Arsenal 3 – 0 Hull… a defining moment?

In a weekend which saw both Man United and Liverpool lose again (in what is looking like one of the most craziest Premier League seasons ever)… it was essential that we took the three points against Hull to ensure we could gain some ground on the top. And that’s exactly what we did. In a game where we had quite a few of our players out, our captain Cesc, our two main strikers in Robin Van Persie and Niklas Bendtner and all three of our left backs, Clichy, Gibbs and Traore (not to mention Rosicky and Djourou)…

Our starting line up was:

Almunia

Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Silvestre

Denilson – Song

Eduardo – Diaby – Nasri

Arshavin

It was an interesting initial line up, and we saw Eduardo, Arshavin and Diaby rotate themselves in those three positions. Arsene has done well to choose when to rest Sagna this season and Eboue came in again in a game which made sense to have the Ivorian take part – Eboue does bring a certain amount of pace and attack that Sagna doesn’t have, whilst Sagna does bring an aerial presence, a defensive thought process and a more refined play.

The first half was a little more scrappy than I’d like to have seen it – Hull were over physical and very defensive minded, with 10 men behind the ball at all times. One player in particular – Hunt – was really over the top – and twice went into Almunia. And it was the same player who was very much involved in a massive tussle where Silvestre had to hold back about 5 players. And if Hunt had been booked for any of those two challenges against Almunia, he would have been sent off.

Denilson took the resulting free kick and what a free kick it was. It was so good that I thought I’d locate it on YouTube so you could play it again and again:

And apparently Denilson wasn’t planning on taking the free kick…

“Denilson is not a free kick specialist. I was quite surprised, he was not specially named because it was Nasri who was going to take it and he took it well. I thought first he wanted to cross the ball but he scored. It changed the game.”

So, we’ve discovered a new free kick taker – and he’s scored more free kick than Robin has all season! Ahem… yes I know! And it was a lead that we really deserved. We had another minute or so for the first half but all in all, we definitely deserved to be up 1-0.

One thing that was prevalent was that we weren’t playing as well as we could have in the first half. Our passing wasn’t spot on, so I did expect a better performance in the second half. And that exactly what we got. We started the second half as a team with a purpose to get the second goal. We looked to be quicker and generally more focused on our game.

But Hull had a spot of luck when Silvestre man handled one of their strikers in the box and Hull were awarded a penalty. Almunia has come under some criticism recently, but he pulled off a remarkable save to keep the score at 1-0.

And from that point onwards we looked to turn up the level and it wasn’t too long until we took the lead. Some good play down the left and a sweet one two with Song and Diaby saw the Frenchman square the ball for Eduardo to tap the ball in an open goal. Diaby managed to get on the score sheet too with some excellent play going forward and another sweet one two – this time with Arshavin – and the Frenchman finished with aplomb…

Let’s take a listen to Arsene about the game:

“We had to fight. We had problems a little bit to start because we left a lot of physical strength in our last two games at Liverpool and Burnley on Wednesday night and it took us some time to get into the game and to find the pace. In the first half we didn’t look very fresh but we got in front and in the second half I believe even if it was a turning point with the penalty they missed, to me the penalty looked really, really harsh and we scored straight away a second goal and we had plenty of chances after.”

So after three points at Liverpool, three points at home yesterday and a decent draw midweek, we’re still in the hunt. United and Liverpool seem to be losing games now against opposition you wouldn’t expect and West Ham managed to keep Chelsea to a draw…

So, we’re 6 points behind them, 3 if we win our game in hand. A win at Stamford Bridge and the title is ours!

  • wills

    Not the best game I’ve ever been to, I have to say, the first half was dire until the ‘incident’!

    Still, we won comfortably and it could’ve been 4 or 5 in the end. Nice to see Eduardo get on the scoresheet for the first time in a while too.

    Just read on SSN that Luca Toni is available on a free…wonder what people would think about having him at the Emirates?

  • devday

    Wills, not sure about Luca Toni – need to think about the reasons why he has left Bayern Munich – apparently he has fallen out with the manager and the coaching staff…

  • arseneKnows

    2nd INVITATION

    Dear darling Arsenal,
    We were sorry you couldn’t take full advantage of our previous invitation, those Burnley boys really
    are a brutal lot, but no bother, we’d like to extend another invitation your way and very much hope you
    can take us up on the offer this time around,

    All our love for now,

    Chelsea and Man U.

    xx

  • Myles

    Luca Toni?!?!

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_5790205,00.html

    granted he’s old
    but Arsene wanted a FREE target man, and may not be a bad bit of back up until Bendtner and Van Persie Return

    he’s big, a target man and can head the ball etc

  • jeffvip

    LOL… arseneknows

  • Kuka

    ….the season is constantly working out for Arsenal. Every time, we get written off, be it cos of injuries or bad results, other results in the table swing us back in. How I wish we could just sieze this rare moments and run with it. If I could, I would hand-deliver “arsenknows” invitation to the players and manager. If possible with a copy to United and Chelsea…..

  • Leeroy.N

    It does seem like we keep getting given a helping hand, and a few times we have been reluctant or unlucky to take it. This weekends match against Hull was a breath of fresh air. Hull are a team who know how to dig their heels in and frustrate a team like Arsenal. Not saying they sit back and defend, but going forward too. As much as they didn’t create a million dangerous chances, they done enough to make the hairs stnad up on the back of our players necks. The game got a little heated and physical at times, the Referee and decisions didn’t help with that either. I’m not sure if Denilson’s goal or the scuffle before it ended up being the defining moment. Again at half time, Wenger may have been able to calm their frustrations down, tell them to be quicker and more fluid like moving the ball. I believe he must have had a quiet word with Diaby too, because he was the thorn in Hull’s side.

    It was great to see the win and in the manner of it too. I liked what I saw in the end and looking back over it. Come on you Gunners!!!

  • Sam

    Great position to be in, but how many more helping hands are we going to get till the end of the season?

  • Leeroy.N

    SAM – True, But if we have any luck like ManU or Ch*ls have had over the past 5 years then we are due a few more. HAHA!!

  • Faraway

    But Hull had a spot of luck when Silvestre man handled one of their strikers in the box and Hull were awarded a penalty.

    Please. Silvestre barely touched the guy. That Hull person tried to manhandle him instead but failed.

  • wills

    Breaking news, Kroenke is now within 17 shares of a take over after acquiring 25 more last week.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Still a long, long way to go in the league yet so I am not going to start getting to ambitious about winning the league but we are right back in it now and just hope and prey we can stay in the fight until the bitter end.

    wills – interesting news, does anyone anticipate a takeover soon and if so will it free up some funds for transfers?

  • devday

    True, Faraway, the replays quite obviously show that Silvestre has less of the man than the man had on him!

  • Leeroy.N

    A very soft penalty awarded. Justice was served with the save, even though the actual penalty was terrible!

    I don’t know what will happen when Kroenke eventually takes over. I remember he was ousted when he first came to the club.. now everyone wants him in, or is it just because they don’t want Usmanov to take over?

    Does anyone agree with it, or would they rather it stay in the hands it’s in already?