ARSENAL 5-HUDDERSFEILD 0 GUNNERS GUN DOWN VISITORS
Iv been writing for Yougetmouth for almost a year now and i can tell you categorically that i dislike Midweek fixtures. They always seem to be played at a nonchalant pace that you don’t get to observe from the more traditional Weekend games. Arsenal usually fall under the trap of complacency in these fixtures and they always seem to ruin their season. Remember Watford last year, the 2-1 defeat that eventually kicked off a run of poor results that effectively ended Arsenal’s title hopes. This season it was Huddersfield a modest newly promoted side that are not the worst playing team around, after all they had famously defeated Manchester United earlier in the season. But in any shape, way or form they were not expected to give the in form Gunners any headache.
After a first half that promised to be easy pickings following Lacazettes’s goal on 3mins, the Gunnners then went into casual mode, misplacing passes, running into dead ends and generally showing disjointed play more than anything else. The visitors who had conceded early and were fearing the worst soon saw that the gunners were only flattering to deceive and found a bit of confidence and had several chances to equalize.But thaks to saves from Petr Cech and some last ditch defending from Monreal and co the result could have been different.
Lacazette fires Arsenal ahead.
But a devastating second-half goal was more than enough to keep the Gunners in their cosy comfort zone on the outer fringes of the title race.
Now they have the chance to show that this time they really mean business when Manchester United come calling this weekend
Arsene Wenger now how has more help than he knows what to do with following the appointment of Raul Sanllehei as head of football relations this week.
The Spaniard joins the club’s recently appointed head of recruitment, director of high performance and contract negotiator in Wenger’s backroom team.
But it’s the old Fox Wenger himself who still makes all the big decisions. And he’s not going to give up any of that power in a hurry.
Wenger had hinted that this week’s three games in the space of seven days would be the opportunity for his fringe players to finally get some Premier League action under their belts.
Yet Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Francis Coquelin were still stuck on the bench as the manager stuck with what is starting to appear as his trusted starting line-up.
And it is a fair bet that none of them will be in the starting line-up against United on Saturday evening.
The only change to the team which had won at Burnley on Sunday was the return of Mesut Ozil from the mystery illness which had suddenly laid him low on the eve of the trip to Turf Moor.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner made six alterations to the team which had run itself into the ground chasing shadows against Manchester City at the weekend.
But it didn’t make a scrap of difference as they were ripped apart by Arsenal’s first attack of the evening to leave them with a mountain to climb.
Granit Xhaka’s third minute pass forward was flicked on by Aaron Ramsey to send Alexandre Lacazette clear of Wagner’s experimental defence for his seventh goal in an Arsenal shirt.
The £54million Frenchman has been a bit of a slow burner since becoming the club’s record signing in the summer but is gradually starting to look the part as he acclimatises to the pace of the English game.
What a pity that the Emirates was still half empty when Lacazette stamped his authority on the game early on.
They away fans had travelled in hope more than expectation considering their team had not scored away from home since their opening day victory at Crystal Palace.
And there was little to suggest that they were about to break that seven-match drought as they struggled to break out of their own half for any length of time.
It was a good job for Huddersfield that their hosts were in such a generous mood, regularly surrendering possession at the drop of a hat.
Sead Kolasinac should have put the game beyond reach in the 33rd minute but somehow contrived to shoot over from a yard out after Lacazzette’s clever chip had been hooked out from under his own bar by Martin Cranie.
It summed up Arsenal’s lackadaisical approach that they simply shrugged their shoulders at such sloppiness and continued to look for the Hollywood pass.
And they could have paid the price for their arrogance when Colin Quaner was allowed a free run at goal just before the half-time interval. But the German never looked convincing as he bore down on Petr Cech and a poor touch allowed Laurent Koscielny enough time to get back to make a crucial block.
Quaner had another go shortly after the break and at least he was able to test Cech’s reflxes this time with a slow shot which the Arsenal keeper saved with an outstretched leg.
There was another let-off for Arsenal when Steve Mounie’s shot ballooned up off Nacho Monreal and Cech shovelled the ball against the bar as he struggled to make his ground.
But Huddersfield’s hopes were firmly crushed midway through the second-half by a magnificent burst of three Arsenal goals in the space of four minutes.
Giroud scores his second of the night
Olivier Giroud, on as a half-time replacement for Lacazette, started the landslide when he finished off a breath-taking exchange of passes between Ozil, Kolasinac and Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez turned from provider to finisher seconds later when he buried another peach of a delivery from Ozil.
So it was fitting that the German playmaker who still divides opinion after five seasons at the Emirates should have the final word when he raced on to Aaron Ramsey’s through ball to shoot beyond the advancing Jonas Lossl.
But Arsenal were still not finished and with Huddersfield begging for the final whistle Giroud struck again following more good approach work from Kolasinac.
This may have been an easy pie for Arsenal, but Manchester United will not be that easy come saturday and with news that Lacazette will be missing The gunners will need to be more serious than they were during aspects of this match.