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Hull City 0-3 Arsenal: Elmo’s Tigers downed in FA Cup final preview
The German international bagged either side of the half-time interval with Olivier Giroud finding the net in between to give Arsenal all three points in a comfortable victory.
Hull City, fresh from booking their place in the FA Cup final in the thrilling 5-3 win over Sheffield United, made two changes seeing Yannick Sagbo and Maynor Figueroa drop to the bench. Lining up in a 4-4-2 the striking duo of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long returned to the squad. Arsenal meanwhile welcomed back Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal with Tomas Rosicky, Kim Kallstom and Thomas Vermaelen losing their places.
Hull City: Harper – Rosenior – Davies – Chester – Elmohamady – Meyler – Huddlestone – Livermore – Boyd – Jelavic – Long
Subs: Jakupovic – Figueroa – Bruce – Koren – Fryatt – Sagbo – Quinn
Arsenal – Szczesny – Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Arteta – Podolski – Ozil – Giroud – Ramsey – Monreal – Cazorla
Subs: Fabianski – Rosicky – Oxlade-Chamberlain – Flamini – Sanogo – Jenkinson – Kallstrom
The KC Stadium impeccably observed a minutes silence in memory of record appearance maker Andy Davidson who sadly died recently reaching a staggering 579 games in the black and amber.
The game was played in blustery conditions which bizarrely caused a section of the advertising hoardings to blow onto the pitch causing a short delay to proceedings.
Hull, who had the opportunity to cast some doubts in the minds of the Gunners players ahead of their FA Cup final encounter, started the game brightly. Jake Livermore looked to free Shane Long in the 10th minute but Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was quickly off his line to clear the danger.
Arsenal had a penalty appear waved away as record-signing Mesut Ozil went down inside the box under minimal contact from Ahmed Elmohamady before Per Mertesacker was shown a yellow card for a rash challenge on Jelavic.
From the resulting free-kick, Tom Huddlestone smartly found Jelavic who beat his man before fizzing a shot in only for the hand of Szczesny to deny the forward.
A minute later and it was David Meyler who was earning himself a yellow card for a poor challenge on Monreal. The set-piece awarded saw Arsenal launch a counter-attack which resulted in Steve Harper denying Podolski and palming his shot behind for a corner.
Arsenal looked rattled in the early exchanges as they looked to find their feet and it was Hull who again looked to threaten when Spurs’ loanee Livermore found Shane Long in space behind the defence only for the Irishman to slice his shot from a tight angle wide.
The class of Arsenal shone through however which saw them take the lead in the 31st minute after a great flowing move which saw the returning Aaron Ramsey superbly finishing off a neat Santi Cazorla pass.
Hull, undeterred by going a goal down, pushed forward and almost levelled the game but Livermore’s 20-year effort cannoned back off the post. Elmohamady then whipped in a great cross but Boyd couldn’t find the target with his header at the far post.
With half-time approaching Steve Bruce would have been pleased with the way his side had played in the opening 45 minutes. Arsenal had other ideas and delivered a sucker punch to Hull with a goal just before half-time whistle. Referee Jonathan Moss waved away protests for a foul on Jelavic in the build-up which saw the Gunners break downfield before Giroud crossed to Ramsey who chested the ball into the path of the advancing Podolski whose clinical strike gave Harper no chance.
Shane Long departed the field with an injury at half-time seeing Matty Fryatt come on but the game was over nine minutes after the restart. Cazorla set up the onrushing Ramsey, on the edge of the box, who fired in a low shot which Harper saved well only for Podolski to score his second and Arsenal’s third of the game.
Arsenal could well have had a fourth after Harper dithered in clearing the ball only for Giroud to block his clearance with the Frenchman seeing his shot crash off the underside of the crossbar with Harper a relieved man.
Arsenal cruised out the remaining 30 minutes of the game with Hull deflated by the two goals either side of half-time to round off a convincing 3-0 performance.