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Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield Town: Lucas Torreira's late stunner sees hosts overcome Terriers

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira scores a fine overhead kick to secure victory over Huddersfield
Lucas Torreira now has two goals in two home games after scoring against Tottenham last week

Lucas Torreira scored a sublime bicycle kick late on to break Huddersfield's resistance and secure victory for Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

The visitors, who have slipped into the bottom three, had looked on course for a valuable point with a resolute defensive display.

But on 83 minutes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found room at the back post and deftly chipped across the six-yard box for Torreira to acrobatically volley in.

It was a rare moment of quality from the hosts, who failed to create regular chances, despite Alexandre Lacazette having a goal disallowed for offside shortly before the interval.

The France striker was replaced at half-time, with a slightly improved Arsenal scoring their 26th second-half goal of the season to extend their unbeaten run to 21 games in all competitions.

The Gunners briefly moved into the top four but slipped back to fifth after Chelsea and Tottenham won later on Saturday.

Second-half surges and sublime skill

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Arsenal patience key against Terriers - Emery

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has now made 14 substitutions at the break in 16 league games this season, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi replacing Lacazette and Stephan Lichtsteiner here.

Once again the Spaniard's willingness to overhaul his side's approach paid off, with both substitutes stretching Huddersfield's backline and ensuring Aubameyang was less reliant on dropping deep to receive the ball.

The Gabon striker was frustrated in the first half - his only telling contribution narrowly diverting Granit Xhaka's cross wide on 28 minutes - as he failed to link up effectively with Lacazette, who slipped when unmarked in the area and shot over the bar moments after Aubameyang's miss.

Lacazette then rounded Jonas Lossl to slot in after running onto Mathias Jorgensen's poor backpass but he was judged offside from Aubameyang's initial header on.

That was one of few flurries of promising play from Arsenal, the other coming just before the goal as Sead Kolasinac started to get in behind down the left.

Even then it took a sequence of sublime skill for Arsenal to find a way through - Matteo Guendouzi finding Aubameyang with a well-judged cross-field pass, the striker touching it away from his man and turning to cross and Torreira applying a sumptuous finish.

It was indicative of Arsenal this season - flawed but fun. They may not be able to rely on these second-half surges and impact substitutions for the whole season but there is plenty of grit and skill in this team.

Arsenal's defensive concerns deepen

In spite of victory, Arsenal will be concerned by yet another injury to a key defender as Shkodran Mustafi was forced off in the second half after appearing to pull his hamstring.

Fellow centre-back Rob Holding was ruled out for the season this week after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Manchester United.

Adding to that dearth of options, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lichsteiner picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season and will miss the Premier League match at Southampton next Sunday.

It is also understood Arsenal do not have a recall clause in Callum Chambers' loan deal at Fulham, and the Gunners may have to field some makeshift defences over a busy festive period.

However, Laurent Koscielny was on the bench for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon in May and fellow defender Nacho Monreal returned from a hamstring injury to replace Mustafi. Arsenal will hope both can regain match fitness quickly.

Terriers battle in vain

Huddersfield were content to let Arsenal dominate possession but constantly hassled the man on the ball, leaving the hosts visibly frustrated.

A sedate start turned scrappy with a sequence of hard tackles by both sides, resulting in seven yellow cards before half-time.

Xhaka, Mustafi and Guendouzi were booked for simulation, perhaps suggesting Arsenal's mounting desperation, from which the Terriers prospered.

The visitors created some openings, if not many clear chances, with an unmarked Alex Pritchard clipping over from the edge of the area in the first half and Laurent Depoitre having a late penalty appeal turned down after what looked to be a fair challenge by Sokratis.

Lossl had a fine match, making a superb diving stop with his left to deny a curling effort from Torreira.

But ultimately a limited Terriers team could not cause Arsenal's defence many problems, with Huddersfield having scored just 10 goals in 16 games now - the fewest by any Premier League side.

Man of the match - Lucas Torreira (Arsenal)

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira spreads his arms wide in celebration after scoring the winner against Huddersfield
Lucas Torreira did his usual fine job of breaking up play in midfield, drew a fine save from Jonas Lossl and then scored a spectacular winner

'I wanted us to win quicker' - reaction

Arsenal manager Unai Emery, speaking to BBC Sport: "It was a tough match, like many matches, and today it is important because we didn't have rhythm but still won. I'm very happy with the result. It was hard for us to control the match today.

