Hull Spitty v Arsenal: predictions, prognosis, possibilities

By Phil Gregory

After an awe-inspiring win against Porto, Hull away is next up on the agenda and with it the end of our recent week-long rest periods.

I can empathise with the players, I really can: fixture congestion is a blight on the game extending as far down the footballing pyramid as Intramural League Two for my Saturday morning league, where we are expected to play on consecutive days. Spare a thought for me, Untold, as we’ll probably lose both, too!

But anyway, Hull. The barnstorming Arsenal up against the permatanned Phil Brown. With Cesc likely to be out, I’m hoping he’s the sense to pack his bomber jacket and stroll onto the pitch at full-time.

I jest, but it is a huge game, and not just for the seemingly classless outfit that is Hull City. I feel every game from here on in is a cup game (no Arsène, not Carling Cup! Though our kids could beat this Hull side). We have a fantastic fixture list full of games where we shouldn’t drop points so lets hope the lads do their part and keep picking up the three points.


Eboue Vermaelen Silvestre Clichy


Nasri Diaby

Walcott Bendtner Arshavin

Almunia keeps his spot in goal, while the back four sees Sagna drop out for Eboue given injury concerns and Silvestre filling in for soon to be England (I’ve been singing his praises to anyone who will listen since Stoke away) centreback Campbell.

Denilson plays the holding role in Song’s absence, while the second coming of Zidane (even my girlfriend, when forced to watch the goal against Porto on youtube remarked “how does he score from there?!”) will deputise for Fabregas. Diaby will continue his development into a top class central midfielder, capable of both putting himself about as well as moments of genuine class too.

With Rosicky taking a knock I’d expect Theo get a start, with Bendtner and Arshavin continuing their promising partnership.

A lot of Gooners seem to be worrying about Hull cos they’re at home. Well, the home league table tells me their form at the KC is nothing to much to be concerning ourselves with, they’re eminently beatable by sides weaker than ourselves. That said, they have had some respectable recent results here, including a draw against Chelsea.

It’ll be a hostile game: the leg at the Emirates proved as much. Not that that worries me, present as I was to witness the mighty Arsenal shrug off a hostile (but vastly overrated) Britannia atmosphere and win away. Best away record in the league? Thank you very much! 1-3 to the Arsenal

Half-time musing:

Seems Sepp Blatter has blocked the idea of technological aid to referees, which is a shame (see Walter’s article on the subject in the new Untold index). He did, however, raise a valid reason why he did so: equality throughout all federations. Naturally, all FIFA confederations have to be playing from the same rulebook and while the costs of even the most basic goal-line technology is well within the reach of the richest leagues, it’s not an option for the poorer federations.

Naturally, this poses questions that need answering in regards to leagues. If we must have equality, could we not have technology for our domestic league, with each individual league deciding whether to use it or not? This would mean that the richest leagues surely decided to use it, and if the lower echelons on the football pyramid decided against it, they wouldn’t be disadvantaged. All the teams in the same league have the same technology, therefore we have our equality, no?

The issue, naturally, is the cups.  Nowhere near every team in the FA Cup will have the technology, so it would have to be dispensed with, even if Liverpool host Havant and Waterlooville at Anfield, in the name of equality. The same issue would affect European competition: no doubt the top tier in most European leagues would use technology, but most likely the minnow leagues wouldn’t be able to afford it. So unfortunately, in the name of equality, every team would have to forgo the use of technology in European competition. To me, this seems the only way of getting around the rules and regulations Blatter cited. Some technology, at least, is better than none at all, surely?

How can we improve the human factor in football? People cite improved testing and the like, and I agree. However by far the most effective way of improving refereeing standards is so blindingly obvious it beggars belief only Oliver Kay in the Times thought to broach the subject. What nationality is every referee in the Premier League? English. What about Ligue 1 in France?: French. And the Macedonian league? You guessed it, Macedonian.

Considering the multicultural meritocracy that is the Premier League (and indeed, all top level football) why the bloody hell do we have regulations saying that referees have to be a domestic national? We could have the best referee in the world stuck in a European backwater earning a wage far, far below what his skills deserve because of where he is born.

Absolute madness. It’s the refereeing equivalent of telling Didier Drogba “sorry son, you can only play football in the Ivory Coast”. The best referees should referee the best leagues, improving the quality of game on display, as well as being fair : they deserve to test themselves at the top level and be paid according to their ability). Greater competition (as can be seen in any industry) will improve the quality of domestic referees too, which can only be a good thing.


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22 Replies to “Hull Spitty v Arsenal: predictions, prognosis, possibilities”

  1. I hate doing this Phil but I just heard a wonderful story about Liverpool fans. So very off topic but I hope you forgive me after reading. It was in our newspapers today.

    Yesterday Liverpool played against Lille. As most of you will know Lille is a town in the north of France. But, there is another Lille and believe it or not but it is just some 10 km away from where I live in Flanders, Belgium. Lille in Belgium is a very small town in the country and yesterday 4 Liverpool fans were walking in that little town. Asking to have their picture taken with them next to the crest of the village.

