Five things we learned from Arsenal’s win at Hull City
Joel Durston takes a look at five things we learned from Arsenal's 3-0 win at Hull City
Punching holes in the Hull
This was exactly the type of game Arsene Wenger would have wanted after a very difficult spell for Arsenal – a comfortable win with no red cards or injuries, and one which will not have stretched his players too much in light of a tense battle for fourth with Everton. It will also please him to see Mesut Ozil get through a satisfactory hour and Aaron Ramsey, who got on the scoresheet and assisted the other two, return to his superb early-season form. For their part, Hull were by no means awful, especially in the first half where they battled hard; just undone by three moves of real quality from Arsenal.
A nice problem to have…
The display leaves Wenger with some real selection dilemmas after a season blighted by injuries. Lukas Podolski was impressive and clinical, and now has ten league goals despite being a bit-part player. As mentioned, Ramsey was brilliant; Ozil was mediocre but always offers the promise of at least one moment of genius; Santi Cazorla, while not at his best, was busy and dynamic; and, as Ian Holloway would say, Mikel Arteta was the bloke who carried the piano up the stairs which allowed all the masters to tinkle the ivories. All this meant that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was a real attacking threat when he came on, started on the bench, along with Mathieu Flamini, who is proving a clever signing (or re-signing). And there is also the small matter of a certain Mr Wilshere’s return, expected for around the FA Cup final.
Hull hard done by?
Steve Bruce, never one to mince his words about officials, may well have some grievances about Arsenal’s second goal – not in the scoring of the goal itself, which was just vintage Arsenal football, but in the incident which led up to it. Nikita Jelavic had got the wrong side of Arteta in Arsenal’s half, and went down expecting a free kick. But replays showed that referee Jonathan Moss got the decision right, as Jelavic seemed to go to ground more in anticipation of contact rather than any actual contact. Anyway, even Bruce could not complain about the eventual result.
Ramsey’s return to Premier League football, after a long spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury, will be a major source of relief to Wenger after a difficult couple of months. In some games of these months his team have appeared a little flat in midfield and lacking cutting edge, which is precisely what the Welshman gave Arsenal here today. He started the move for the first goal and finished it with a fine finish after his late run into the box. Another run into the box saw him chest the ball down, presumably intended for himself, but Podolski anticipated a loose ball brilliantly and smashed the volley into the bottom corner. Ramsey again found space on the edge of the box, from Cazorla’s cutback, to bring a save from Steve Harper, which led to Arsenal’s third.
Not a great advert for Hull
For a club that has, to great consternation among fans and the football community, rebranded the club as ‘Hull City Tigers’, and which plans to change to just ‘Hull Tigers’, for marketing purposes, they can’t have been too happy about the image of a good half dozen advertising hoardings blowing out on to the pitch, as happened early on in the game. (Thankfully no footballers were harmed, and they even helped put the hoardings back.) It gets breezy up by the North Sea, but still..