Hull vs Arsenal Preview…

Howdie Folks,

First all of all a massive thanks to Debs, JAT and Wills, whom in my absence have written some really good articles, and maybe being away is a good thing for the Arsenal, as we’ve won every game… We take on Hull tomorrow in a very important game – well, every game is important from now until the end of the season, in fact, they’re all cup finals, aren’t they – and that is how we played against Porto – a performance which was absolutely top draw.

It’s very close at the top with Man United on 63 points and both us and Chelsea (wagih) on 61 points… Hull for us, of course, will be a difficult test, they are a “bitey” side and have shown what they are capable of – against the big boys – with some impressive performances both this and last season, of course, a shock to all last season when they beat us at the Emirates. This season, there was quite a lot of animosity, with a flare up which resulted in both clubs being fined by the FA.

Tomorrow’s game action sees Chelsea and West Ham meet at Stamford Bridge for a 3pm kick off and then after that sees us travel to he KC Stadium. Chelsea have had a week’s rest or so, but I wouldn’t put it past West Ham to have a real go at them as they’re in need of points just as much as anyone else. Chelsea’s recent losses to Everton and Man City should sure inspire West Ham. With Man United playing on Sunday, we could leapfrog them and keep the pressure up.

Arsene has confirmed that Cesc is out of the fixture and we’ll also be without Alex Song as he completed the second of his two match suspension…

“His chances of playing are 0.5 per cent – that means unless a miracle happens, he will not play. At the moment, Cesc is out of Saturday’s game. We have a little doubt about [Tomas] Rosicky (groin), but we will check that tomorrow morning. Nobody else is back, but we will lose [Alex] Song, because he is suspended.”

With Campbell having played in midweek, I doubt he’ll play again so soon, as recent changes from Arsene have suggested that he doesn’t want Sol to play two games in quite quick sucession, rather to put him in every other game if required. Silvestre would be his natural replacement, and as a result, the team news could mean we’ll see this team deployed tomorrow:

Almunia

Sagna – Vermalen – Silvestre – Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Walcott – Nasri – Arshavin

Bendtner

With our next game after this at the Emirates a full week away, there won’t be any need to rest Sagna or Walcott which sees Eboue out of the team, which may be quite disappointing for the Ivorian, as he has shown some excellent form recently. I’d expect Nasri to continue ahead of Denilson and Diaby in the central midfield position and it’s a very exciting team. There is a question of which Niklas Bendtner we will see tomorrow, we all know he can do it, more games under his belt should see his consistency get better.

Arsene took time to praise Eboue’s recent form and said this:

“I believe it is like Theo [Walcott]. He [Eboue] was criticised last year and came back with the right attitude. Put the right performances in and people will love you. We are not loved for what you say when you are a football player but for what you produce on the football pitch. Sometimes we tend to forget that. He did that right. Theo did too. He [Eboue] is developing into a complete player – he can play full-back, right midfield, left midfield. He is a great football player. Emmanuel Eboue starts now to get the credit he deserves. He has a fantastic attitude and loves the game. He is an extrovert who has some talents not only on the football pitch but he can be funny. He uses that in a very positive way for a good mood in the squad. His best position is right back or right midfield. When we want to be a bit more solid we use Sagna and him on the right flank.  But he is a very creative player. Full-back is a very important position in modern football, if you start well there – the quality of your pass and of getting out of pressure most of the time in the modern game comes through the wings and starts with the full-backs.

It’s funny, because every time Arsene praises a player before a game, he doesn’t play them in the next one, as we saw when Theo was on the bench against Porto. But personally, I have to say, my opinion of Emmanuel Eboue has completed changed and he’s a much better player than we all thought a year ago. In fact, Arsene has proved me wrong on several occasions with the likes of Flamini, Diaby, Eboue and Bendtner – all four players I was happy to see the back of, but they’ve all proved me wrong to become pretty damn good players. I hope Denilson can shake off his bad form and also prove me wrong.

Suddenly, having had the likes of so many good players back in the squad, having all had a run of games to regain match fitness, we see ourselves with a larger squad and more options. The run in is going to be exciting and there is no reason why we’re not going to be involved…

Come on you Gunners, one game at a time… Til tomorrow…

  • devday

    Update: according to the Arsenal web site, Sagna may miss the Hull game with an ankle injury…

    Bacary is a doubt to face Hull. “We have an uncertainty with Sagna on his ankle,” said Wenger on Thursday morning.”He is a ‘doubt’, not a ‘big doubt’.”

