Arsenal have three players booked for diving against Huddersfield as they face defensive crisis

GRANIT XHAKA, Shkodran Mustafi and Matteo Guendouzi were all booked for diving on a feisty afternoon in North London which saw 33 fouls and nine yellow cards.

Referee Paul Tierney certainly had his work cut out at the Emirates as Arsenal and Huddersfield's players, coaching staff and fans all climbed on his back.

Arsenal have three players booked for diving against Huddersfield as they face defensive crisisReuters4 Matteo Guendouzi was one of three Arsenal players booked for diving

But Arsenal boss Unai Emery praised the referee for his performance – something few Gunners supporters will be doing this evening – while rebuking his side's theatrics.

He said: "I don't want simulation for players. I want more rhythm in the match.

"The opposition can decide how they want to play and for me it is a tough match for that because the opposition stopped a lot in fouls and these yellow cards are good."

First it was Xhaka as the Swiss midfielder was breaking through from midfield when, under pressure from Aaron Mooy, he went to ground on the halfway line.

Arsenal have three players booked for diving against Huddersfield as they face defensive crisisReuters4 Shkodran Mustafi was also carded for simulation against Huddersfield

When Tierney blew his whistle, the crowd assumed there would be a yellow card – but for the Australian.

It was Xhaka who was carded and would walk the rest of the game on a tightrope due to his tendency to pick up a card for a cynical or crunching tackle.

The Arsenal captain was not exactly leading by a good example. It seems he was indeed leading by example, though.

Mustafi followed suit just before half-time when he went down in the Terriers box in desperate search of a penalty as his side struggled to break the visitors down.

Arsenal have three players booked for diving against Huddersfield as they face defensive crisisRex Features4 Granit Xhaka was also shown yellow for his diving antics
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Again the Emirates crowd appealed, again Tierney would not be conned and again the yellow card was out.

The tackles were flying in from both sides, notably Sokratis crunching Jonathan Hogg on the halfway line.

Things appeared to settle down in the second half as the Gunners continued to search for that elusive opener.

But Guendouzi became the third Gunners star shown a yellow card for simulation with ten minutes remaining.

It was becoming an embarrassing afternoon and an expensive one, too.

Arsenal have three players booked for diving against Huddersfield as they face defensive crisisReuters4 Arsenal will be without a single centre-back for their game with Southampton

Mustafi – who went off with a hamstring strain – will now be unavailable for Arsenal's game against struggling Southampton due to picking up his five yellow cards.

And Arsenal will now go to St Mary's with just Laurent Koscielny – who has not played since last season – and Sokratis as the only recognised centre-backs available.

Of course, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal can fill in from full-back if required, also.

Fortunately for Emery and Co, three minutes after Guendouzi's yellow, Lucas Torreira broke the deadlock to spare Arsenal's blushes, especially the three falling musketeers.

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