Ralph has his work cut out sav­ing Saints

Sunday Express - - FOOTBALL - Tony Sten­son

HIPPY crack? More like hip, hip hooray as Lu­cas Tor­reira gave Arse­nal the kind of high you can’t com­plain about – as he struck seven min­utes from time to stretch their un­beaten run to 21 games.

But it was hard work as bat­tling Hud­der­s­field be­lied their own plight to make them fight ev­ery inch of the way. The Gun­ners only won be­cause of Tor­reira’s fight­ing qual­i­ties and the fact the visitors didn’t have a striker to fin­ish off their many fine moves.

Af­ter a week in which pic­tures showed some play­ers al­legedly in­hal­ing ni­trous ox­ide from bal­loons on a pre-sea­son out­ing, Arse­nal needed to im­press on the pitch. Thanks to Tor­reira they did.

He set­tled a nerve-wrack­ing game when he scis­sor-kicked home in spec­tac­u­lar style af­ter Pier­reEm­er­ick Aubameyang fought hard to turn Mat­teo Guen­douzi’s pass into his path.

Arse­nal boss Unai Emery said: “I am de­lighted for Tor­reira. Last week he scored and to­day also. He has qual­ity and his in­ter­pre­ta­tion on the pitch tac­ti­cally and in at­tack­ing and de­fen­sive mo­ments he is very fast in his mind.

‘‘He showed that to­day and in the way he got into the box to score.’’

Hud­der­s­fied cer­tainly made a fist of it. Seven play­ers were booked in a raw, no-holds-barred first half, with Arse­nal be­ing the main cul­prits.

Arse­nal needed a five-star show af­ter the head­lines but were of­ten left frus­trated by Hud­der­s­field’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­fend.

Emery added: “It was a tough match, like many matches, and to­day it is im­por­tant be­cause we didn’t have rhythm but still won. I’m very happy with the re­sult. It was hard for us to con­trol the match but pa­tience is the key word to­day. I wanted us to win more quickly but we needed to be pa­tient.

“To­day is a very im­por­tant re­sult. We wanted a big­ger win but they stopped about nine min­utes this rhythm, a lot of cards, fouls and time lost and we needed pa­tience and we needed to win by wait­ing for our mo­ment – and the mo­ment came for us in the end.’’ Aubameyang and Alexan­dre La­cazette wasted golden chances be­fore the lat­ter fi­nally put the ball into the net on 45 min­utes – only for the ef­fort to be ruled off­side.

It was the last of his ac­tion as he was subbed. Emery is not afraid of tough de­ci­sions – as proven with his han­dling of Me­sut Ozil.

On song, there’s no mid­field player finer, but he also had too many away days and for­mer man­ager Arsene Wenger in­dulged him.

Emery is made of sterner stuff and it’s no sur­prise he does not fit into his high-oc­tane sys­tem, where he likes his teams to press high, look­ing to win the ball quickly.

It’s all about in­ten­sity and these are not Ozil’s strengths.

Arse­nal have now won 17 of their last 18 league matches which kicked off at 3pm on a Satur­day.

Al­though, it would be some­what typ­i­cal if they slipped up in this sort of game hav­ing come through stiffer tests im­pres­sively.

It was 5-0 in this fix­ture last sea­son but this Hud­der­s­field side is made of sterner stuff.

The Ter­ri­ers, af­ter col­lect­ing seven points from nine in a re­cent good run, have now crashed back to earth – but you would never call them nat­u­ral rel­e­ga­tion fod­der on this show­ing.

Their man­ager David Wag­ner said: “I was pleased we lim­ited Arse­nal to so few chances. We de­served a point. Ob­vi­ously I am dis­ap­pointed, but we chased a top-class side and we can keep our heads high.’’ NEW Southamp­ton boss Ralph Hasen­huttl must re­alise the full ex­tent of the job he has taken on af­ter this de­feat at the hands of Neil Warnock’s war­riors.

By the time they fell be­hind to Cal­lum Pater­son’s lu­di­crous goal – af­ter a hor­ri­ble er­ror from Jan­nik Vester­gaard – Saints were far too soft against a Cardiff side pre­pared to get down and dirty.

Aus­trian Hasen­huttl must have ex­pected more of the grimy and gritty work re­quired when you are mired in the rel­e­ga­tion zone, but got the same kind of flat, pas­sion­less dis­play that earned Mark Hughes the sack.

Hasen­huttl looked back on his first game in charge and ad­mit­ted: “I al­ways said we would ei­ther win or we learned – and here we ab­so­lutely learned.

“It’s not easy to play here, in a very pas­sion­ate and emo­tional at­mos­phere but I was not dis­ap­pointed with what my team showed me. The rest will come in the next weeks.’’

It might have been dif­fer­ent if Stu­art Armstrong had won a penalty at 0-0 when he was tripped by Vic­tor Ca­ma­rasa, but the ref­eree gave the Cardiff man the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

Cardiff are now four points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone, and Warnock said: “I was very proud of the whole club to­day. They were hor­ren­dous con­di­tions, but the noise level lifted us and spurred us on.”

Cardiff 1 Southamp­ton 0

JOY BOY: Cardiff scorer Pater­son

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