Hull City 1 – 3 Arsenal, Match Report
Arsenal went into the late kick-off match at Hull knowing that their adversaries above them in the league had all been fortunate to record victories late in their games, and 3 points from the match was even more of a necessity for Arsenal to stay in the chase.
Here’s how Arsenal lined up :
Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy
Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri
Adebayor, Van Persie.
It was something of a scrappy beginning to the game, Arsenal working hard but failing to find a rhythm, and struggling to create many chances from open play. Arsenal did come close from set plays though, Van Persie having 2 free-kicks around the penalty box. The first was deflected off Turner in the Hull wall and almost ricocheted into the Hull goal, the second was a blistering curling shot that keeper Myhill got just enough of a touch on to push on to the bar.
And indeed Arsenal’s first goal came from a corner on the 30th minute, Van Persie curling in a delightfully placed delivery into Adebayor at the back post, who soared above everybody else in the box to nod the ball down into the net.
There was a mild sense of irony that while Eboue’s presence on the right wing was offering little of an attacking threat for Arsenal, it was he that was brought down for the second Van Persie free-kick from which Arsenal almost scored, and his lack of creativity to get a final ball into the box that lead to his weak cross being deflected for the corner that Arsenal did score from.
Arsenal had a penalty scare in the second half as Djourou clumsily dealt with a ball bouncing in front of Hull winger Manucho, heading more of the attacker than the ball.
Arsenal were not looking comfortable with the 1 – 0 lead, with Hull refusing to be beaten easily, not only frustrating Arsenal in attack but also applying pressure of their own.
Indeed their were uncomfortable echoes of the defeat to Hull at the Emirates earlier in the season when Hull equalised through a now customary piece of poor defending by Arsenal.
Clichy backed off winger Mendy, allowing Mendy to control a long ball and loft a cross into the box to Cousin in plenty of space inbetween Djourou and Toure, and Cousin headed solidly past Almunia from the 6 yard line.
With the game now at 1-1, Wenger again looked to Bendtner to make an impact coming of the bench to replace Eboue with 20 minutes to play, as he had done so effectively against Bolton last week. With Bendtner as a wide forward Arsenal immediately showed more attacking presence as they sought to break down Hull.
That winner did come for Arsenal, Bendtner cutting the ball into Van Persie on the edge of the box from wide. Van Persie showed great skill as almost all of the Hull defence surrounded him, and he was able to find Samir Nasri in space on the edge of the box, who showed great composure to take a touch to control the ball and side-foot home across the keeper.
Arsenal killed the game off shortly after when Bendtner surged into the box, played a neat little one-two with Van Persie and slotted home from the 6 yard line.
Again it was a game won for Arsenal by the excellence of Robin Van Persie, who played an integral part in all 3 of Arsenal’s goals. The added attacking impetus of Bendtner was also a factor, and I thought Nasri had an good game on the wing.
Arsenal again left it late but showed good fight and spirit to get a victory from 1-1, and it’s the 3 point that matter!
Finally a quote to that effect from Arsene Wenger:
“I believe this team goes from strength to strength. Mentally they were up for it, we were focused, united, and ready for the battle. And we gave it a go until the end.”