Arsenal will look to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester City with a win over bottom side Huddersfield and pull themselves back into the race for fourth place.
Last weekend Arsenal started in fourth place ahead of Chelsea on goal difference, although their defeat to Manchester City left them reeling in sixth place, a point behind Manchester United. Sergio Aguero’s hattrick gave Man City their three points in a game most people expected Arsenal to suffer a defeat. However, the Gunners now have the chance to pull themselves back with a trip to Huddersfield.
Arsenal’s season so far has seen them compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United with a place in the top four on offer. The Gunners, like last season, have endured a difficult time away from home, winning their last game outside of the Emirates on November 25th.
Arsenal need to win to keep themselves in the race for the fourth spot, especially with the next games after the Huddersfield trip considered winnable.
Arsenal’s hosts over the weekend, Huddersfield, are not looking anywhere close to getting back into their rhythm and break out of the relegation zone anytime soon. David Wagner’s replacement Jan Siewert hasn’t gotten off to a good start either. Last weekend, it was Chelsea who thrashed the Terriers 5-0, and things cannot get any worse with Arsenal visiting them.
Huddersfield are 13 points away from safety and with 13 games remaining to be played in the Premier League, the odds are not with the bottom side to make it out of the danger zone. Overall the Terriers have had a disappointing season, scoring only five goals all throughout their 13 games at home so far, while no goals have been scored in the last five in all competitions.
Their story under Wagner is already a distant past, and Huddersfield needs a win and nothing less against Arsenal to have any chance of survival.
Team News & Tactics
Chris Lowe has recovered from his illness, while Jonathan Hogg and Erik Durm have also returned to training having recovered from their injuries. However, the likes of Abdelhamid Sabiri and Danny Wiliams remain out, along with Isaac Mbenza, who is out for six weeks after tearing a calf muscle.
Tommy Smith, Mathias Jorgensen, Christopher Schindler and Terence Kongolo are set to form the back four as Siewert looks for his first win as manager of the club.
Huddersfield’s lack of goals is a significant concern currently and Siewert could address this issue by bringing back Steve Mounie back in the starting lineup, replacing the injured Mbenza.
Siewert is expected to go with his standard 4-3-3 formation with the likes of Phillip Billing, Juninho Bacuna and Aaron Mooy set to form the midfield trio, while Diakhaby, Mounie, and Kachunga are set to be the front three.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3) – Lossl; Smith, Jorgensen, Schindler, Kongolo; Bacuna, Billing, Mooy; Kachunga, Mounie, Diakhaby;
Arsenal’s defensive problems continued as Shkodran Mustafil hobbled off the pitch with a suspected back problem against Manchester City. The German is back in training though, although there could be significant doubts with Emery including him in the starting lineup especially when there are upcoming Europa League games next week.
Konstantinos Mavropanos, who made his return from injury to play his first Premier League minutes of the season could be in shape to replace Mustafi in the starting lineup and partner Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal already have Sokratis out till the end of February while the likes of Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are all out for the season. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in training.
In attack, Arsenal could welcome back Henrikh Mkhitaryan after a foot injury has seen him not play for more than a month. While Mkhitaryan’s chances of starting the game remain unknown, there is a strong chance for new signing Denis Suarez to be in the starting lineup. Now which position he starts is also a doubt, as it could be central midfield or as part of the front three.
There is a strong chance Suarez could start as part of a midfield trio with Guendouzi and Torreira, covering for Granit Xhaka’s absence. In attack, Arsenal could lineup with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Alex Iwobi, although Emery could yet give Mesut Ozil a run in the team, as opposed to the manager not selecting the German for big away games this season.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3) – Leno; Jenkinson, Mavropanos, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Torreira, Guendouzi, Suarez; Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang
1. Arsenal to win @ 1.60
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.80
1. Granit Xhaka to score anytime @ 8.00
2. Matteo Guendouzi to score anytime @ 8.00
- Huddersfield are winless in 11 competitive matches against Arsenal (D2 L9), since a 2-1 victory in January 1971.
- Arsenal have won their opening three games against Huddersfield in the Premier League.
- Huddersfield have won just one of their last 16 home games in all competitions against Arsenal (D8 L7).
- Huddersfield have scored just five goals in their 13 home Premier League games this season. In top-flight history, only Arsenal in 1912-13 have ever scored as few at this stage of a campaign (also 5)
- Huddersfield have lost their last six Premier League home games. The last team to lose more in a row at home in the competition were Wolves in April 2012 (nine in a row).
Player to Watch
The Frenchman has been having a good season so far, maintaining his reputation in the game as a hardworking and reliable centre-forward. The forward might not have been as prolific as his strike partner Aubameyang, but his importance in the team is no less than the Gabonese.
Of his nine goals so far in the Premier League seven have been winners, and the Frenchman is only behind Mo Salah in that number. That shows the significance of Lacazette in the side, and the striker has to further stamp his authority in games like Huddersfield, and these are games where three points matter and three points here will go on to help Arsenal in the top four race.
Huddersfield 0-3 Arsenal
Goal have been dry for Huddersfield this season and barring a few games of success, the bottom side never really got going. There seems to be no chance whatsoever, at least on paper that suggests Huddersfield might be able to stage an upset against Arsenal. Their recent massive loss to Chelsea was evidence the shambles their defence is in, and the Gunners are well placed to exploit that once again.
Arsenal have the firepower and flair in attack to record a similar scoreline as Chelsea’s over Huddersfield, and they might even be able to score more. Arsenal have suffered this season with defensive injuries, but with what they have currently, the Gunners will be more than equipped to deal with what the Huddersfield attackers might have to offer. In the end, all things point towards three points for the Gunners.