Arsenal Vs Huddersfield Town: Highlights and analysis from blistering win

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Arsenal hosted Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night in the Premier League. Here is the full recap, all the highlights and analysis of the 5-0 victory.

It was not the convincing win that the early goal would have suggested. Arsene Wenger paid Huddersfield Town the credit they deserved, even with Manchester United on their way to the Emirates at the weekend, by fielding a full-strength Arsenal team. And it was a good job he did. Although the Gunners would end the game with the three points in the bag, as the 5-0 scoreline may belie, this was not as comfortable as it perhaps may have seemed. There was some truly wonderful football played. But it could have been changed, had the bounce of the ball been ever so slightly different.

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It could not have started any better for Arsenal. Against a disciplined and industrious opposition, the key is the early goal. Get that, and the confidence begins to flow. Arsenal most certainly got it.

Spraying the ball around the midfield area with great zip and precision, patiently waiting for their moment, Arsenal suddenly sprung into life. A fired pass into the feet of Aaron Ramsey. A lovely flick onto Alexandre Lacazette, who looked sensationally sharp throughout. A calm, composed, curled finish into the bottom corner. 1-0. It was as simple, and sumptuous, as that.

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That confidence, while clearly evident in the pace and precision of Arsenal’s passing, at least until the half-hour mark, that is, did not yield more goals. Lacazette continued to threaten with his movement, darting into the channels with a razor cutting edge, showing electric pace and surprising robustness to collect and then hold onto the ball. It was Lacazette that came the closest to extending the scoring, after he scampered on Granit Xhaka’s pass, which wasn’t initially meant for him, curved away from goal and looked to spin and loop an effort up and over the onrushed Jonas Lossl. His inventive shot was on goal, but Huddersfield were eventually able to clear off the line.

It was at this point that sloppiness began to seep into the Gunners’ play. Shkodran Mustafi misplaced a pass; Granit Xhaka poorly lost the ball with a stupid lapse of concentration; Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette messed around in possession deep in their own half, almost gifting Huddersfield a penalty as Mustafi bundled over Steve Mounie which was somewhat awkward looking, to say the least. And Huddersfield were able to engineer further chances. Colin Quaner should score with any semblance of a composed first touch, but he couldn’t bring the ball under his control, before Steve Mounie fired a shot straight into the palms of Petr Cech. These were good, if not great, chances. The perfect warning sign for a side slipping into sloppiness.

Arsenal entered the break with the lead. Ultimately, that is all that matters. But there was enough threat shown from Huddersfield for them to be wary in the second period. Wenger was visibly frustrated with his players as the half drew to a close. He will not accept such complacency and naivety again.

Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud for Alexandre Lacazette at halftime, perhaps with an inclination that the Frenchman had picked up a knock during the first 45 minutes. But the change did little to close up the game. The second half started in a frantic fashion, one that Wenger would have wanted to avoid. While Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were linking up at one end, leading to the German taking too long to shoot, eventually allowing Martin Cranie to make the block, Colin Quaner was driving into the Arsenal penalty area with real purpose, his eventual effort deflected away well by a sprawled Petr Cech. And then, from the resultant break, Ozil fed Hector Bellerin down the right flank, and with Olivier Giroud making his trademark dart across the front post, Christopher Schindler had to be alert to slide in front of the French striker to block his flicked, first-time effort.

Arsenal’s best chance, up until that point, to extend their advantage came just before the hour mark. Aaron Ramsey, who was a creative hub at the heart of the midfield, slipped a neat pass into Olivier Giroud. A swerve round Lossl, who again keen to rush out of his goal, and a simple finish awaited. Giroud did the first part, but he couldn’t wrap his foot around it, agonisingly striking the near post, before fluffing the return wide of the mark.

But then, suddenly, it clicked, and Mesut Ozil, as he so often is, was at the centre of it all. The first goal may have been finished Olivier Giroud, sweeping home an Ozil cross at the near post, but it was all about the fluidity and the elegance of the German. Shkodran Mustafi played a fizzed first-time pass into his feet. A flick and go with Sead Kolasinac, another one-two with Alexis Sanchez, a precise, dead-eye cross to Giroud. The second goal. This was a wonderful, wonderful goal.

The third was not much worse. Ozil, again at the heart of everything, drifted into the inside-right channel. Fed by Aaron Ramsey, who was also pivotal to the blistering Arsenal attack, he clipped a cross into the box, begging for anyone to strike. Alexis Sanchez did, with amazing calmness and freedom, lashing into the roof of the net. 3-0. Game over.

But Arsenal, and Mesut Ozil, were not finished there. Again fed by Ramsey, after Alexis Sanchez had nicked ahead of the Huddersfield midfield to recover possession, but this time down the left channel, Ozil had the time to set himself, before dinking over Jonas Lossl, watching the ball nestle into the gaping net with same aesthetic beauty as his footballing play. There were just 3 minutes 58 seconds between the three goals, and it was all about one Mesut Ozil.

The fourth goal allowed Wenger to ring the changes, something that was especially pertinent with United to come at the weekend. Jack Wilshere came on for Aaron Ramsey, while Alexis Sanchez was afforded some rest, with Danny Welbeck introduced in his place. But at this point, the game was finished. While Arsenal continued to play with confidence and creativity, with Olivier Giroud nearly adding a second after a lovely Mesut Ozil backheel in the build-up, Huddersfield slumped into their assumed defeat. A fifth goal did come, with Olivier Giroud lashing home after Sead Kolasinac bombarded his way into the penalty area. But in all honesty, this game was long over.

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There were moments of nervousness, late in the first half and early in the second half. But this was, for the most part, a confidence-inspiring victory that sets up the Gunners perfectly for United’s trip to the Emirates. A win on Saturday would go a long way to fully establishing their top-four hopes, and their faint title dreams.