Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield: 3 Reasons why the Gunners won against Huddersfield
Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 21 games when they got the better of David Wagner’s side at the Emirates. The Gunners found it tough to break down Huddersfield’s stubborn resistance, yet a Lucas Torreira winner ensured that they leapfrogged their North London rivals Tottenham into the fourth position.
Like many a game this season, Arsenal were the worse starter as Huddersfield’s high-energy approach restricted Gunners’ freedom. Wagner’s men pressed from the outset and barely allowed Arsenal’s back three to build from the back.
Emery tried to shuffle his pack at half-time, bringing on Iwobi and Mkhitaryan. With the introduction of the aforementioned duo, the Spaniard also changed his system and reverted to the 4-2-3-1 that served him well initially.
Despite fluffing huge chances in the first half, the Gunners kept going and eventually broke the deadlock in the final ten minutes. The diminutive Uruguayan acrobatically finished off a move started by Guendouzi.
However, the victory also came at a cost for Arsenal with Mustafi going off for a suspected hamstring injury. Additionally, Sokratis picked up his fifth caution of the season which means that Arsenal would most likely head to Southampton with their already bare defensive chest emptier.
Despite the injury concerns marring their victory, the Gunners can still feel proud of their performance. Arsenal were nowhere near their best yet found a way to edge past a sticky opponent.
Thus, a closer look at how such a win was ground out is warranted. Through the course of this article, we would look at the three reasons that enabled the Gunners to notch their tenth win of the league campaign.
#3 Guendouzi’s creative spark
Unai Emery sprung a surprise with his starting line-up against Huddersfield. With Ramsey out injured, the Spaniard decided to start Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi in tandem for the first time. While the selections meant that the Gunners wouldn’t get too exposed defensively, it also meant that they lacked an obvious creator in midfield.
Though all three are brilliant at dictating the tempo of the game, none possesses the amount of guile the likes of Ozil and Ramsey do.
The Gunners laboured for the majority of the match. However, in the second half, they amped up the pressure. Despite enjoying a lion’s share of the possession during that period, they failed to carve out any opportunities.
Just when it seemed that the Gunners were heading for a drab stalemate, Guendouzi stepped up. The half-time tweak to the system allowed the French teenager more freedom and he used that freedom with aplomb.
Accorded time and space in the middle of the park, the Frenchman clipped a perfectly weighted ball over the defence and into Aubameyang’s path. The Gabonese striker brought it under his spell adroitly and set up Torreira for his acrobatic finish.
A few minutes before the goal as well, Guendouzi played a smashing ball over the top which just eluded Bellerin. Moreover, he was a constant menace on the left side of midfield and linked constantly with Kolasinac and Iwobi.
On a day when arguably two of Arsenal’s biggest creative talents were absent, the teenager picked up the baton and helped unlock a defence that seemed impenetrable.
Thus, without a shadow of a doubt, Guendouzi and his sublime artistry were one of the major reasons for the Gunners’ hard-fought victory.