  • goonerman

    id agree with your team devday other than eboue in for sagna becuase if there is any doubt over him i think eboue will just get the nod as he didnt start on tuesday! i thought campbell would start but like you say he allready played on tuesday so he will probably rotate the two between games untill gallas is back!

  • Pissed off

    Using Wengers word “When we want to be a bit more solid we use Sagna and him on the right flank”-That is true Mr Wenger but another fact is this if we play Silvestre away from home tommorrow we either loose or draw the match.Its as simple as that.

  • Josiah`

    nah i think we will be okay

  • Bonathan

    Yeah, do not misunderstate the importance of tomorrows game. so, so crucial. and it won’t be easy. yes, we are playing hull, not the best side in the prem and a side struggling of late. but we are away from home and we are missing some players. Yes, we’ve had an injury hit squad for about every game this season, but we have crucial players out in positions we have little cover for.

    funnily enough, i am not talking about cesc here. of course he’ll be a miss, there’s no one quite like him. but we have a lot of options there, even with ramsey out also, and it’s likely the awesome nasri will carry on there.

    we do not really have anyone is the same mold as alex song. only eastmond, but i don’t think he is quite ready just yet for the step up, although i do have big hopes for him. Song has become a real lynchpin for us and we miss him when he doesn’t play. i don’t think denilson really has the defensive nouse when he sits in there. i hope we turn to diaby. great going forward, and it’s always a shame to take that license away from him, but i saw one game when diaby sat in front of the defense there and he looked like he could do a very useful job there providing he remains disciplined.

    does anyone know when gallas is expected back by the way??

    the main area of concern is obviously the defense. the first thing i will say here is that the signing of campbell was a masterstroke. Without him, we would not have coped as well as we have in the absense of gallas. fact. like someone mentioned above though. wenger is likely to pick campbell twice in a week. Which of course leaves silvestre.

    where do i start with this guy? the guy will cover less ground that our goalpost during a match. yes, he is getting on, but i have never saw him bust a gut to get back if the play is behind him. the only things he seems to do in a match is either play everyone offside, commit fouls or watch the oppsosing team run by him with an oblivious look on his face like he doesn’t quite know what he is doing there. which is something i often wonder myself. i would mind placing a bet that he has been the main fault with more goals than any other player this season despite only playing a handful of games. i think we are going to have to score twice to have a chance of winning.

    make no mistake, this is the big one. if we win this, there is a good chance silvestre will not have to play another game. i hope so anyway. the two following games could be played by campbell as there is only one a week and hopefully after that gallas will be back. not sure when he is expected back but hopefully that will do him. wonder how long djurou is being off.

    To be fair, when djourou is back, we have decent cover at CB although sol can’t carry on long term. i think there’s a good chance we could get next season out of him though used sensibly. At the mo though, i am praying i see the first halfway decent game from silvestre. who knows, maybe he’ll play a blinder! ha, no chance of that. half decent will be enough of a miracle i never realised quite how bad he was till he came to us.

    Fingers crossed though, and i wish him the best of luck. Make no mistake. this is it.

  • Bonathan

    I meant to say wenger is ‘unlikely’ to play campbell twice in a week.

    Also, i meant to say silvestre plays everone ‘onside’, not offside, which i wish he would from time to time.

  • Pissed off

    @ Bonathan; Silvestre plays everyone onside and to TBH he isn’t the kind of player you would want to use away from home in the running to our serious title bid. But that being said lets put our weight behind the team and stick to them like we have done these past few weeks; ButI would rather have a half fit Sol play than a fully fit Silv.

  • yemi

    i love it wn our players get the stick cos they seem to respond on the pitch with outstanding displays. silvestre will suprise y’all. my prediction hull 1: 4 arsenal. bendner, arshavin and diaby

  • yemi

    but if diaby is playing deep, then rosisky

  • Bonathan

    i wonder if he might be tempted to play campbell again today. he’s had a few games under his belt now and wouldn’t have to play him for the full 90 mins. bearing in mind there is no midweek game either. team i’d pick for today would be:

    Almunia
    Sagna(if fit) Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
    Diaby Denilson
    Eboue Nasri Arshavin
    B52

    of course, sagna depends on whether he’s shook off his injury and campbell depends on what sort of shape he’s in. you might be surprised to see eboue in for walcott there but the guy can run all day, is fresh, in form and i just think he could come in really handy today away from home. walcott could be effective from the bench. having said that, if theres doubts over sagna they coould both play.

    i think without song it’s important denilson and diaby play, with diaby being the main holding midfielder. i think rosicky and nasri together, away from home would push on a bit too much. again though, useful options from the bench and also we have eduardo. it’d be nice to see him get some playing time to give B52 a bit of competition.

