It is the Herbet Chapman Derby. The club that made him versus the club he made into a perennial top English side. Huddersfield Town, the club Chapman managed before Arsenal vs Arsenal the club Chapman took to astronomic heights.
In modern terms it is another “plucky team” that comes to the Emirates in hopes of disrupting Arsenal’s stellar home form. However, given the way they played versus Manchester City on Sunday, you are left wondering if they can get back to that lofty form yet again.
Against City an own goal and stout organization gave Town buoyancy and scared the day lights out of City fans. However, it didn’t last as City turned up the quality and escaped with the 3 points on the back of Raheem Sterling.
In their Sunday match, Huddersfield Town sat back deeply and looked to spring forward on the occasional counterattack (sounds familiar.) City had to be patient to find their chances and they were and that paid off. For Arsenal, we should expect much of a similar ploy.
Looking back at the Burnley tie this weekend the performance was all too expected. We knew coming out of the North London Derby that getting back up for an opponent not of the same stature often is a problem for Arsenal and it showed. Additionally, the absence of Mesut Özil was noticed as we lacked the creativity to break down Burnley.
Tonight, we should expect SOME changes from Sunday’s side as we also have Saturday’s match versus Manchester United to prepare for. Some of the Europa League and League Cup regulars (not U23 players) will likely get run outs as will the likes of Danny Welbeck as he searches for match fitness.
The change in lineup could once again cause us to be a little less fluid then we’d like but overall the quality shouldn’t be unavailable for us to beat Town. The question will remain whether or not the quality decides to show up given the foe.
This is why we have a big squad and with the exception of Santi Cazorla, there aren’t any major injury issues and rotation needs to happen. Not major overhauls mind you. Just enough to rest key players and keep the overall quality intact. So basically, this is a match where Wenger’s man management skills will come in test. (You can already hear/see the grief online when the lineup is announced tonight.)
Personally, I’d like to see the likes of Jack Wilshere get a start. I think they are managing him with soft gloves given his injury history. But if he is going to find his form he needs more playing time and not just in the fortnight between Europa League ties and League Cups. This is definitely a match that screams for Jack.
Danny Welbeck is another I’d like to see get a start tonight. Danny’s form was stellar before his first injury of the season. He fit perfectly into our attack and frankly made it easy to keep the likes of Alexis Sanchez on the bench (no I am not saying he is better than Sanchez.) An in form Danny causes defenders problems and again he is a valuable cog for Arsenal especially as we come into the hectic (or festive if you like) time of the year.
All in all a win tonight could put Arsenal 2-4 points ahead of the nearest top 4 challenger. A dramatic turn of events given the nature of our losses this season.
Trends to Watch
We mentioned it in the write up, does Arsene Wenger persist with the lineup from the weekend with only the addition of Mesut Özil or does he make additional changes to rest his key players ahead of the tie versus Manchester United?
With Shad Forsythe’s magic elixir keeping us relatively healthy rotation would seem in order but this is Arsene Wenger and well common sense order never seems to come into consideration.
How the Match Should Play Out
I suspect it will be just like the City match for Huddersfield Town, sitting deep looking to break on the counter. Arsenal will be patient looking to try and find gaps to exploit and break through what is likely to be a congested line of confrontation around the 18.
Players to Watch
Arsenal. Mesut Özil. As much of a talent as Alex Iwobi is, he doesn’t (as of yet) possesses the awareness of space and vision that Özil does. As Özil goes, so does Arsenal.
Huddersfield Town. Laurent Depoitre. Leading scoring for the visitors he’ll be there target if they look to succeed on the counter.
Injuries and Suspensions
Arsenal: Cazorla (Achilles)
Huddersfield Town: Billing (ankle), Hefele (Achilles), Stankovic (ACL), La Parra (suspended)
Goals Scored Per Match (season average)
Huddersfield Town: 0.69
Goals Conceded Per Match (season average)
Huddersfield Town: 1.46
Referee: Graham Scott (6M, 11Y, 1R)
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
UK: Audio Available on Arsenal.com 19.45 GMT
US: NBC Sports Gold 2.45 PM EST
What the Manager Says (courtesy BBC.com)
“It is a massive game for me. They [Huddersfield] didn’t deserve to lose against City.
“They had to play 46 games in the Championship and have proven they are ready for a fight. They are dangerous for every Premier League side.”
Match Facts (courtesy BBC.com)
- Huddersfield have won only one of their last 15 matches against Arsenal in all competitions, a 2-1 top-flight home victory in January 1971.
- The sides last met in an FA Cup fourth round match at the Emirates in 2011, when Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners; Huddersfield were a League One side back then.
- Arsenal secured back-to-back 1-0 victories the last time the two clubs were in the same division, in 1971-72.
- The Terriers’ last away win against Arsenal was a 5-3 success back in November 1954 – they have scored just four goals in their subsequent eight visits in all competitions since that victory.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 home matches, winning each of the last 11 – their best run at home since they won 13 in a row between February and November 2005.
- They have kept nine clean sheets during this current 13-game unbeaten streak.
- Arsenal could win three consecutive league matches for the first time this season.
- The Gunners’ last home league defeat was a 2-1 loss to Watford in late January.
- Arsene Wenger has lost 27 Premier League games in November as manager of Arsenal, seven more than the month of December which is second on the list.
- Wenger will be taking charge of a Premier League match against his 46th different opponent.
- Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 17 goals in 18 Premier League games against newly-promoted clubs (13 goals and four assists).
Arsenal 2 – 0 Huddersfield Town