Huddersfield v Arsenal: injuries; the awful away form and the team

by Bulldog Drummond

Huddersfield must know that they are going down – it would be one of the all time escapes if they didn’t, and there is no sign of a turn around in recent games…   Here is their league record since 1 December.

Date Game Res Score
01 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove L 1-2
04 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town L 2-1
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town L 1-0
15 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United L 0-1
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton L 1-3
26 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Huddersfield Town L 3-1
29 Dec 2018 Fulham v Huddersfield Town L 1-0
02 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Burnley L 1-2
12 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town D 0-0
20 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Manchester City L 0-3
29 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Everton L 0-1
02 Feb 2019 Chelsea v Huddersfield Town L 5-0

The defeat to Chelsea suggests nothing much is going Huddersfield’s way, and with no goals scored in the last four matches, they have a serious problem.

The only thing they might cling on to is that playing away is the weakest part of Arsenal’s game…  Here is the away table.   Last season in total Arsenal won four, drew four and lost 11 away games scoring just 20 goals.   This season we have matched the number of wins after 13 away games and scored many more goals but this is not the level of improvement that was really hoped for.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
4 Manchester United 13 7 2 4 24 19 5 23
5 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 5 3 4 14 14 0 18
7 Leicester City 13 5 3 5 17 18 -1 18
8 Watford 13 4 5 4 17 16 1 17
9 Arsenal 12 4 3 5 23 25 -2 15

Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks as if he is going to be available, but with our new loan signing also being a winger I suspect the best Mkhitaryan is going to get is a place on the beach.

Granit Xhaka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are reported to be training again, so could play or be beached.   The ill pair, Aubameyang and Koscielny are looking to be fit and so again could play or at the very least also be beached.

On the subject of away games Mr Emery said,  “We started very well away, changing also our mentality to get more points away, but now we need to recover this confidence, to recover this performance and the next opportunity is Saturday against Huddersfield.

“We know that defensively we need to do better. We’ve tried playing with three centre-backs and two centre-backs. We’ve won with three centre-backs and two centre-backs.”

The suggestion for this game is that all out attack should mean that after the first two goals go in Huddersfield will lose heart and that will be that.   But the defence will have to be sorted at some stage – although one might expect fewer injuries at the back next season.

As for today, this all out attack approach could also be a response to the fact that Huddersfield have lost their last six home league games and they are third lowest in terms of points in the Premier League at this stage.  From memory I think it was Derby who got the all time lowest.  Huddersfield have scored one goal this year.

But Huddersfield must be aware of Arsenal’s away form – we have lost four and drawn just one of the last five away league games, not winning since beating Bournemouth in November.  And we still don’t have an away clean sheet – the only Premier League club in this position.

We certainly ought to win, and only nerves and an awareness of two years of poor form away is going to give us a problem.

Here’s an early prediction of the team – this from the Standard


Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac;

Torreira, Guendouzi;


Iwobi, Aubameyang; Lacazette

15 Replies to “Huddersfield v Arsenal: injuries; the awful away form and the team”

  1. How on earth would anyone include Lichsteiner in the starting eleven.He should not be included in the pool and is one of the poorest full backs ever to wear the ARSENAL shirt

  2. Two seasons ago, we were very strong away from the Emirates. Wenger then explained that away, teams came against us being the home teams. That way, they created spaces behind for the fast attackers of Arsenal to exploit.
    Now we seem to have lost that counter-attacking edge since Wenger/s last season!
    We used to thrive in moving the ball quickly around to take advantage of spaces. I^m not seeing this in our game anymore.

  3. Could you envision a scenario where one of our players is receiving the season’s ‘ Best Player Award ‘ , and after thanking his family , agents , lawyers , fellow players . manager and staff , then says , ” And finally I would like to sincerely thank ( Places hand on heart, at the same time bowing , ever so gently forward.) , Paul Merson
    ( or someone of that ilk .) , for his timely , well thought out in depth advice and most constructive criticisms , in helping me improving my overall game and team contribution . ”
    Crowd gets really excited , giving a standing ovation and clapping enthusiastically as somebody helps Paul Merson up from under the table , to share the limelight with our hero of the day.

    It may happen , in a galaxy far ,far , far away .