"Patience is the key word. I wanted us to win more quickly but we needed to be patient.

"We can improve more and today we spoke that we want to win matches with more control. But we are very competitive and showed character."

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Wagner proud of Terriers' 'fight' against Gunners

Huddersfield manager David Wagner, speaking to BBC Sport: "Obviously it is hard to take but I can see the positives. This was a proper fight which the players gave Arsenal. We did so many things right and limited their qualities. Unfortunately the result is what it is.

"We frustrated Arsenal, how the players did it tactically, and the shift they put in, was brilliant. Our tactics worked but unfortunately this goal was an unlucky one because the rebound and second rebound went to Arsenal."

Arsenal shine in the second half - stats

  • Arsenal have not led at half-time in any of their 16 Premier League games this season, drawing 12 and losing four.
  • Emery's Arsenal have made 14 substitutions before the start of the second half in their 16 Premier League matches this season, more than any other side and five more than Arsene Wenger made with the Gunners in the whole of 2017-18 (nine).
  • Arsenal are now 21 games unbeaten in all competitions (W16 D5 L0); their longest run without a defeat since November 2007 (28 unbeaten).
  • There were just two shots on target in this game, the fewest in a Premier League match since Watford v Stoke on 28 October 2017 (also two).
  • There were seven cards shown in the first half of this match (seven yellows), the most in a Premier League first 45 since Chelsea v Aston Villa in January 2011 (also seven yellows).
  • Aubameyang has been directly involved in 27 goals in his 29 Premier League appearances with Arsenal, scoring 20 and assisting seven.

What's next?

Arsenal host Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday (kick-off 20:00 GMT) before travelling to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, 16 December (13:30).

Huddersfield are at home to Newcastle on Saturday, 15 December (15:00).

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 19Leno
  • 12LichtsteinerBooked at 38minsSubstituted forIwobiat 45'minutes
  • 20MustafiBooked at 45minsSubstituted forMonrealat 66'minutes
  • 5PapastathopoulosBooked at 40mins
  • 34XhakaBooked at 24mins
  • 2Bellerín
  • 11Torreira
  • 29GuendouziBooked at 80mins
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forMkhitaryanat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Cech
  • 4Elneny
  • 6Koscielny
  • 7Mkhitaryan
  • 17Iwobi
  • 18Monreal
  • 49Nketiah

Huddersfield

  • 1Lössl
  • 2SmithBooked at 39minsSubstituted forHadergjonajat 60'minutes
  • 25M Jorgensen
  • 26Schindler
  • 5Kongolo
  • 6HoggSubstituted forBacunaat 52'minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 19WilliamsBooked at 38minsSubstituted forDurmat 70'minutes
  • 21PritchardBooked at 35mins
  • 10Mooy
  • 15Löwe
  • 20Depoitre

Substitutes

  • 7Bacuna
  • 9Kachunga
  • 12Hamer
  • 14Sobhi
  • 18Mbenza
  • 33Hadergjonaj
  • 37Durm
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
59,893

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamHuddersfield
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home14
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away1
Fouls
Home13
Away20

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 1, Huddersfield Town 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 1, Huddersfield Town 0.

Foul by Nacho Monreal (Arsenal).

Laurent Depoitre (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield Town).

Attempt blocked. Laurent Depoitre (Huddersfield Town) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Pritchard with a cross.

Sokratis (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield Town).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Terence Kongolo.

Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Torreira.

Foul by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal).

Erik Durm (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Terence Kongolo.

Booking

Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town).

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 1, Huddersfield Town 0. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Matteo Guendouzi.

Attempt missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Sead Kolasinac with a cross.

Booking

Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.

Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) has gone down, but that's a dive.

Attempt blocked. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Sead Kolasinac.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal).

Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a set piece situation.

Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town).

Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Erik Durm replaces Danny Williams.

Attempt missed. Chris Löwe (Huddersfield Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Florent Hadergjonaj with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Nacho Monreal replaces Shkodran Mustafi because of an injury.

Foul by Alex Iwobi (Arsenal).

Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Granit Xhaka with a cross following a corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Man City1613214593641
3Tottenham16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Man Utd167542826226
7Everton156542117423
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester166462120122
10West Ham166372325-221
11Brighton166371922-321
12Watford156271821-320
13Wolves155461518-319
14Cardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle153481220-813
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249
View full Premier League table

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