Arsenal 2-1 Huddersfield Town: Match Report

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 30/01/2011
Huddersfield Town travelled to the magnificent Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal FC, for a FA Cup 4th Round tie with the Gunners and did themselves proud giving one of the top sides in the country a good run for their money, almost earning a reply with the Premier League big-boys if it wasn't for a cruel late penalty from Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.Arsenal 2-1 Huddersfield Town: Match Report

Arsenal had taken the lead through Nicklas Bendtner's as his shot was diverted into the net by Peter Clarke. The Gunners were down to 10-men before the break with the dismissal of defender Seb Squillaci before Alan Lee got his first goal since joining Town in August to draw the League One side level but Fabregas was Arsenal's saviour with a dubious penalty with minutes left.

Terriers boss Lee Clark changed formation and personal, in came a 4-5-1 formation with Jack Hunt making his full debut for Town at right back. Kevin Kilbane stayed at left back with Lee Peltier pushed into a holding midfield role alongside Tom Clarke, Joey Gudjonsson started in midfield with Alan Lee playing the lone striker role up front.
Arsenal had a decent line-up, Samir Nasri, Marouane Chamankh and Andrey Arshavin were in the starting XI.

Arsenal were the quickest out of the doors and it was to be a hectic start for the youngster Hunt at right back with the trickery of the Arsenal's Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin. The dwarf was good with the ball at his feet but his end product failed miserably. The Russian fired over from a Bendtner's flick-on and the Danish striker himself proved to be woeful in front of goal firing high and wide.
Arshavin hit the outside of Ian Bennett's post after twisting and turning down the left and managed to get a low shot at the Town goal.

Tom Clarke had Town's first effort with a shot that flew wide and with 16 minutes gone Lee won a corner after good work from Kilbane, Roberts' corner was cleared but Anthony Pilkington put the ball back in the danger area for 'boom boom' Jamie McCombe to head wide past Manuel Almunia's post.

Arsenal doing what they do best responded with a quick counter attack. The influential Samir Nasri lobbed a pass into the area for Bendtner but the big Dane miscued his shot which went miles wide to the delight of the 5,100-plus behind the goal, who mocked the striker throughout the game.

And there were still mocking the useless lump when he was involved in putting the Gunners in front. Chamankh sent Bendtner away but the Moroccan striker looked to handle the ball before the pass, Bendtner's angled shot from the right side of the penalty area took a deflection off Peter Clarke as he tried to block, only to see the ball fly past Bennett and into the net.

Bendtner's shot was going wide and the Danish bacon chose to celebrate in front of the Town faithful holding his hand to his ear. Yes Bendter, I think the home fans were amazed you scored too as you can't hit a cow's arse from two yards. Still the Town fans mocked him.

The doubt started to creep in that Arsenal might go on and get a hatful but Town had other ideas and refused to give up the fight.

Koscienly managed to just take the ball away from the reach of Lee on 24 minutes from Pilkington's low cross across the face of goal after the big striker had pounced on Denilson's slip.

Arsenal's in-form midfielder Nasri had to go off on 33 minutes with a suspected hamstring injury and Town began to grow in confidence.
Almunia saved from Pilkington's free-kick and should have done better with five minutes to go before the break with a header after Gudjonsson's clever cross into the box.

The Icelandic midfielder himself drove a superbly struck free-kick inches wide had it been on target Almunia would have had no chance. The home side having already lost Nasri, they suffered another set back with the sending off of the defender Squillaci three minutes before the break.
Jack Hunt for the first time of the match nicked the ball off Arshavin, the youngster then went on a thrilling run leaving Kiernan Gibbs for dead and as he was just about to cut in between Koscielny and Squillaci (at this precise moment I was thinking he was about to do a Ryan Giggs like he did against Arsenal in 1999), but the Frenchman Squillaci had other ideas and clearly body checked Hunt which resulted in a straight red from referee Mark Clattenburg.
The resulting free-kick saw Pilkington fire high and wide and not very handsome.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger tried to play it safe at the break as he sacrificed striker Chamankh for defender Alex Song but Town made it difficult for the home side and pushed on in the second half.

