Hull 1-2 Arsenal. 90th minute goal= Hull heartbreak. Get in!

So after the destruction of Porto in the Champions League, it was back to our other target- the Premier League, where we had to face Hull City. Away trips after a mid-week European tie are always the hardest, and with the ‘hostility’ between our club and theirs, it was never going to be an easy game.

Changes from the team that faced Porto saw Denilson and Eboue replace Song (suspension) and Rosicky (injury) in the starting XI.


Almunia

Sagna– Campbell –  Vermaelen– Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Eboue– Nasri– Arshavin

Bendtner

Just like the Porto game, we started very brightly, if that means scoring a goal inside 15 minutes! It was only our second Premier League goal scored in that period this season, the other being away to Burnley. It was actually our 100th goal of the season, and it was scored by Arshavin. A pretty good goal it was, too! The ball was passed to him on the edge of the box by Bendtner, and he stumbled his way past 2 defenders, before quickly firing his shot across Boaz Myhill with his right foot. Cracking start!

It looked like we’d kick on from then, but like the last time we scored that early in the League, we conceded an equaliser, thanks to a penalty. How annoying though, that the player fouled- Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink- was offside when the ball was played to him! Apart from the fact that he was offside, it was a legitimate penalty. Sol’s challenge was clumsy, and if not because the ball was behind the Hull player, he probably would have been sent off. Anyways, the penalty was given and Jimmy Bullard duly dispatched it to the top-left corner

So out of nowhere really, we were level. That seemed to give the Hull players lots of belief, but they seemed to channel most of that belief into making unnecessary fouls, and it was only a matter of time before someone got sent off. The  Hull captain was the eventual culprit. He ought to have been sent off twice, if that was possible! He should have seen Red for raising his hand to Bendtner’s face (shortly after Dawson picked up a yellow for a late tackle on Denilson), as he actually poked him in the eye. Totally not acceptable. The referee didn’t see it, but after his assistant consulted with him, he showed him a yellow. Even more surprising was the fact that he showed Bendtner a yellow as well! Barely 10 minutes later, he picked up another yellow, this time for a horrible tackle where he caught Sagna high on the knee. Apparently this was the third time in his career that he’d been shown a Red card against us. Interesting.

But anyways, the Red card came almost on the stroke of half-time, so we couldn’t really capitalise on it before the half-time whistle went, so we went into the break, level at 1-1. Our early impetus had disappeared, and with Hull set to defend for their lives for the whole of the second half, we had to ensure that the game didn’t end as a draw.

We started the half in an alright manner, although the memorable thing that happened in the first few minutes was a Sol Campbell challenge on Zayatte, a few yards outside the box. It was a strong challenge, but a perfectly legal one, although Zayatte couldn’t continue the game as he picked up an injury in the process and was replaced by a young defender, Cooper, who actually had a decent game, as one thought he would be the weak link.

Anyways, Hull defended really well and limited us to only a handful of chances. We were sort of camped in their half the whole time and they barely troubled Almunia, although Jimmy Bullard did have a shot from long-range, but it was always rising.

Wenger’s first substitution was made 25minutes from time, with Theo coming on for Eboue. And he made an immediate impact which should have led to a goal. He got past the defender on the right, pulling the ball back for Nasri who toe-poked it into Arshavin’s path, but his shot was a wayward one which went miles off-target. We continued to press, looking for the winner, but it was tough going. Hull kept making timely blocks to frustrate us. Bendtner did have a chance, but his acrobatic effort went over the bar. The only other substitution Arsene made was to bring Eduardo on for Nasri.

It was beginning to look like one of those days, but just like we did at Stoke, we found a way to get the winner. And who best to get it but Nicklas Bendtner?! The assist (if it can be called one!) came from the unlikeliest of sources, though. Denilson hadn’t had the best game in all honesty, but he decided to take a pot-shot from long-range (which he does ever so often). It was on target, and really, the goalie ought to have done a better job of saving it, but he inexplicably parried it back into the danger area and Nikky B made no mistake and buried it! He might have missed all those chances against Burnley, but it seems he has the habit of scoring important goals for us, and this was definitely one of them! We also have the habit of scoring late goals as a team and even though that’s not good for most of our hearts, it definitely is a good sign as it shows the lads don’t give up until the final whistle goes, which is the way it’s meant to be, if we want to win trophies.

Nasri had a quiet game but it was understandable, as he’s only played a couple of games in the Cesc-role and you wouldn’t expect him to be on it all the time. He defended quite well, but he couldn’t really get into the game.

Here’s Arsene’s view on the win:

“It was a very big win. When you play a difficult game at midweek there is a lot of mental tension. And we came here and won today, so of course a big three points. We know what is at stake every time you go away like that. We needed the three points and we got it after 90 minutes, exactly like at Stoke. It tells you that it was a difficult game, but as well that we have desire and mental strength and we never give up. And for such a young team that is great.”

I’m tempted to say the result was unfair on Hull, but I wouldn’t. And in my opinion anyways, we definitely deserved all 3 points as we were the only team that looked like scoring. It wasn’t a stellar performance ofcourse, but at the moment, I’m sure we’ll all take results over performance, especially if it means we edge that bit closer to the title!