  • Josiah

    off the arsenal website

    Turning to Saturday, Sol Campbell is likely to recover after finishing the midweek win over Porto with cramp. Wenger was also positive that Bacary Sagna (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky would be OK too. Cesc Fabregas, however, needed “a miracle”. Alex Song is suspended,

  • Vazy

    Team is

    Almunia

    Sagna-SOL-Verminator-Clichey
    Denielson-Diaby-Nasri
    Eboe-Bendtner-Arshavin

    according to SSN

  • Vazy

    subs-Fabianski, eduardo,waclott, silvestre, traore, merida, eastomond

    pretty sweet if you ask me, COMON YOU GOONERS!!!!

  • Zegooner

    anybody has a decent link to the game?:-(

  • Sam

    Great job, 0-1 inside 15 min!
    Arshavin scores a superb goal.

  • Vazy

    1-1, :( im looking for one too

  • Nick

    Unbelievable bad call. He was offside when the ball was played, then he threw himself in front of Sol and went down with minimal contact and we’re level 1-1 on a completely bogus penalty.

    Come on you gunners. The first goal was brilliant and since then we’ve been flat.

  • Sam

    Stupid ref! Will win this one, no worries.

  • Sam

    Hull down to 10. Our win may become easier now.

  • Nick

    Hull are playing some really rough challenges. I’m so pissed off that Bendtner got a yellow for Boatang slapping him in the face. WTF???? At least justice has been served and Boatang is off. 45 minutes against a 10 man team. The officials are missing so many offside calls.

  • Shawn

    denilson is being made to look like a child . . . nasri is disappointing . . .

  • Josiah

    i think were gonna drop points to a ten men hull city.

  • Shawn

    yesssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • tm17

    Bendtner !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jeffvip

    YAYAYA… luckily 2nd 90minutes goal. this is mandate. our destiny. championship

  • Sam

    Ahhhhh!!!
    I can breath again. The dream is still alive!

  • Vazy

    GEEEET IN!!! i just finished going absolutely mental! got the result thats all that matters! they do like to leave it late dont they?

    BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

    BEEEEENNNNNDDDTTTNNNEEERRR!

  • Sam

    This is the stuff champions are made of! Digging deep to scrap for 3 points.
    BTW, we’ve now scored “101″ goals in all competitions!!!
    I’m so proud and thankful to be a Gooner.

  • Berth

    we where kicked real hard in this one but fortunately for us they were the ones getting injured. Good win from the team am glad we got a late winner from somewhere – am sure its our first late goal as a match winner.

  • Kodjo

    Tough game but in certains respects as wenger put in the first 20 mins we took it all easy and we nearly paid a big price for it…

    what i fear most is the conspiracy of refs against arsenal….the refs decisions today were bizzare to say the least…not to mention 2 clear cut penalties which the ref waved away….bendtner being shoved in the face onto the ground by mendy when he was ready to head the ball in…and who said there was no contact on clichy in the box!!!

    the other conspiracy is other teams ganging up against us and rolling over for man utd…teams like alardyce’s blackburn and bruce’s sunderland. i watched the sp*rs game and i couldnt believe how terrible alardyces selection policy was by playing salgado against bale…it was no contest. i guess alardyce hates benitez soo much that he got his team to roll over so l’pool do not get the 4th spot (admittedly i have no proof but i have been in football long enough to know when teams are not trying hard).

  • Berth

    common kudjo u shouldnt be tinking that way.

  • yemi

    bizzare officiating! but the guys played well enuff. don’t 4get hull want to beat the drop, and we’ve had some bad blood flowing from previous matches, we played midweek too. i never expected a typical arsenal type of play against hull. but i prayed we don’t drop points

  • yemi

    we have a shot at the title, we need to keep winning. i hope we don’t get any biased ref again this season

  • Sam

    Why does every team roll over for ManU? Fulham are taking it so easy against them!

  • Kodjo

    @ Sam…so i am not the only one who thinks teams just roll over for man utd

    when i see teams get stuck into arsenal…with 200% committment…i just wonder!!! is this the same fulham team that arsenal played? i cant believe the pathetic defending and the general apathy!!!!

  • Sam

    @Kodjo – I always think every goalkeeper has the game of his life when playing Arsenal!!!

  • Pissed off

    To beat the odds you have to beat them all.