  4. The issues in our game is slow transition from defence. Our new system of playing the ball from behind maintaining possession is not sufficiently stable and loss of possession within 30 yards of our goal compromises our defence. The long ball forward is a much better option either to an attacking midfielder or to the wings puts the opponent into a penetrable defensive situation. We have sufficient forwards to take advantage of early ball, providing they attempt to score rather than hold up play for additional options.

    Scoring from serveral passes is wonderful to watch but the initial position of being a goal or two up makes it easier. Ruthless attack irrelevant of the scoreline is a mandatory method in this league. It ensures a positive attitude and grows confidence.

    Looking forward to some proper aggression from our attack with skilled placed shooting at goal. Too many shots directly at the goal keeper when a placed shot to the top would give better results.


  5. I don’t think there is any easy answer Menace. I think part of the problem is predictability. If you know a player or a team is always going to do a particular thing, it is much easier to defend against it or them. But this is “how the team plays”, because the manager (UE) makes a decision. It is very hard to pick an approach “randomly”, inevitably some pattern is used, and if the pattern is discovered; it can be predicted.

    I wish there was something one could do about the pattern of Merson, Keown, …. Nobody needs their pattern.

  6. I have to agree with Menace that we need to get the ball quickly out of defence and into attack.
    While before I used to cringe when we passed the ball all around outside the opponents’ box, now I tend to get nervoys as we pass it around in and outside our box.
    I don’t think that route one will work for our present crop of players , but hope that they will step up to rectify it , and
    transition with with speed and width.

  7. As I said reality is out there somewhere with the “experts”

    Couldn’t agree with you more

  8. More crap from Merson. I just seen a tiny blurb, but Merson has no disrespect for a player. But then again he has nothing but disrespect for a team. Guess what you fish, a team is made of players. Mutter, mutter, mutter.


    I do wish commentaries would have a higher standard.

    If a goalkeeper gets hurt, play does NOT resume before the player is fit to play. If the goal keeper is badly hurt, there may be an immediate substitution.

    If the referee calls for a penalty at X minutes and Y seconds; if the penalty is scored the time of the score is X minutes and Y seconds. No time elapses between the calling for the penalty, and when the penalty is hit. In unusual circumstances it may take a second or two for the ball to actually go in the net.

    If a player gets hurt and the referee notices (usually at some stoppage, or when one team puts the ball out of play), play is (again/still) stopped. How many times do I see a phrase like “play is resumed” with a time stamp different from when the referee first notices the injury?

    We really do need data on all the treatments that do not require a physio to attend the injured player.

    Oh well, I might as well get back to data entry.

  9. @ Gord – Sometimes when the usual norm is altered by outside unpredictable forces, the result can be tragic, or humourous.

    Here is one such tale….

    Upon hearing that her elderly grandfather had just passed away, Rubia went straight to her grandparent’s house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her.

    When she asked how her grandfather had died, her grandmother replied, *’He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning.*

    Horrified, Rubia told her grandmother that people nearly 100 years old having sex would surely be asking for trouble.

    ‘Oh no, my dear,’ replied granny.! ‘Many years ago, realizing our advanced age, we figured the best time to do it was when the church bells would start to ring.. It was just the right rhythm.. Nice and slow and even. Nothing too strenuous, simply in on the Ding and out on the Dong. ‘She paused to wipe away a tear, and continued…….. *’He’d still be alive if the damn fire engine had not passed by’.*

  10. Maybe dally a little longer.

    A good thing about Cazorla, was that he was so good with both feet. Whether you were talking about passing or shooting, you were never sure what foot he would use. Which is advantage to Cazorla.

    We have players who can make passes over less than a trivial distance and/or difficulty. I don’t think playing long ball is ever the consistent answer. But if a wide player notices that the defender has moved towards the centre and starts a run for the wide corner, a long ball to that corner is a good thing. But so are the balls into space at 20, 30, 40 yards.

    I suspect that whatever criticisms are levelled at Mesut, the biggest problem with them is that they are inaccurate (simplistic). When you are attacking, there is little time to look for patterns all around. If you are lucky you can see patterns in the direction you are looking. There is no time to look for patterns when you lose possession of the ball. There may be time to look for patterns, when a ball is recovered. This is slanted towards Mesut, it could be others. It may be that a defender recovers the ball and is probably under pressure, and Mesut is his best choice for an outlet. Tell him the ball is coming. But if Mesut isn’t needed as that immediate outlet, give him a brief time to examine the field, then maybe he gets the ball 1,2 3 passes later. He probably knows how play can develop, and can act appropriately.