And oh, to make the win even sweeter, it turns out to be Phil Brown’s last game in charge of Hull, as he’s been sacked as of Monday morning! Totally awesome!

  • AmriGooner

    That was a great result in a very tough game considering all circumstances of that game. This result and that late goal by B52 will prove its worth by the end of the season because whoever going to win the title, it is going to be very narrow. I hope it’s ARSENAL.

  • Kodjo

    Thanx for the post Debs and a great one to.

    Ref Mariner was poor right from minute 1 with all those bizzare decisions. He failed to award arsenal 2 clear cut penalties (1st one against B52 and Boateng’s tangling with Clichy)…much clearer than the mess which he called a penalty against arsenal.

    I personally fear that refeering decisons and percieved teams that roll over fo Man Utd, but kick us of the park could cost us the title…as usual with arsenal it has to be a clean-clean goal..anything with controversy will not be awarded in our favour.

  • Sam

    It’s a few down, 8 to go! 3 points at a time.

    ManCity played was really poor Sunderland, so I think we can collect 3 points from them too.

    L’pool showed some signs of recovery against Pompey, I hope they continue their good performance against ManU at the weekend.

  • dada

    Cascarino says it, do the opposite?

    Two weeks ago Tony Cascarino was one of the first pundits to weigh in on Ryan Shawcross’ leg-breaking tackle on Aaron Ramsey calling it “mistimed” and not even a red card:

    There’s a difference between an awful injury and an awful challenge. Ryan Shawcross’s tackle on Aaron Ramsey was mistimed but not malicious — the same as Martin Taylor’s on Eduardo da Silva two years ago. Let’s not hang the Stoke City defender out to dry because poor Ramsey was simply unlucky. I don’t even think the tackle deserved a red.

    Today, he called the same tackle “horrendous” while going on to say that the Boateng tackle deserved a straight red. I don’t want to jump the gun here, but it’s almost as if he’s saying something, well, in line with Arsenal.

    I’m confused, I always say and do the opposite of Cascarino and I thought that the Boateng tackle was a straight red. So, maybe the Boateng tackle wasn’t even a yellow card?

    2. Stan Collymore adds to the confusion

    Now this is really weird… Stan Collymore has long been a fan of Nicklas Bendtner, dating back to last year he said that Bendy would come good and be a star — if only we’d stop booing him. And then again in today’s column he’s once again come to the defense of Bendtner saying that he told us NB would be a great player and that the hat trick against Porto proves it. If you only read those two lines you might think Collymore is a huge Arsenal supporter, after all, I’ve been saying the same thing for a year now. But don’t let his love for Bendtner distract you, in those same two articles he also says the following:

    With their crowd’s help, the Gunners may just be able to pip Aston Villa to fourth in the Premier League. (2009)

    and…

    Bendtner’s heroics go to show that, of the 60,000 fans at the Emirates, only the 30,000 or so who would have got into Highbury appear to know anything about football. (2010)

    You’ll remember how Arsenal “pipped” Aston Villa to fourth place by ten points and two places (they finished below Everton) last year and as for the second quote, I was AT the game where he claims that 30,000 fans booed Bendtner off the pitch (or that the applause was ironic) and I didn’t see it that way. There were a few folks who were frustrated with NB’s misses against Burnley but as the second half wore on the fans were behind him and oohing and ahhing at his work rate and rightly applauded him leaving as he left the pitch. Listening to a certain podcast (and the guy behind me who rode him the whole game) there were certainly some angry jeers and ironic applause but hardly the 30,000 Collymore claims.

    The point for me is crystal clear, we need to ignore folks like Collymore irregardless of whether he makes a positive or a negative statement and just simply get behind the team. All footballers occasionally have poor games and we can reasonably expect is that they put in a full shift. After Saturday’s last gasp goal against Hull, does anyone question Nicklas Bendtner’s commitment?

    Good, then let’s move on and flush the Collymore’s down the bog where they and their click-whoring web site belong.

    3. Graham Poll’s 50-50 challenge

    Meanwhile, Graham Three Yellow Cards Poll has weighed in on the Hull game on the weekend and gets it 50% right, which isn’t bad for him. He explains (to Mr. Orange) why Sol didn’t see a red for the challenge which earned a penalty — basically Mr. Long Name lost control of the ball. Unfortunately he then insinuates that Sol’s challenge on Zyatte was a foul and thus deserving of a yellow (which it wasn’t) and that Arsene would have been angry had the same tackle been put in on Arsenal.

    Funny thing there, Graham, Arsenal did suffer several x-rated challenges in that game and I don’t remember Wenger going on about it, so I guess you’re wrong about that.

    The good news is that Poll is calling for more protection ahead of the World Cup and wonders what would happen if Rooney were to get injured — of course.

    4. Happy Birthday Theo!

    Theo Walcott celebrated his 21st birthday in some style this weekend. I think I know what’s wrong with Eduardo’s form lately, he’s suffering from OD, Over Denim. Also, what’s up with inviting Gareth Bale to the party? Maybe Theo was trying to poison him ahead of the North London derby?

