Arsenal 2-1 Huddersfield | Heavy going at the Emirates

Arsenal made hard work of seeing off League One opponents Huddersfield in the FA Cup and have captain Cesc Fabregas to thank for getting them through a much harder than expected tie.

Fabregas came off the bench on 70 minutes with the score at 1-1 and produced moments of brilliance to inspire his under-performing team mates and convert the winning penalty four minutes from time after a generous decision by ref Clattenburg. Bendtner went down in the area after minimal contact from McCombe and the ref blew to break the hearts of the travelling support.

Bendtner had given the hosts the lead after 20 minutes, smashing a shot which looked to be heading wide until it took a deflection off a defender and crept inside the post. The expected rout never materialised though and Squillaci got himself sent off just before half time to give the underdogs a real chance. With fringe players like Denilson and Gibbs not pulling their weight, Huddersfield gave as good as they got until Alan Lee headed past Almunia on 65 minutes to deservedly level the match.

That it took a late show from Fabregas to win a match which should’ve been a comfortable victory for Wenger’s side is a damning verdict on the performance and effort of the players. Nobody really looked up for the challenge – an accusation that couldn’t be levelled at any Huddersfield players – and questions over Wenger’s motivational skills need to be asked. I am perplexed that after similar under-par displays against lower league opponents Ipswich and Leeds this month, we haven’t learned any lessons about treating every opponent with respect and playing with the same commitment against Huddersfield as we would against Barcelona.

Until our young squad realises this they will fail to realise their potential as there is no such thing as an easy game anymore.

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