Hull City v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: April 20, 2014 2.05 PM BST
An emphatic 3-0 win against our FA Cup rivals, thanks to an Aaron Ramsey opener and Podolski’s second consecutive brace. It was another slow start from the Gunners, but after weathering some early Hull City pressure we upped the tempo and turned the screw.
The home side started brightly, but the game was kept level in the early goings thanks in large part to Wojiech Szczesny. He was confident and dominant in the air, and played his sweeper keeper role excellently to prevent the dangerous looking Shane Long getting between him and his defenders.
Mesut Özil should have been award a penalty for Arsenal, on one of their rare early breaks forward. He danced past Elmohamady, who clipped the German’s heels sending him to ground. The referee ignored his pleas however, waving play on.
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Podolski saw a right footed shot well saved by Steve Harper, while Szczesny pushed a Jelavic shot round the post after a quickly taken free kick from the home side. But overall chances were few and far between in the opening 30 minutes.
Arsenal suddenly seemed to switch on at that point however, a slick passing move culminating in an Aaron Ramsey goal. Özil held the ball up well on the right, before turning inside and picking out Santi Cazorla. Ramsey made a great run beyond the Spaniard, who played him through with a well weighted pass. The Welshman’s first touch was perfect, and with his second he lashed it across Harper and into the far corner. 1-0 Arsenal.
Hull threatened to equalise before half time, Livermore striking the post from distance and Shane Long failing to connect properly with a great cross into the box. But it was Arsenal that struck again, another fluid move, the Gunners going from back to front with real pace. Özil pushed Giroud out wide, the Frenchman picking out Ramsey with a superb lofted ball infield. Ramsey chested the ball down to Podolski as he arrived in the box, the German rifling a volley into the bottom corner. 2-0 Arsenal, looking comfortable heading into the second half. Hull felt aggrieved that they hadn’t been awarded a free kick in the build up to the goal, Jelavic going down under an Arteta challenge. It would have been soft though, the Croation clearly looking for the contact.
Arsenal started the second half off the same way they had finished the first, with a Lukas Podolski goal. Less than 10 minutes in Monreal played Cazorla in behind. He cut back for Aaron Ramsey whose shot was parried by Steve Harper. It only fell as far as Lukas Podolski though, who steadied himself before calmly slotting past the Hull keeper. 3-0 Arsenal, the game surely over.
Giroud almost got himself on the score sheet, capitalizing on a moment of indecision by Harper. The Arsenal man slid in knocking the ball goalwards, but looked to the heavens as the ball ricocheted onto the cross bar and back into play.
Mertesacker headed just over the bar from a Cazorla free kick, and Szczesny produced a fantastic save to keep out a Huddlestone swerving shot; preserving the team’s clean sheet. Other than that it was a fairly quiet end to the match, only late substitute Alex Oxlade Chamberlain injecting any pace into the game.
With Hull almost certainly safe this season, this loss is not likely to mean much to them in terms of the Premier League. It could however dent their confidence ahead of the rematch at Wembley. For Arsenal this was a vital win, keeping the pressure up for top 4 heading into the final few games of the season.
on the win…
It was a big win. I think the first half was very physical and played at a very high pace where our defenders needed to be very strong in the air on crosses. I believe as well that we looked dangerous when we went into their half and took advantage of that. In the second half when we scored the third goal it looked like we completely controlled the game. Overall it was a positive performance because I think if you look at our individual performances all over the pitch they were good.
on Ramsey’s impact…
He’s a threat. We looked like we had problems to score goals away from home recently. Him and Ozil give us a cutting edge in the final third that makes us look more dangerous to score.
on rebalancing if Ozil and Ramsey are out again…
You know as well as I do that football is down to quality of the players and we all know that. You could see that today.
on Ozil being the difference…
Yes, he always has the timing of his pass, the incisiveness of passing makes you always turn quickly from defence to offence. That is of course very important.
on Arteta’s tooth…
No, today we lost one tooth and he hasn’t found it back.
on how much difference a fit Ramsey and Ozil would have made on the season…
The table is very close. Liverpool played very well in the second part of the season and you wouldn’t like to take anything away from them. But they could focus completely on the Premier League. If you look at the injuries, plus the players that we missed plus the schedule we had, of course it was much more heavier than Liverpool.
on the race for the top four…
We knew we had to win today and we had that kind of pressure. But I think you could already see that against West Ham there is something better in our game and today there was much more oil in the engine again.
on taking encouragement for the cup final…
I think what is important is we finish as strong as we can in the Premier League and after the cup final will be completely different.
Here are some of the top tweets from today’s game:
“Poldi shoots and doesn’t scre. Madness.”
“Podolski doesn’t miss from anywhere, apparently.”
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