A game away to Huddersfield today represents somewhat of an ‘interesting’ statistical impasse today it seems.
Arsenal haven’t kept a clean sheet all season away from home, whilst Huddersfield have failed to score in their last five matches. Huddersfield haven’t picked up a win in the league since they beat Fulham at home in November. Arsenal haven’t won away since November.
This has all the hallmarks of an epic nil-nil encounter right now!
But something has to give and with Arsenal, we are a team that like to give a lot, so I’m fully expecting Huddersfield to at least score today. Our defence is certainly generous enough on that front and that is why in order to win this game, like in most games we play, we’re going to need to score three goals this afternoon I reckon.
And that will depend on how Unai sets up his team. If he plays pragmatically and goes with five at the back with no creative player with passing vision in the team we may just see another repeat of the dullery that was West Ham away. But if he plays with a bit more caution to the wind then there should be chances for Arsenal today. Huddersfield have the second worst defensive in the league having conceded 46 goals in 25 games and that works out at just under two in every game this season. If we can’t score two against Huddersfield then we really do have some problems.
And they will be problems that will most likely end our top four hopes today if we don’t win. We have tougher games coming up in which we will drop points so a game like today has to be one in which Emery looks to go for the jugular today. Which is why I’m hoping that he goes for a back four and plays a ball-playing player who can find space and balls in behind for the front two, assuming Auba is fit, of course.
If he isn’t – having been ill during the week – then it’s Laca up top on his own and he’ll no doubt be flanked by two wide players. To my mind that would have to be Suarez and ideally I’d like to see Ramsey. I’ve always hated how we put square pegs in round holes but in Iwobi we have a player painfully out of form and so to me that means we have to take him out of the limelight.
So I’d be opting for Leno in goal, Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Mustafi and Kolasinac at the back, Torreira and Xhaka in front of them, with the three I mentioned. Of course personally I’d like to see Özil behind Laca and Auba but right now it seems like Özil’s Arsenal career is sadly finished. It’s a total waste of a world class player but politics are now playing a key role in his inclusion and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
So if Suarez does play he’s got to hit the ground running and quickly. His cameo was tough last weekend but he looked like a rusty player who has t played much and given it’s a loan spell he needs to make an impact quickly if we’re going to extend it beyond this season. These are the types of games you’d expect a player like that to take his chances because if Unai is right and Huddersfield press is high it will create space for the offensive players. It’s why ideally I’d want Özil playing but if he doesn’t play then we need more creativity from our team and that isn’t coming from our strikers. So it has to come from the players behind them. That’s Iwobi, Özil, Mkhi or Suarez. As I mentioned Iwobi is out of form, Özil is out of favour, Mkhi probably isn’t fit, so there might be a lot of expectation on the Spaniard. Can he deliver?
We have to hope. Because if we don’t clicked today the questions will further be raised of the manager and his selection decision, but also the players.
Three points today might get us level on Chelski if they lose tomorrow and keeps us in the hunt. Anything else and you have to wonder how long we can get away with it before top four is out of sight.
Come on Arsenal!