  • goonerman

    to be fair fergie and roy are complete bumboys who constantly lick eachothers arses! Ohh the job roy has done at fulham is amazing and ohh he is just a fantrastic manager! i know other teams deny it but every team even the smaller ones have some kind of mission against arsenal and put in double the performances compared to chelsea and man united! and the amount chelsea and man united are being carried by rooney and drogba is amazing! and still fabregas gets no plaudits for what he is doing from MIDFIELD he has nearly 30 goals and assists and he hasnt played the amount of games drogba and rooney have and he is only 22 rooney is a mighty 24 lol! I appreciate that rooney and droga have been excellent but cesc in midfield is literally smashing any season had by a midfielder like lampard or gerrard but of course becuase he is not english people are a little less keen to heap on the praise!

  • Yemi

    I know why teams put in 200% or more commitment. The simple reason is “How would you explain being beaten black and blue by a team of “small boys” with average age of less that 23 ? You have to take the little lads out anyway so you don’t get disgraced.

  • Yemi

    the truth of the matter is that we do not have a stiker at arsenal in the mould of either drogba or rooney. Their presense alone makes defences go weak at the knees and makes teams kind of defend more and rely on long balls for attack. By doing this, they get sucked in. If you look at the teams that have taken the game to chelsea/man u (wolves, burnly, birmingham, wigan) you will notice that even when they lose, it is not as bad as west ham or fulham.

  • ny

    Any idea why Arsene substituted Eboue who was playing well and not Arshavin

  • goonerman

    hopefully bendtner keeps banging in and he will make the defences go weak at the knees haha!

    @ny- wenger probably took eboue off instead of arshavin becuase eboue and theo are similar players and are there to do the same job! and i suppose even though he missed a sitter arshavin is still a game winner so you always want him on the pitch if you can!

  • Nick

    @ny: Good question! Arshavin had another game where he was either a pit bull and went after everything with hunger and desire or he just rolled the ball to Hull like he didn’t care. So many passes off the mark and silly turnovers.

    Theo was absolutely brilliant from the moment he stepped on the pitch. Shame he didn’t put the winner in for us. On to the next match!

    It’s gonna be a tough run in the way Drogba and Rooney are scoring 2 each a game. Someone is gonna have to put up a great game to beat them.

  • dada

    In the event that we do manage to steal the Premier League title this season, don’t expect to be reading any thoughts from my good self on the miraculous feat. Because the heart will have packed in by that time, as there are only so many matches like this a fan can take. Was it really as tense as this in 1998, 2002 and 2004? Surely not. Granted, Liverpool on 26th May 1989 was pretty similar in many respects, but by injury time, I think most had given up. It’s the mixture of hope and expectation that creates the kind of tension this viewer was feeling watching the Hull game. There was no expectation that night at Anfield.

    Credit to Arsenal. They got the result they required and the three vital, vital points. If I’d been watching Chelsea or Man Utd get this result, I’d have thought – mark of a good team. Keep going, keep the pressure up, not play all that well, but get the result required and get out. Arsenal now have to be viewed in the same category. Surely, fans of our title rivals now watch Gunners’ games and think – they’ll nick one in injury time to get the points, I can’t relax until the final whistle.

    The team did not have their finest of days. But titles are won by such days counting for as much as the most comfortable of home wins. Quality of performance is an irrelevance now. What the remainder of Arsenal’s season is about is belief and determination. Wenger’s infamous ‘mental strength’.

    In this of all seasons, to say that had the team failed to win, their chances would have been finished might seem a bit harsh, but I really felt that way as the clock ticked down. We are talking about a Hull side in the bottom three here, as stoutly as they defended. The pitch may have made flowing football very difficult (and might explain some of the poor finishing) but these are the matches that title winners win on their way to lifting the trophy in May. If the win in adversity at Stoke was a turning point, then Hull served as confirmation that things have indeed turned 100% since the sequence of defeats to the title rivals about six weeks ago.

    Alex Song was missed badly today. When Hull had their captain dismissed, I thought, well that evens things up, as Arsenal have been playing with ten men since the kick off, such was the paucity of Denilson’s contribution. The boy has no strength to speak off and is just shoved off the ball with zero resistance. Wenger has got away with playing him against Burnley and Hull, but if he is forced to field the Brazilian one more time this season, I fear he will not be so fortunate. He adds nothing and is a liability. He did not even have the excuse of fatigue as he played only 20 minutes in midweek against Porto. Of course, it had to be him that set up the winner, the only contribution of any positive note from the number 15 all evening.

    And as for anyone who thought Arsenal had an easier run-in than the other two contenders, this evening’s experience nailed the myth of that one. There are no easy matches until they are won. The team can never take the field thinking they are not going to have to battle for the points. In fairness to Hull, they fought like… well, I hate to say it but, tigers – especially in the second half with ten men. Arsenal created enough opportunities to win the game, but simply failed to trouble the keeper.

