ii's always so satisfying to beat a team who come and do that, to see them scurrying for the ball after we score is hilarious especially the keeper, i love it.

  6. Bard

    Dec 9, 2018, 17:46 #112676

    Scrappy old game but we got the job done. I agree I think Mesut will be on his way, freeing up a huge amount of money. We need a couple of defensive reinforcements urgently. I know it's old news but it does make you realise how rubbish we were under Wenger and how long it went on for. The board lacked the nous and the balls to sort it out, the neglect is extraordinary. Come on Unai.

  7. markymark

    Dec 9, 2018, 16:50 #112675

    Just read that Reiss Nelson is now 2nd only to Kylian Mbappe for goals / age. Incredible stuff so at least we have wing play options available assuming of course he can transition successfully into PL. Defensively we must dip into the market in January

  8. mbg

    Dec 9, 2018, 16:41 #112674

    If we'd have taken the chances we had/made we wouldn't have had to rely on the late goal, it's great that we're making the chances but we're going to have to start putting them away, far to many are going to waste and being missed, we could have very easily paid the price yesterday.

  9. GeorgeBung

    Dec 9, 2018, 14:33 #112673

    Frustrating game to watch with a few iffy referee decisions but we managed to win in the end. As the guy next to me said sometimes you have to win ugly and that probably wouldn't of happened last season. I do wish Iwobi would stop over complicating things and play the simple ball instead of trying to take on the entire opposition defence. Good to see Nacho back.

  10. RobG

    Dec 9, 2018, 13:53 #112672

    Very, very difficult to argue with a 21 match unbeaten run. And we've put some top class performances in during that time, against high quality opposition - Spurs, Liverpool, Utd., - so huge credit to the squad. I think we're flying by the seat of our pants at times, defensively. But that's the way of it. What I like, is that we have now got back our 'stickability' and determination and these were characteristics we did not have very much of, in the last five years. So full credit to UE in particular for that. Holding's loss is a real blow and apparently we can't call Chambers back. So it will be interesting to see if we make any moves in January ?

  11. GoonerRon

    Dec 9, 2018, 11:47 #112671

    Absolutely crucial 3 points at a time when we weren’t playing well. Great that Leno had hardly anything to do as well - over the last three games we’ve conceded far fewer chances than we have done previously. I think Lichsteiner is available next week (wasn’t it Sokratis and Mustafi with their 5th yellows?), but it will certainly be a patch up job in defence. Presumably most first teamers will be rested on Thursday ahead of possibly a back three of Monreal, Koscielny and Lichsteiner (or Jenkinson) against Southampton. Let’s just keep winning, however the three points come about.

  12. markymark

    Dec 9, 2018, 10:41 #112670

    21 games now which is a spectacular run . Particularly during a time when Emery was learning about the team. The defensive crisis could in my opinion see the ending of Mesut. A token fee to release £350,000 a week could be used on much needed defensive cover in January

  13. Deighty

    Dec 9, 2018, 10:33 #112669

    Your first couple of paragraphs can sum up the last 15 years for me with regard to refereeing. Since the Ferguson / Aladyce collusion that Arsenal don’t like it up ‘em, referees have followed that mantra often allowing visiting teams to get away with card worthy fouls because they are getting stuck in (that’s what you do against Arsenal, right). Then the first challenge or retaliation from us gets the 1st card of the game. Anyway, a good win, deserved. We were still putting in proper effort till the end of the match. Would not have seen that last season.