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Arsenal manager Unai Emery said his side “struggled every minute” in their 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday at the John Smith’s Stadium.
It was the Gunners’ first victory away from home in the Premier League since November, and Emery was relieved to have secured three points against Jan Siewert’s side, per Sky Sports:
“Their coach said yesterday they need to run a lot, and we spoke in the season that we need to show everybody we want these three points, and run like they are running and also more.
“We struggled every minute of the 90 minutes, and I think we controlled the match—but maybe I want more possession. It’s a good result after a lot of matches not winning away.”
Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette netted first-half goals for the Gunners, but the visitors spent much of the contest on the back foot.
The Terriers deservedly pulled one back when Sead Kolasinac turned into his own net, but it did not come until the 93rd minute, leaving them little time to complete a comeback.
Goal’s Peter Staunton described the pattern of play that typified the match:
Peter Staunton @petermstaunton
If you've not seen the game, Huddersfield have had more of the possession, more territory and more shots. A better team in front of goal would have taken at least a point. Arsenal holding out but not been any use really, especially second half.
Though it was a much-needed win for Arsenal, it’s clear their defending remains an issue:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Huddersfield had played nine hours and 57 minutes of football without scoring until Sead Kolašinac's own goal.
Nice of Arsenal, that. https://t.co/UqICiS270S
While he recognised there were a number of mitigating factors hindering the Gunners’ performance on Saturday, Arsenal blogger Andrew Mangan found it a difficult watch:
I’m behind the manager, I appreciate he has a difficult job to do, we have lots of injuries and other absences today, we didn’t invest in January and all the rest, but I find it hard to enjoy the football we play under Unai Emery.
Arsenal are still in sixth after the win, but it allowed them to keep pace with Manchester United, who are one point in front of the Gunners in fourth place after they beat Fulham 3-0.
Chelsea split the two sides, courtesy of their superior goal difference over Arsenal, but they’ll face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Emery is hopeful the Gunners can still finish in the top four.
“I think today every player worked a lot, we continued our way and we know it’s difficult because the other teams in the top four are very strong,” he said. “But we can also trust in us, and this victory is to confirm we are in our way and we can be positive.”
Finishing in the top four will be difficult with performances such as Saturday’s—had they conceded the same possession and chances to a side that aren’t propping up the table with just 11 points, it’s unlikely they’d have won.
It was vital they ended their winless run on the road, though, and when missing players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (foot) return, they’ll hope to put in stronger showings.
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