    With respect to the early game, here’s hoping that Callum gets a brace or even a hat trick!


    Just assuming that the above was not a hoax, which other clubs should make sure that none of their players open their respective trophy cabinet ?

    It would help that you know when Small Pox
    ,the Plague and other exotic diseases were eradicated.

    Everybody can join in answering the questions below.

    – Who was the PM / President / Dictator of your country /Great Britian/ USA , when your club last won the First Division title ?

    – Who was the Monarch of GB then ?

    – Was your country even in exisitence then ?

    – What was it called then ?

  12. Taking another break from data entry.

    White noise is a signal which has (about) equal power at all frequencies. Pink noise is a different kind of signal, where the power in the signal drops of proportional to the frequency, so high frequencies have less power. From pink noise, one can fall into Zipf/zeta distributions, discrete Pareto, and so on. A characteristic of pink noise, is that there is some serial correlation in the signal.

    Perl has module to generate Zipf random deviates. Here is 100 chosen from a maximum of 40 and an exponent of 2:
    1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 3 1 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 1 2 3 1 1 3 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 17 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 13 1 3 1 2 1 1 1 3 2 1 3 1 5 5 13
    Lots of 1’s. To me, too many (why in a bit). If I take successive triplets and multiply by 2/3 I get:
    3 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 6 6 6 2 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 4 4 4 2 2 2 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 2 2 2 4 4 4 2 2 2 4 6 6 4 4 4 3 3 6 6 4 2 2 2 2 7 18 24 18 8 2 2 2 2 10 18 18 11 3 4 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 3 6 7 15

    Let’s pretend that the first series is something like how many fouls happen in the N’th minute of the game. Worded that was, it has to be much shorter than 1 minute. So the 9/17/10 might be a corner kick, and the 13/13 might be a free kick not too far out from the penalty box.

    The PGMO are not interested in disciplining every foul, they want to “man manage” the game. So, maybe each integer is fouls in a 10 second interval. If the number of fouls in 10 seconds exceeds some threshold, they decide to call 1 foul (maybe). In the instance of a free kick or a corner kick, most of these fouls are happening while the clock is not running, but we often see the referee move in and “talk” to the players, instead of handing out cards.

    So, we can have 3 things going on here:
    1. Some number of fouls per some unit of time.
    2. How many of the fouls are “detected” by the officials (this will involved a binomial distribution).
    3. Some kind of “integration over a number of intervals”, and the application of a threshold for involvement.
    It’s likely that we need 2 series of numbers, one for how many fouls per unit time, and 1 for how intense the fouls are. A shirt tug is not very intense, breaking someone’s leg (as long as it isn’t an Arsenal leg) is quite intense.

    Any ideas on this? Have you seen people working on this (such as at arXiv)?

  13. More idle thinking.

    Part of the rigorous development of the Poisson distribution, which is (almost) applicable to the scoring of goals, is that a histogram of when goals are scored should show a flat distribution. And people have done this, and it is almost flat. There is almost no chance of scoring in the first 10-15 seconds of either half. There is a bit of a perturbation at 44-45 minutes of the first half, and a bigger perturbation towards the end of the game (I suspect it extends before 89 minutes).

    The issuing of fouls and cards (first yellows) probably doesn’t approximate a flat distribution, and I think we can all think of good arguments for why second yellows and reds cannot be flat. It seems quite obvious that given that a person is going to get to receive a yellow card, there is quite a bias that this card comes close to the end of the game. And this is mostly because a single yellow is of little effect as a source of caution.

    With computers and book-keeping, I would like to suggest that if a person gets a yellow card in the N’th minute of a game; that should they receive a second yellow card before another 90 minutes of game time goes by, that they should be dissmissed (second bookable offence within 90 minutes).

    A common reason for getting a yellow towards the end of the game is time wasting. There are other reasons, but the probability of getting a yellow for time wasting is noticeably higher near the end of the game. If you could get a second yellow (second bookable offence within 90 minutes), that would curtail time wasting significantly.

    One other change I would like to see, is that in order to get points in a game, you must score. So no more 1 points for a 0-0 draw.

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