Arsenal hammer Huddersfield

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As Mesut Özil glided through to add a glorious flourish to one of the more devastating spells of individual genius that the Premier League will witness this season, it was hard not to wonder if his delicious scooped finish over Jonas Lossl was merely part of the German’s protracted farewell in an Arsenal shirt. He had produced a breathtaking Jeff Driskel Jersey four-minute burst to break Huddersfield Town’s spirit when the game was in the balance and there must have been plenty of people here, not least Arsène Wenger, wincing at the thought of not getting to enjoy Özil’s many gifts next season.

The fact that there remains little sign of Özil choosing to extend his contract before it runs out next summer, with Barcelona and Manchester United reportedly keeping tabs on him, gave a highly productive evening for Arsenal a bittersweet tinge. Yes, there are days when the playmaker drifts through games, but few players are better to watch in this mood. Özil was superb, scoring once and creating goals for Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sánchez as Arsenal survived a brief wobble before continuing their recent resurgence with a ruthless destruction of Huddersfield.
Ultimately this was one of those wins that left Arsenal wondering why they are incapable of hitting these heights more consistently. Özil, brilliant but frustrating, is part of that. This team still has maddening tendencies and it feels slightly premature, with the cracks not fully repaired after a fraught start to the season, to declare that Arsenal will not suffer any more stumbles now that a corner has been turned.
They have, after all, given their critics generous amounts of ammunition and even Wenger, English football’s perennial optimist, was not entirely satisfied with his side after this 5-0 victory, noting that Huddersfield had chances to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s early strike before Özil took control. “We started well but Patric Hornqvist Jersey we lost a bit of edge in our game,” Wenger said. “At the start of the second half we gave them one or two chances.” Petr Cech denied Collin Quaner and Steve Mounié, scrambling to his feet to push the latter’s deflected shot on to the crossbar.
Arsenal have done well to respond after being outplayed by Manchester City at the start of the month. Wenger’s side are fourth, with a four-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur after three consecutive wins and clean sheets, and in a good place before hosting Manchester United on Saturday. Arsenal have not lost a league game at home since the end of January, although Lacazette will be missed against José Mourinho’s side after suffering a groin injury that forced him off at half-time.
The striker had put Arsenal ahead by that point, sweeping a low shot past Lossl after being released by the excellent Aaron Ramsey in the third minute, and he almost added a second with a clever improvised lob later on. Wenger will have to be careful about how he tweaks his attack against United. Although Giroud scored twice after replacing Lacazette, he does not offer the same kind of speedy threat.
But Wenger will be confident. Some of Arsenal’s early invention was a joy to behold, all dainty one-touch passing and sharp movement off the ball to leave the home fans cooing at their side’s silkiness and Huddersfield wheezing. The visitors made six changes and lined up in a 5-4-1 system after almost holding City at the weekend, but they allowed Arsenal too much space and ended the night five points above the bottom three.
“I think we are still in a position that is absolutely acceptable for us,” the Huddersfield manager, David Wagner, said. “There is nothing that worries me about losing to Arsenal away and to Manchester City.” Wagner could argue that Huddersfield were swept away by a unique talent. Illness kept Özil out of Arsenal’s win over Burnley, but he looked full of vim as he set about quelling Huddersfield’s attempts at insurrection.
The natives had grown restless when Giroud struck the woodwork after rounding Lossl. The tension was rising, yet Özil was inspired, teeing up Giroud for a simple finish after a sublime interchange with Sánchez. Soon Özil was crossing for Sánchez to clip past Lossl and then the German added a fourth, moving on to Ramsey’s pass and finishing with his instep.
Huddersfield’s agony was complete when Giroud smashed in a fifth near the end. Arsenal, as has so often been the case in the latter part of Wenger’s reign, have a grip on fourth.


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