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Elmohamady features as Arsenal knock Hull City out of FA Cup
The starting line-up saw a very rare absence for Hull City’s Egyptian international Ahmed Elmohamady as Steve Bruce decided to rest the right wing-back and change his usual playing system, deploying four defenders at the back in a 4-4-2 formation.
Hull City XI (4-4-2): Harper; McShane, Maguire, Davies, Figueroa; Ince, Quinn, Huddlestone, Brady; Aluko, Sagbo.
Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Ospina; Bellerin, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal; Rosicky, Coquelin, Cazorla; Walcott, Sanchez, Campbell.
The home side moved the ball with pace and precision in the first half, barely giving the ball away to the visitors.
Mertsacker’s header following an Alexis Sanchez corner was the only difference between the two sides at half-time, as Hull’s Harper succeeded at keeping Arsenal’s advantage to just one goal with two brilliant saves in the first half, as Campbell and Alexis failed to convert.
Hull City looked determined to get back into the game as they controlled the pace early in the second half. However, most of their possession was of no real use as Ospina sat comfortably between his posts.
Elmohamady was Bruce’s first substitution as he came on for the Tigers’ Nigerian star Aluko in an attempt to have a more lively right flank and return to a more familiar playing style.
To compensate for Aluko’s absence, Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez replaced Ivory Coast international Yannick Sagbo.
The right-footed Egyptian commenced his usual hobby of supplying the strikers with crosses on multiple occasions, but again, with no real scoring opportunities.
Arsenal had two good chances to extend their lead through Walcott, but the England international, who recently returned from injury, wasted both.
Just 2 minutes before he was replaced by Arsenal youngster Chuba Apkom, Man of the Match Alexis Sanchez rifled a low drive into the bottom right corner following a Cazorla pass in the 82nd minute to double his side’s advantage.
Hull’s most convincing player, Tom Ince, almost scored minutes before the final whistle as he dipped a good effort narrowly over the bar.
The Tigers’ loss means that they have only one target this season: to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Commentators and analysts were full of praise for Egyptian international Elmohamady during his cameo.
BBC commentator and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown recognized the right wing-back as one of the best in the league: “Good player this fella, I think out of the top 4 or 5 clubs, he’s one of the best right-backs,” he said. “Very underrated, he’s a game changer no doubt,” he added.
Jonathan Pearce also highlighted the player’s consistency and desire. Following the game, Jonathan said: “Really looks useful at right wing-back when they play a back 3, it’s a good change. So consistent, Steve Bruce loves the Egyptian internationals’s desire,” he concluded.
Hull visit the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League next Saturday. The game is important for both sides as only one point separates them, with Hull sitting in 15th place with 19 points and West Brom with a point less in 17th.