    Sure Hull’s goal was as a result of an offside that wasn’t given, but these decisions happen, and all a team can do is react in the right way. I think in fairness, Arsenal suffered from a poor pitch, fatigue from the Porto game and – once they were reduced to ten men – Hull’s priority of keeping the point that they had. That they were a man down should have made the visitors’ task easier, but football doesn’t always work that way.

    What it came down to was persistence, keeping going, grinding down the opposition and waiting for the moment to come. Things were starting to look desperate as injury time ebbed away, but credit to Denilson for having a pop from outside the box, and Bendtner for following up before his marker could stop him. These are the matches that win titles. Arsenal have to keep winning them by hook or by crook.

    And they are capable of winning them all, and it’s my belief that they’ll probably need to. But momentum is everything and five league wins on the trot is indisputably that. Because a number of the team are so young, the European involvement may pose a danger, as tired legs are more likely in less experienced players, who may not be wise enough to pace themselves over a whole season. In truth it’s probable that Arsene Wenger will have to rotate a little to try and keep things fresh, but are the back ups good enough? When Arsenal play their European quarter final legs either side of the Wolves match will a side with Vela, Eduardo, Denilson and Theo Walcott be able to gain three points under pressure? Where will the goals to defeat Mick McCarthy’s side come from?

    Arsenal played against Hull without Gallas, Song, Fabregas and Van Persie. It’s a credit to them that they did achieve the result with four such huge players absent. But boy could we do with them back. Song will return for West Ham, but my gut feeling is that the captain will be rested further until the Birmingham game and even then, might only be a substitute, with the manager wrongly prioritising what’s likely to be a glamour European tie. As for Gallas, I fear we’ve seen his last ever performance in an Arsenal shirt, which really doesn’t bode well. Remember how the team folded in his absence last season? Van Persie will not play again this season until he pulls on a Holland shirt in a pre-World Cup friendly.

    It really is against all odds stuff, but Arsenal must simply focus on the next game and winning it. So it’s West Ham next weekend. Since the Stoke comeback, two down, eight to go. After going to Hull and back, the title is still very much on. Not good for the nerves, of course, but we’ll all be back for more suffering on Saturday, regardless. And paying for the privilege!

  • Jeffwardo

    The mighty orange mouth from Hull has been given the shove!!!

    Arsenal win and brown dumped, i’m so happy.

  • Nick

    As long as B52 can keep poaching goals RVP won’t be missed. If he has another game like he did last weekend then RVP will be missed more than ever.

    Eddie needs to make a contribution badly! Theo needs more playing time. Arshavin needs to focus and improve his passing efficiency.

    Sol > Gallas in terms of physical presence.

    Song>>>>>>>>>>>Denilson in midfield. I never thought I’d say that, but this year has proved different.

    Most important, obviously, is that Cesc gets back on the pitch to give the guidance and intelligence in midfield. Nasri did OK but he’s definitely not got the vision that Cesc has.

  • dampatti

    Thoughts on the game
    -Winning these types of matches is what champions do (Look at United the past years, these are the games they won and what seperated them from the rest)
    -Jozy played out of his mind
    -Boatang could have been sent off twice
    -Campbell’s challenge was 50-50, he won the ball, and the player followed through into him, no foul
    -Justice was done in the end after the blatant offside that was missed prior to the penalty
    -Campbell is far to slow for the Premier League and was caught out too many times only to be saved by TV
    -Walcott is back in form and blazing fast
    -Hull put in a great team effort after the sending off, it was valiant work by the shorthanded team,
    We are all lucky Denilson took that shot, I tell you. This is the first time I’ve complimented the lad but he’s scored a couple from outside the box this season and deserves massive credit for having the guts to go for it on Saturday at such a late stage in the game.

    Andy – ever since you’ve put your faith in B52 scoring ten goals he’s done you proud!

    Before the goal I had that same feeling in the pit of my stomach. How could it all end here, in Hull?! Then it happened and like the rest of you I’m not afraid to admit that I went a little crazy!

    A week for Cesc to recover and a week closer to the return of Gallas and RvP. Song is back from suspension too and thanks to the Champions League he’s not out of practice.

    Let’s focus on hammering the Hammers to get our goal difference up!

  • yemi

    @dampatti: we really need goals the way it is going now cos we are a bit goal difference disadvantaged even though we’ve scored the highest number of goals. chelsea and man u beat west ham black and blue, we need to do same.