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Match Report: Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
The win means Arsenal maintain their table-toping position and extends their winning run to four games. For Hull it was always going to be a tall order to expect them to win back-to-back games against Liverpool and Arsenal.
Arsenal went into this mid-week fixture on the back of an emphatic 3-0 away victory over Cardiff City. An inspired Aaron Ramsey scored two goals against his former club to ensure all three points headed back to London. Hull were similarly on a high after pulling off a 3-1 win over Liverpool at the KC Stadium.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger shuffled his pack with Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal, Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner all coming into the starting eleven. Dropping to the bench was Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud and Kieran Gibbs with Bacary Sagna missing out through injury. Steve Bruce was forced into a change with central defender Curtis Davies picking up a one game ban due to the amount of yellow cards he had accumulated. Robert Koren also lost his place in the starting team-sheet with James Chester back from injury and Danny Graham partnering Yannick Sagbo up front.
Arsenal: Szczesny – Jenkinson – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Monreal – Rosicky – Flamini – Ramsey – Ozil – Cazorla – Bendtner
Subs: Vermaelen – Arteta – Wilshere – Giroud – Walcott – Fabianski – Gibbs
Hull City: McGregor – Elmohamady – Bruce – Chester – Figueroa – Brady – Livermore – Meyler – Huddlestone – Sagbo – Graham
Subs: Rosenior – Koren – Fryatt – Boyd – Gedo – Harper – Faye
Fans arriving at the game late, particularly certain Hull fans stuck on the motorway due to an accident, will have missed the first goal which arrived after 93 seconds. In what was the home side’s first attack they took the lead when Carl Jenkinson fired in a cross from the right side which met the head of Nicklas Bendtner, who had got in front of Chester, who headed into the back of the net from six yards. The Dane was making his first start for Arsenal in almost three years and repaid the managers faith with the opening goal.
The home side dominated the opening exchanges particularly the possession stats with Hull struggling to really stamp their authority on the fixture.
Santi Cazorla fired a shot wide from 20 yards before McGregor made a good save to keep Koscielny’s header out from a corner with a second goal looking inevitable.
Bendtner almost doubled his and the Arsenal advantage when record-signing Ozil advanced towards the box from a corner before seeing his shot spilled by McGregor which fell straight to the strikers feet but he couldn’t turn the ball into the goal despite his sliding attempt.
It took until the 19th minute for Hull to even have a half-chance when a Danny Graham cross from the left flank just failed to find Yannick Sagbo.
In-form Aaron Ramsey then had a long-range shot which was parried well by McGregor for a corner and from the resulting set-piece the visitors cleared the danger.
Arsenal should have doubled their lead just before half-time after a superb counter attack saw Cazorla feed Jenkinson in space in what should have been a carbon copy of their first goal but Ozil somehow manager to direct his header past the post.
The second-half began much like the first with the home side doubling their advantage through Ozil who made no mistake this time around. Monreal collected the ball, with Hull players Ahmed Elmohamdy and Sagbo appealing for a throwing, playing the ball into Ozil who played a one-two with the Welshman before guiding the ball past McGregor for his third goal of the season.
Ozil then nearly returned the favour for Ramsey to score when he played in the resurgent midfielder on the right but McGregor gets down well to deflect the ball over for a corner. From the aforementioned corner Bendtner would have doubled his goal tally for the night but Robbie Brady made sure he didn’t, clearing the ball off the line.
Elmo’s cross from the right wing was too far ahead of the advancing Sagbo with the striker colliding with Szezesny in the process.
Minutes later Jake Livermore drove into the Arsenal box but his final shot was straight into the hands of a relieved Szczesny. Sagbo drifted out to the right to cross for sub George Boyd but his header went wide when all he had to do was get a soft connection and the pace of the ball would have tested the Gunners keeper.
Gedo was introduced in the 73rd minute in place of Sagbo, Boyd had yet another header but he couldn’t direct it goal-bound.
The game petered out with Arsenal content with the points and Hull struggling for any real clear cut chances which will no doubt have disappointed Bruce.
Jamie Barwick is a 21-year-old Sports Journalism graduate and a fan of Hull City, covering the Tigers on KingFut.com.