Huddersfield v Arsenal preview: Arsene Wenger aiming for first 2018 away points in final game
Last Updated: 13/05/18 7:25am
Arsenal will be looking to earn their first away points in 2018 when they travel to Huddersfield as Arsene Wenger takes charge of his final game.
The Frenchman announced his departure from the club after 22 years last month, but the Gunners have struggled on the road since the turn of the year, including a 3-1 defeat to Leicester on Wednesday.
When asked about his team, Wenger said: "I must say the players' attitude was great [against Leicester]. They were fantastic. I believe there is a special bond in the team. There's something waiting to come out of this team that is special, that I like very much. Hopefully, they can express that next season.
"It was very strange [Sunday's farewell at the Emirates] and I'm grateful for it because you can say it's sad but if you look at it in an objective way, when you have the privilege to manage a club of that stature for 22 years, you should be very, very happy and say 'thank you very much, it was a great privilege'. That's how I look at it."
For Huddersfield, they face Arsenal knowing their Premier League status is secured for next season after drawing 1-1 with Chelsea in midweek, and manager David Wagner says he is honoured to host Wenger for his final game.
"I'm so happy we can host him in his last Premier League game after 22 years - and we are able to host him in these circumstances," he said. "That we can give him all the honour and all the attention he deserves. This is possible after our last result on Wednesday.
"We as a football club will do it, we have the biggest respect for what he has done, we are happy that we play the last game against him and Arsenal. We, the players and the staff, will give him a guard of honour and the club, for sure, has a present for him as well."
Arsenal will be without the suspended Konstantinos Mavropanos for Sunday's game. The young defender was shown a straight red card in midweek and will be forced to sit out the game having started the Gunners' last three league matches.
Mesut Ozil (back), Mohamed Elneny (ankle), Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla (both Achilles) are also missing but Alexandre Lacazette and Jack Wilshere could return after the England midfielder missed the midweek game following the birth of his daughter.
Wagner will select from an unchanged squad for Sunday's game. Tom Ince is hoping to feature after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Michael Hefele (knee), Elias Kachunga and Danny Williams (both ankle) remain sidelined.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Huddersfield in all competitions (W7 D2), winning their last game in Huddersfield 5-0 in a League Cup match in 1993.
The Gunners won the reverse of this fixture 5-0 - only twice have they scored 5+ goals in both Premier League games against a side in a season, vs Derby in 2007-08 and Everton this season.
Arsenal have won only three away Premier League games this season. They last won as few as four away league games in a top-flight season in 1989-90 (4), while the last time they won fewer than four was 1975-76 (2). Meanwhile, the Gunners have lost 11 away Premier League games this season - a joint-high for them in the competition (level with 1994-95). They last lost 12 on the road in a top-flight campaign back in 1984-85.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 final Premier League games (W10 D2), winning the last six in a row. Their last such defeat came at Birmingham in 2004-05.
This will be Arsene Wenger's 828th and final Premier League match in charge of Arsenal. The John Smith's Stadium will be the 54th different ground at which he's managed in the competition, with three of the six grounds he's failed to win at in the competition being based in Yorkshire (Bramall Lane, Hillsborough and Valley Parade).
Huddersfield have failed to score in 20 different Premier League games this season - only Derby in 2007-08 (22) and Leeds in 1996-97 (21) have ever failed in more in a single campaign.
Huddersfield are safe now but Arsenal have to finish with at least a point here, otherwise it'd be embarrassing in Arsene Wenger's final game. It's unbelievable they haven't got a point away this year.
Huddersfield have worked their socks off in the last two games - I can't think there'd be much left in the tank - so I'm tipping Wenger to sign off with a win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2