I jest of course, to say we made hard work of the game is an understatement.
The changes we anticipated took place.
Three minutes in and Arshavin had the opportunity to give us the perfect start but a man so low in confidence fluffed his lines for not the first time this season, Bendtner followed suit a few minutes later with a poor effort from close range.
Arshavin was busy but nothing really went right for the little Russian.
Twenty minutes in and Nasri played a lovely chip towards Nikki but his effort, well, it was awful!
Soon after, Bendtner had another chance after being played in by Nasri again but this time he managed to control the ball and drive a hard shot in towards… (the corner flag) thankfully for him though, the Huddersfield defender Peter Clarke stuck a leg out and the ball deflected into the net. 1-0.
No doubt all Arsenal fans thought the floodgates would open, how wrong would we be!
Soon after we scored, Pilkington fired over a low cross from the right and Lee just failed to get on the end of it. Denilson then gifted the ball to Lee who played out wide to Pilkington – his shot went just wide passed the far post.
Same old for us, all possession but we lacked the cutting edge, Arshavin played a back heel to Nikki B but his shot on the angle was saved easily, well, he saved it!
Not too long after and every Arsenal fans fear came real, Nasri pulled up clutching his hamstring – off he went and that’s probably him out for both Barcelona fixtures, not to mention out for the league games!
Huddersfield then went close twice but we held on.
Then just before half time, Hunt had the ball at his feet, another Huddersfield player was lurking to his right in a clear offside position, but Hunt played the ball ahead of himself, went to go passed Squillaci but the Frenchman blocked his path. Obstruction thought Mark Clattenburg! Not only did he think it was a foul, he showed the defender a straight red card. No matter how many times I have watched it, it’s soft but it was right, picture the same scenario had it been one of our players in Hunts position…
Denilson filled the gap up until half time!
As expected, Alex Song appeared in the second half, Chamakh making way for the
The second half was very different, in the opening minutes Arshavin hit the side netting when a cross ball looked the better option but with another chance gone, Huddersfield played with more belief. Around the fifty-five minute mark the little Russian chased back and got a crucial and perfect timed tackle in on Gudjonsson who looked destined to score.
Huddersfield then went very close to getting a deserved goal with two headed chances which were thankfully off target. Then just on the hour Almunia made an outstanding save, one that reminded me of the Spunky years, the save he made against Sheffield United sprang into my mind. I thought they had scored and then Big Al’s hand reached out and made the save.
A Huddersfield goal seemed not far away and finally it came on the 66th minute from a corner. Pilkington crossed the perfect ball into the box for Lee to head home. 1-1 and for me there looked like only one winner out there yesterday and it wasn’t us.
As expected, on came our captain in place of Diaby and again he would save our blushes!
For a player who is supposed to be no leader, his arrival sparked a bit of life into the Arsenal side, Koscielny had a shot blocked and Nikki headed over the bar. Nikki followed this with another shot over the bar and Arshavin followed suit with another shot over. We looked a little more settled but still in desperate need for a winner. We didn’t want or need a replay!
Ten minutes left to play and Denilson pulled up, clutching his hamstring! The smile on my face was short-lived, after treatment is was up and playing again. The game seemed to be heading for a replay until Bendtner was heading for goal when he was bundled over by McCombe. Two big decisions for Clattenburg, he got one right and bottled the second. Squillaci was sent off for a similar foul earlier in the game, this time the perpetrator was only show yellow.
Anyway, up stepped our little Spaniard, 2-1 and game over!
I think Cesc Fabregas being awarded the Man of the Match award says it all and if he doesn’t soon get a proper rest he’ll be the next player to pull up with an injury. No disrespect to Huddersfield but that starting eleven should have won the game on their own and not need the help of Cesc Fabregas. Were they having a off day, were Huddersfield better or is it that they are just not good enough to be trusted?
The win sees us head off on our travels to play Leyton Orient, another League 1 side! We always seem to better on our travels, we’ll certainly need to be a lot better than we were yesterday.
That’s it for the match report. I’ll leave it to you all to praise yesterday’s performance in the comments!
Oh, deadline day in the transfer window, with Squillaci now out for three matches, I wonder if Wenger will ‘try for someone’…
Have a good day…..