Emery says top-four finish will be ‘difficult’, despite win at Huddersfield
Arsenal move within a point of fourth-placed Manchester United as goals from Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette earn a 2-1 victory
09 February, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Unai Emery: ‘If we ask ‘is it easy or difficult for us?’ then yes, I think it’s difficult, but we can finish in the top four. We are on our way”
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Kolasinac OG 90+3)
ARSENAL 2 (Iwobi 16, Lacazette 44)
GUNNERS gaffer Unai Emery admitted that finishing in the top four will be “difficult” after seeing his side “struggle” to victory at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Goals from Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a less than convincing 2-1 win at the John Smith’s Stadium to keep alive their hopes of securing Champions League football next season.
Huddersfield controlled possession for large periods of the game – and with a bit more quality could easily have picked up a point or three.
Emery said he was relieved to win on the road again following defeats at Manchester City and West Ham.
“We needed to show everybody we want these three points,” he said. “We struggled every minute of the 90 minutes, but in the end it’s a good result after a lot of matches not winning away.
“We have played 26 Premier League games now and there is one point between Manchester United and us. If we ask ‘is it easy or difficult for us?’ then yes, I think it’s difficult, but we can finish in the top four. We are on our way.”
They are on the way – at least for now. However, against a side with more quality in the final third than Huddersfield, Arsenal could easily have lost.
Iwobi opened the scoring early on when his strike deflected into the bottom-right corner off defender Terence Kongolo. Lacazette then doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time with a tidy finish from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross.
The spirited hosts, who had lost 11 of their last 12 games, never gave up and finally got their reward in the third minute of added time when Sead Kolasinac turned Adama Diakhaby’s shot into his own goal.
But it was not enough to stop Arsenal from picking up a 2-1 victory, and pulling back to within a point of fourth-placed Manchester United.
Emery added: “I think every player worked a lot. We know it’s difficult because the other teams in the top four are very strong. But we can also trust in us, and this victory is to confirm we are in our way and we can be positive.”
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Hamer, Smith, Jorgensen, Schindler, Kongolo (Durm, 56), Bacuna, Hogg, Mooy, Diakhaby, Kachunga (Grant, 83), Puncheon (Depoitre, 66).
Substitutes not used: Billing, Coleman, Pritchard, Stankovic.
ARSENAL: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Guendouzi, Torreira (Elneny, 59), Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan (Suarez, 76), Lacazette, Iwobi (Willock, 88).
Substitutes not used: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Mavropanos, Nketiah.