    So they didn’t realise at first that they were some 200 km away from where Liverpool actyually was going to play. The fact that they were in the wrong place was told to them when they wanted to have the picture taken. It is not known if they got to the match in time.

    So we had a good laugh I can tell you

  2. On topic: I like your team Phil. We must be sure not to risk any injured player if it not completely necessary. The players on the pitch need to 100% fit and ready to go.

  3. haha! Typical scousers, and I can bet they don’t have much french either!

    That team should be enough to get the win, I’d love a three goal margin to keep building up the goal difference (just in case!) but the most important thing has to be the three points.

  4. lol..My Girlfriend likes playing FIFA 2010 with chelsea but i made her watch Nasri’s goal and she couldnt believe either he managed to score from that angle after dribbling past 3 defenders..
    Now she wants to play with Arsenal but i dont let her pick Arsenal..

  5. The first thing that comes to mind when playing teams stuggling to stay in the league at this time of year is, how desperate are they for a win and what the cost will be to us. So, I`m not after a superscore line, just a win and no injuries.

  6. The first thing that comes to mind when playing teams stuggling to stay in the league at this time of year is, how desperate are they for a win and what the cost will be to us. So, I`m not after a super score line, just a win and no injuries.

  7. Aussie Jack: it work both ways too, Hull seemed to give up once they went a couple down versus Everton. Were they conserving their legs for the next game? Perhaps

  8. What is it about Hull CIty and the Humber Bridge
    first we had that bit about the mystery woman ‘jumper’ and Phil Brown and now we have a bust up between Nick Barmby and Jimmy Bullard in front of …50 women institute members holding a rally on….The Humber Bridge???
    Can’t wait for the movie to come out.
    Phil (The Orange ) Brown
    Nick ( Midget Man) Barmby
    Jimmy (Elephant Man) Bullard
    supporting cast includes the Hull players and staff dressed in drag.

    I’m sure the first incident took place before a game against us as well. just goes to prove Brown is slowly losing the plot when it comes to Arsenal. Can’t wait for next season’s installment.

    0-3 to Arsenal today

    Come on you Gooooners!!

  9. For some reason i just fear for the injuries we pick up every game, each time we have 2 or 3 without fail, minor or long term. Its really frustrating as we have one of the best disciplinary records over the last year, itd be interesting to see where we stand in the fair play table. I also beleive that if an intentional tackle is over the top, the FA should look at it and the player should be punished with a ban for as long as he puts the other player out (in serious incidents)

    Feeling tense about tonight, need to score early and shut their fans up, anyone else notice how when we played Stoke and Porto, the home fans just booed for the majority of the time we had the ball, i know its about creating an atmosphere and drowning out the away fans, its just bloody annoying watching great football accompanied by booing! Cmon The Arsenal, 1-3 has been common result this year, lets do it again!

  10. @walter
    good point their about refs, but how will u feel if a foreigner takes ur job?? unfortunately it’s english premier league not international premier league 🙁

  11. Critic: We can’t moan about the quality of reffing and then deny the best people the job based on where they are born, surely?

  12. Yeeeeeerk

    That is about the best word I can find. In Wales this weekend, and went to find a pub to watch the match – and would you believe it even with 15 screens available the landlord was unable to turn on 9 inch by 3 inch screen over to the football.

    That is the third time it has happened to me this season, so I had to run back to my partners house and catch it on five live (BBC station).

    The only bit of fun among all the nervy bits was the fact that at half time I put the computer over to the Guardian where they do a running commentary, and suggested that Hull would now do the rotational fouling bit, and Wenger would bring on Theo and take off Eboue.

    The old codger running the web site ran the comment in full, thus proving to the entire universe my utter brilliance in predicting our Lord’s next move.

    On the other hand my colleague who is controlling the universal upgrade of this and 100 other sites the company owns, from 2 stroke to 4 stroke, phoned me about midday full of concern about the way the upgrade was going. It seems problems may still arise.

    Certainly as things stand the site is not recognising me and I had to fill in the full “leave a reply” form, and I’m the bloody moderator.

    Anyway I hope bleedin Wales lost and all those fat louts in the pub get their come uppance for not letting me have a little view of a single screen.

    So, off to the Indian, and then back to Match of the Day where they will undoubtedly say that Hull were unlucky.

  13. Tony,

    You didn’t miss much…. We dominated 2/3 of the match.. the other third was a time waster! Then we finally plowed in the game winner which was a sigh of relief…. Nervy end but if I were a Hull fan I would have Phil Brown’s head.. He is utterly awful and arrogant beside. There was a moment where the camera’s zoned in on him and he pulled up his assistant… I thought he said” Look at FN Wenger! I am the most brilliant coach in the world…. Ten men and we are holding Arsenal to a draw… I am utterrlly brilliant!”

  14. I saw it also Hartwick and this was in the final minute of the game and no subs left for Hull and he called his assistant for what ??? Only he will know….

  15. Anybody else think Jon Champion wants players to get hurt? I can just see him rubbing his hands, hoping for any chance to stir some controversy. I really dislike that geezer.

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