What's that Flip?
Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield Town
The third game in a week arrived in the form of a home match against Huddersfield Town. With legs and most fans a bit weary, a lacklustre display both on and off the pitch was predicted, the Terriers would no doubt be up for it, nipping at heals, how much fuel would be in the Gunners tank?
The team news presented Arsenal fans with some confidence....
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Torreira, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Thats got be enough to beat Huddersfield at home..... right?
This game can be summed up in a few words, as if you were naming Santas reindeer, Possession, Pressing, Misses, Yellow and Diver! This was not a routine stroll in the park, Huddersfield came with a game plan and ruthlessly stuck to it, they didn't come to compete they just tried to contain and who can blame them. Unfortunately that's what the Premiership has become, in years gone by teams like Huddersfield would arrive at Highbury, try and play it long and get put to the sword 4 or 5-0, not any more!
Huddersfield pressed with all their mite, which disrupted Arsenal's fluency, but didn't stop them creating chances, Lacazette and Aubameyang with absolute 'sitters' in the first half. Xhaka was booked for diving and rightly so but the sense from it was he probably was trying to show the referee how many times Arsenal were being fouled. A kind of... "look ref, I know I don't need to go down but it's foul mate" (in a Swiss accent).
Paul Tierney was having none of it!
The officials in this match were woeful, truly woeful. Arsenal ended up with three yellows for dives which made the headlines but the amount of foul play by the visitors was the real story, three yellows for them before halftime for bad tackles; Lichtsteiner, Guendouzi and Torreira all lucky to escape serious injury.
Chances came and went, both Aubameyang and Lacazette missing absolute sitters for the second game in a row. Xhaka nearly did a 'Xhaka' by misplacing a pass to the opposition which resulted with a glorious chance missed, Torriera warmed the hands of the keeper with a good effort and Sokratis got himself booked and suspended with a pathetic attempt of a dive. A ten from Len it wasn't.
Half-time 0-0 and the feeling was a 'turgid one'.
Emery played his party trick by making a double substitution at the start of the second half with Mkhitaryan and Iwobi coming on for Lichtsteiner and Lacazette.
Did this change much?
The half played out with a lot of huff but not a lot of puff. Mykitaryan did his best in that 'laid back' way but never really got Arsenal firing, Huddersfield simple played for time, fouling and time wasting as much as was possible.
The Arsenal chances became more desperate, Xhaka going for a shot from way too far out, the corners were poor not clearing the first man and everyone in the ground was beginning to feel the 0-0 coming.
Everyone except a guy that's only five foot five that is!
With the game entering the 83rd minute Guendouzi played a nice cross to the back post, Auba took a touch, crossed it and there was our little battler with a scissor kick finish from Torreira from close range.
Glorious finish and to be fair the only bit of quality in the whole 90 minutes! ...1-0 to The Arsenal!
The ref did his best to win an Oscar for being the 'villain of the piece' by adding 7 minutes on at the end but Huddersfield were never looking for a goal in this match, so switching on and having to try and find one was never going to be easy.
Positives: Not many, but Torriera's goal and the unbeaten run continuing.
Negatives: The dives and an injury to Mustafi. Dropping like flies at the back!
Leno: Looked shaky from crosses but did enough. 6/10
Bellerin: Worked hard. 7/10
Lichtsteiner: Looked tired. 5/10
Mustafi: Panto season will soon be here, the German now injured for it. 5/10
Sokratis: Stupid booking. 4/10
Kolasinac: Better going forward, still can't defend. 5/10
Guendouzi: A lot of running and positive play. 7/10
Xhaka: A bit marmite. 6/10
Torreira: Great finish, not everything came off but love his energy. MOM: 7/10
Aubameyang: Huffed, puffed and missed. 6/10
Lacazette: Huffed, puffed, missed and got hooked. 5/10
Mykitaryan: Tried, but just doesn't do it for me for £300k a week. 6/10
Iwobi: Better from the bench for me. 6/10
Monreal: Did a job. 6/10
Next up it's the Europa League and Carrier Bag. A chance to finish top of the group.