Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield Town: Lucas Torreira’s superb late winner clinches victory
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Arsenal hosted Huddersfield Town at the Emirates on Saturday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report
Lucas Torreira’s superb 83rd minute winner clinched the three points to extend Arsenal’s unbeaten run to 21 games as the North Londoners beat Huddersfield Town 1-0.
Just as it seemed David Wagner’s Terriers would frustrate the home side Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s persistence on the byline saw the ball flew into the box.
The former Sampdoria star performed a spectacular overhead kick to beat visiting keeper Jonas Lossl to hand the home side the points.
Unai Emery had drafted Alex Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner into his starting XI as Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan dropped to the bench while Rob Holding suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury during the 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
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Despite hobbling off with cramp late on during the Arsenal U21s 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday Laurent Koscielny made the substitutes bench as did fit again Nacho Monreal, while starlet Eddie Nketiah was also named as a replacement for the second Premier League game in a row this week.
Arsenal host the Terriers on the back of an unbeaten run of 20 games in all competitions this season, winning 15 of them.
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David Wagner’s side came into the game in 17th position on 11 points having lost their last two matches.
The German made three team changes with Danny Williams, Chris Lowe and Tommy Smith returning in a bid to improve on their record of one win in their last 10 away league matches.
Philip Billing, Steve Mounie, both suspended, and Abdelhamid Sabiri, missing through injury, were the only players unavailable for the Yorkshiremen.
In a shapeless opening half an hour the only real chance was a flowing move on 28 minutes when Matteo Guendouzi fed Granit Xhaka on the right before the Swiss midfielder played the ball into the feet of the onrushing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose connection narrowly flew past Jonas Lossl’s left-hand post.
Referee Paul Tierney was forced to book six players during a fractious opening 45 minutes with three from each side as the Terriers held out until the break after Lossl’s spectacular one-handed save denied Torreira moments before the interval.
Emery continued his policy of bold tactical changes during the break hauling off Lichtsteiner and Lacazette to replace them with Henrik Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi.
However, the game continued in the same vein during the second half as the Terriers continually attempted to run down the clock by employing petty time-wasting tactics – much to the ire and annoyance of the frustrated Emirates crowd.
Terriers captain Tommy Smith pulled his hamstring and was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Florent Haderegjonaj while Mustafi hobbled off a short while later as Monreal made his comeback as the home side attempted to find a way past a resolute Terriers defence.
Goundouzi became the eighth player to be booked and, concerningly, the third Arsenal man to be booked for diving as the clock ticked down on what would shaping up to be a frustrating afternoon.
That was until Torreira’s late intervention to seal the victory as well as add further weight to the notion the tenacious midfielder with superb technique should be considered to be in the frame for footballer of the year.
After his tremendous effort against an obdurate Huddersfield side not many Arsenal fans would disagree.