  • devday

    Excellent post Debs… really detailed, great stuff!!!

    I kind of feel sorry for Phil Brown. Simply because he has done very well for Hull and obviously the club have no loyalty – if it weren’t for him they wouldn’t be in the premiership!!

    But at the same time, I think he deserved it as he was way too big for his boots, and it’s karma…

  • Richard Buxcey

    I remember not so long ago all the Spuds fans bleating about how mercenary Sol was for “kicking Portsmouth when they were down”…if they owe him money contractually then they owe him money. You would not expect any reasonable person to leave a job (whatever the circumstances) and not fight for a payout to the tune of £1.7M. But what’s this?? Sol has deferred payment until Pompey have a new buyer…can’t believe he is so ruthless!!!!

    On another point Liverpool absolutely hate losing to Manure. Fact. Also, the way they played last night is the minimum level they need to play at if they are going to finish 4th. I can see them getting something from the Manure game. The most worrying factor is that they could play United off the park, Torres could get a hatrick and they could still get beat single handedly by Rooney alone. That boy is on fire. ust been looking at the Chelsea run in. Man that is tough. In their last six games they have to play, Villa, Spuds, and ‘Pool. Tough games as they all battle for 4th. Other games are scrappy affairs against the likes of Blackburn, Bolton, and Stoke. This could end up a battle between Arse and ManU.

  • devday

    @Richard Buxcey

    I do agree with the over-reaction from Sp*rs, but they do have a small point – there is a question mark over Sol’s payment. His “debt” contributed to the overall debt of the club pushing them into administration. However, Sol knows that if he doesn’t defer it, he will have to agree to X in the pound return from the administrator. Thus, Sol’s “kind offer” is actually a selfish act to ensure he gets all the money – with the risk of losing it all if Pompey go out of existence (very unlikely)…

    Re: Liverpool, I think you’re right, they can get something from United, and Chelsea do have the hardest run in… all we have to do though is keep on winning our games though!

  • Sam

    @ davday – Sol worked for that money & he is entitled to every cent. He can claim it as he sees fit, and ensure to protect the fruits of his labour.

  • yemi

    @debs: i totally disagree with you on the penalty. long name pulled a fast one by jumping in front of sol. sol did not make any challenge albeit a clumsy a one. he was trying to clear the ball when long name jumped into his path. please watch the replay again. as for the offside, it happens. basically i think the lines men and ref at that game made a lot of wrong calls in the game. it was poor officiating the b52 and clichy calls for penalties were clearer calls but even those would have been harsh calls. (if it had been rooney or ronaldo, the ref would have pointed to the spot without any hesitation)

  • kodjo

    @Yemi

    i agree with you…serial diver rooney would have got a penalty on the Clichy and Bendtner incidents. Yes the brit media choose not to pick up on it…we’ll let that be for now.

    Right now, we just need to win our games and need L’pool to do us a big favour as i expect ManU and Chelsea to cancel each other out when they meet.

    Also, we’ll see whether other teams roll over for ManU

  • http://arsenalandtherandomthoughtsofmylife.blogspot.com/ Debs

    Thanks, Dev!

    Well Yemi, the referee gave a penalty, and if I had the same view as the ref, I probably would have given the same. I have watched the penalty incident again, and it’s only after looking at various angles of the challenge that you could argue that maybe it wasn’t a penalty, but there’s no way one can say the referee got it wrong in that instant. Hesselink definitely played for it, but minus it being offside, you can’t begrudge the referee for giving it. Sol did knee him in the back/side. It might have been a soft penalty, but from the way I see it, definitely one…

  • kodjo

    @ Debs

    Yes it was a soft penalty in comparison to the incidents involving Clichy and B52. Looking at that game critically, you’d think the that there was something fishy with ref Marinner decisions ala the disgraceful incidents in the italian league a few years ago…or maybe he was down right incompetent!

  • http://arsenalandtherandomthoughtsofmylife.blogspot.com/ Debs

    Haha! I don’t know much about the goings-on in the Italian league you just mentioned, though…

  • Jeffo

    Whereas i’m really happy about the win lets not forget when bashing Van helsing of vinegar about being offside, so was a certain little russian for a header which led directly to an arsenal goal in the very near past.

    Apart from that how funny old Browny getting the heavo.

  • Sam

    I’d like to be the first to say that Drogba is a cheat, a bad loser, a drama queen and deserves to win nothing along with his jerk team mates.

    Inter kicked them out of CL, here’s hoping we can do the damage in EPL.

  • Jeffo

    Nice to see Terry has lost none of his charm afetr recent events, barracking fourth officials as he leaves the pitch, they were beaten fair and square tonight and they still have to throw a big girly strop. Tw@ts.

  • Kodjo

    i didnt quite see the drogba incident….i thought it was a case of handbags…but maybe the ref thought drogba kicked motta

    but chelsea should have had 2 penalties as saw it players bundled to the ground on 2 occassions???? maybe drogba’s reputation for theatrics went against him….

  • Nick

    LOL… Chelsea is out, Sevilla is out.

    Great news is Cesc returned to full training and will be in the squad for the West Ham match!