Joey Gudjonsson rose to the challenge and was at the centre of the action and Alan Lee worked tirelessly up front on his own against Arsenal's back four, he really gave them a headache in the second half.

Gudjonsson brought a smart save from Almunia with a crisp 20-yard drive and chased Lee's flick on only to be thwarted by Arshavin. Boom Boom McCombe came close with a header from Gudjonsson's cross.

Scott Arfield replaced Tom Clarke, as he appeared to have taken a knock, on the hour mark but Town carried on taking the game to the Gunners.

Pilkington and Gary Roberts were causing problems down the flanks with both showing neat touches and getting balls into the box as Arsenal's defence looked nervous as a virgin in a brothel. Arsenal passed the ball well but in the final third they looked clueless with Peter Clarke and boom boom McCombe often thwarting the Gunners' attacking movements.

Town looked dangerous from set-pieces on were knocking on the door as Arsenal rode their luck. Alumina made a fantastic save to deny Lee with a close ranger header after Peltier and Hunt combined neatly down the right. The ball was looking to head into the bottom corner but the Gunners' dopey goalkeeper (we referred to him as Manuel from Fawlty Towers) actually got down well to keeping Arsenal in front.
From the resulting corner, which was not well cleared by the home side, fell kindly to Gudjonsson who's dipping show flew inches wide.

Town were now staring to hammer the door down and their efforts, rightly so, were rewarded on 67 minutes when Pilkington's corner picked out Lee who's bullet header flew past Almunia to put the Terriers on level terms.

Arsene Wenger now began to sweat, a replay was to be avoided at all costs having already having a heavy schedule ahead of them and on came Fabregas for Abou Diaby.

Bendtner was up to his usual tricks firing way wide, heading miles over the ball or just simply falling over when no one was around him.

In the last 20 minutes Peter Clarke was a machine throwing himself in front of everything that came Town's way blocking shot after shot and denying Arsenal's attack with some defensive work.

The clock was ticking down and just five minutes to go Kevin Kilbane played a suicide ball in his own half to Gudjonsson instead of hitting it down the line, Gudjonsson's clearance was charged down by Fabregas, he picked out Bendtner who was "brought down" by McCombe (basically he was just doing his usual party trick of just falling over) but the referee saw it as a penalty.
Fabregas was in referee Clattenburg's face wanting McCombe to be sent off by doing an impression of Gus Poyet and he took the penalty himself in which he scored to break Town's hearts.

Fabregas showed a complete lack of sportsmanship with his celebration by picking up the ball to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans only to drop the ball and leave it there which Kilbane has to run over and get it to restart the match. What was to happen after with Pilkington's twitter rant it wouldn't surprise me if it was true giving Fabregas' celebration. World class footballer, world class tit.

There was still time for a last Town attack, Lee fired over in the box and Roberts fired just over on to the roof of the net from the edge of the area.

Sean's Star Man - Alan Lee
The big striker played his best game in a Town shirt so far. Put in a shift up front and worked tirelessly up front on his own and delighted for him to find the net. I must mention that each Town player on that pitch put in a good shift and should be proud of their performance as we gave the Premier League giants a real scare.


Arsenal: Alumina, Diaby (Fabregas 70), Koscielny, Nasri (Rosicky 33), Denilson, Quillback (sent off 42), Arshavin, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh (Song 45), Bendtner.
Subs not used: Szczesny, Wilshire, Walcott, Van Persie.

Town: Bennett, Hunt, P Clarke, McCombe, Kilbane, T Clarke (Arfield 61), Peltier, Gudjonsson, Roberts, Pilkington, Lee.
Subs not used: Colgan, Naismith, Kay, Novak, Atkinson, Chippendale.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)
Attendance: 59,375 (5,100 Town fans)


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