By Walter Broeckx
No changes in the team that started the match against Hull.
According to Arsenal.com Koscielny made his 200th appearance so lets hope he can celebrate a good win at the end of the match.
On the bench we had a few changes. Gabriel and Rosicky have a place on the bench in the place of Debuchy and Welbeck. Apparantely both are injured.
The team that started: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. On the bench we had: Szczesny, Gibbs, GabrielGabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott.
Arsenal having lots of possession in the opening minutes but Hull defending with all their players and not much openings in the opening minutes. Coquelin getting his usual wack in the face when he is sandwiched between a few Hull players and Ospina. Huddleston with a hack ball towards his own keeper after a Bellerin cross was the first time Harper had to stop a ball for Hull. Alexis with a good low shot but Harper beating it away. Other than that not much excitement in the first 15 minutes.
Mason judging every touch from an Arsenal player as a foul by now. Hull then slowly getting a bit more forward and Aluko completely missing his header. Livermore gets booked when he stops Alexis who tried to start a counter. Huddlestone then planting his studs on the leg of Ramsey. As expected ref Mason didn’t see it. Replay showing the impact and that should have been card. Our referee predictions already very much fulfilled. Ramey hobbles off and then comes on but looks very uncomfortable. Livermore again hacks Alexis down but this time the ref gives a foul just outside the penalty area. Alexis behind the ball and a slight deflection the wall and the ball ends up in the net. 0-1 to The Arsenal after 28 minutes.
N’Doye gets booked for tripping Monreal. Cazorla then with an amazing left foot long ball to Ramsey. Ramsey turns around his man and defender Brady tries to block the shot with a studs showing tackle but the ball bounces in the net and 0-2 to the Arsenal after 33 minutes. Arsenal now complete in control for a few minutes. After 40 minutes Coquelin and Koscielny to eager to win the ball and Hull can break but Mertesacker is there to clear the danger.
I kid you not but the match reporter in Belgium quotes the numbers from Untold about having more points since the 2009-2010 season!!! A great attack over a few players Giroud-Özil-Alexis and back to Özil but his shot is saved by the keeper. Seconds later Aelxis is put through by Cazorla but the keeper again saves. And in the extra time of the first half another great move from Arsenal. This time Ramsey puts Alexis again one on one with the keeper. Alexis rounds the keeper this time and puts the ball in the empty net. 0-3 after 46 minutes and Arsenal go in the dressing room with a good lead.
The opening minutes lots of little fouls and not much football to be seen.
Then Arsenal trying to keep the ball in the feet to slow things down a bit. Alexis trying to feed it to Giroud but the ball is too hard and Harper can collect it. It looked as if Arsenal was thinking of not over committing themselves to avoid injuries as much as possible and monopolising the ball.
Ramsey with a low shot bringing memories of the winning goal in the cup final but it went wide this time.
Then a Mson moment. Meyler going in dangerous on Koscielny with an outstretched leg studs showing but Mason allows the match to continue and Hull can score from the resulting movement. 1-3 after 57 minutes. When Coquelin goes in a duel of course Mason is there to give the foul.
Arsenal players clearly very aware of the danger of being kicked in hospital and being very careful. Özil with a great flick to Alexis but the keeper can stop the cross from Alexis. Again some great play between Giroud and Ramsey but the shot from the Welshman goes wide. Özil showing great skill all over the pitch.
After 67 minutes Ramsey goes off and Jack Wilshere comes on. His first real first team action after being kicked to pieces against Manchester United in November. Wilshere with a first run and being hacked down just outside the penalty area. Hull didn’t like the ref not stopping the match after a clash of heads between Koscielny and Meyler on the other side of the field. How on earth the card didn’t came out for that foul is beyond me.
Wilshere being in the middle of the action right away winning a corner after the free kick is blocked by the wall. Arsenal again in control but the finishing touch from Cazorla is too soft and Harper can stop his effort. Cazorla with a low shot but Harper can block it with his leg.
Walcott came on for Giroud with some 10 minutes to go. A great attack on the right a great shot from Bellerin a save from Harper, Wilshere with the rebound that was going in but a defender stops the effort with his arm but Mason has his hair in front of his eyes and missed. Alexis then missing the rebound. But that should have been a penalty for Arsenal. Mason living up to our preview completely.
Wilshere being pushed and again the ref sees nothing. My match reporter beginning to make fun of the ref now. But every little foul from Arsenal is seen by the ref. Just combed his hair out of his eyes I think….
4 minutes of extra time is being added by the ref. Bellerin tries to set up Walcott but his shot goes wide. Walcott and Alexis break but the Alexis tries the shot himself but drags it wide. If it wouldn’t have been for Mason we would have won with a clean sheet and with at least one more goal from the penalty. But in the end a comfortable win.
AND A HAPPY ST. TOTTERINGHAMSDAY!!!!