By Walter Broeckx
The starting line up had a few changes compared to the West Ham United match. Vermaelen had to be withdrawn as he got a hamstring injury shortly before the match. Monreal came in at left back. And as he has been criticized a lot lately I just want to say he had a very decent match. A new face was to be seen as Özil also started his first match after his injury and would last 60 minutes and then was taken off. I hope he was OK.
And also Ramsey started this match after having been on the bench last Tuesday against West Ham.
If you would have asked me how this match would end after 20 minutes I would have taken a 0-1 win for the Arsenal. I must admit that the way Hull came at us in the opening half hour was both impressive and fearsome. Fearsome for one of our players being kicked to pieces.
Ok the ref did blow for the studs up kick to the head of Arteta but where was the card for this? This was utterly reckless and dangerous and could have resulted in a nasty head wound. And those are the criteria to determine a red or a yellow. A red for me. He was in front of Arteta so he knew where his head was but still decided to go studs up to the face of Arteta.
The match then suddenly was interrupted as half of the advertising boards decided to make a walk on the field. The wind just blew them on the field and almost took the linesman with them. Did anyone over there ever think about securing those boards with some hooks? Seriously this could have been dangerous and could have caused injuries. Red card for the Hull people responsible for this mess.
On the football side of things Hull tried to press us all over the field. And as a result we didn’t get our passing game together in the opening stages of the game. Our defence was under pressure and Szczesny surely was earning his money in this match with a few much needed interventions.
Back to the football. Hull pressed high, Arsenal struggled. But the ref then missed a penalty on Özil. He was taken down from behind but the ref let it go. I bet the media will make a real fuss about it. Yeah, sure they will.
But the longer the match went on I felt that Hull wouldn’t be able to keep up the high pressing game. It can be very effective but all players have to fully commit themselves and this is something that is difficult to maintain for a whole match let alone half.
Gradually Arsenal players got a little bit more room to manoeuvre and Ramsey got the ball in midfield, played it to Özil on the right flank who turned inside and gave the ball to Cazorla. Santi controlled saw the onrushing Ramsey and played it nicely in his path. And Aaron did what he did at the start of the season: just pass it in the far corner. 0-1 to the Arsenal.
Hull didn’t give up and we were lucky when a shot from Livermore ended up against the post. A lucky escape but as I wrote a few weeks ago in an article: you need some luck.
But after that you could feel that Hull was giving more room. When Jelavic went down in a challenge with Arteta the ref let the match continue. Arsenal attacked and Giroud came in from the right hand side, played a ball to Ramsey who controlled it with his chest and the on storming Podolski showed his goal scoring ability once again. Before the Hull keeper realised what happened the ball was in the net. 0-2 just before half time. The combination Giroud-Ramsey-Podolski was also the combination for the 3rd goal against West Ham.
After the interval Hull at first tried to give the impression that they would carry on pressing us. But they ran out of steam. A nice Spanish combination on the left between Monreal and Cazorla ended with a low cross to Ramsey who tried to score his second goal. The keeper could stop the effort but the ball fell to Podolski who finished it off in his own cool style. 0-3 and match over.
Hull were demoralised after that and tried to kick a few of our players off the field with the FA cup final on their mind I think. Giroud was unlucky when he pressed the goal keeper, won the ball but the bouncing ball and the difficult angle and the cross bar prevented him from scoring a 4th goal for Arsenal.
Arsenal dictated the proceedings on the field and Hull ran after a ball they could hardly touch. Oxlade–Chamberlain came on, Flamini came on, Sanogo came on. Özil, Giroud and Podolski went off. And we just played the ball around and around and around. I think if we would have released the handbrake completely we could have trashed them but I am happy we didn’t. A hurt team can try to revenge themselves in the cup final. Now it is just a ‘casual’ loss. No need to get worked up about.
So a nice win after 90 minutes. With Ramsey back we have found the ability to absorb pressure and then suddenly go forward and speed things up and score. Something we have been missing for such a long period. Just try to imagine to add Theo to this….
Oh well, a good win. A determined performance. Poldi using his experience and his goal scoring instinct. By the way do you know we missed Poldi for almost the whole first half of the season also. He came back to form in the last weeks. Just in time for the run in.
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