By Walter Broeckx
For the replay of the FA cup final of 2014 we saw the next team from Arsenal at the start Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott, Campbell, Alexis. As substitutes we had Martinez, Debuchy, Koscielny, Zelalem, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Maitland-Niles, Akpom.
So a lot of changes compared to the Southampton match. Chambers to come in at centre back and Monreal replacing Gibbs at left back. Bellerin replaces Debuchy on the right back position. Koscielny, and Debuchy sitting on the bench.
Up front we see the first start for Walcott in just one year and Campbell comes on for Oxlade-Chamberlain who sits on the bench.
The first big chance was for Arsenal. Campbell coming in from the left a one-two with Alexis which put him through on goal but his shot was saved by Harper the Hull keeper. That would have been the ideal start but alas. Coquelin then with a bad tackle on Quinn. Ref not giving a card was unbelievable.
The next goal chance was when Walcott gave the ball to Alexis whose shot was firstly blocked and then he lobbed the rebound over. After a good action on the right flank from Bellerin had to concede a corner from his sharp cross. Alexis to take it and Per Mertesacker headed the ball in the net from within 5 meters. Who said we can’t score from a corner? 1-0 to the Arsenal after 20 minutes.
Rosicky then with a great run releasing Alexis who went past the keeper but his shot was saved on the line. And from the from the resulting corner Arsenal nearly score again but the ball bounces against the keeper his leg and goes out. And a few minutes later a nice one-two between Walcott and Cazorla but Theo shooting straight at the keeper.
Ospina with his first stop on the line just before the half hour mark. But he had claimed a few crosses till then and did that very assured. Arsenal controlling the ball and the match and Hull not really coming out at Arsenal. In the first minute of stoppage time a deserved yellow card for McShane from Hull as he came in dangerous on Monreal. The free kick resulted in nothing so at half time it was 1-0 for Arsenal but it should have been more.
Alexis with a first shot after the interval but there was not enough speed on the ball so the keeper could smother it. The ref now calling a foul each time an Arsenal player comes near a Hull player in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Arsenal leaning back most of the time and let Hull have the ball. Leaving us with a rather uneventful first 15 minutes in the second half.
Suddenly a chance for Campbell to have a shot from just on the edge of the penalty area but the shot goes wide. And a few minutes later Arsenal again with a double chance. First Hull can clear the ball but Arsenal recover and then Cazorla puts Theo clean through but he puts the ball wide. But Theo slowly started to get involved in the game by now after being rather silent.
Arsenal have more of the ball now and Cazorla again with a superb pass to Theo but again his control lets him down. He is still very rusty and is chasing the cobwebs as he said himself. Another chance for Arsenal but the keeper denies Alexis and can clear in corner. Theo Walcott goes off and Chamberlain comes on with some 15 minutes to go.
Almost immediately a goal for Chamberlain but the cross from Alexis was just too much behind his body to convert it . But it was just a matter of time before Arsenal would score their second goal. Cazorla to Alexis with his back to the goal right at the penalty area, a nice turn and a low shot in the bottom corner and it was 2-0 to the Arsenal after 82 minutes.
Alexis was then replaced and Chuba Akpom came on. Chamberlain then on an exciting run but brought down and the yellow card came out for Hull defender Davies. Arsenal very well in control but Chamberlain having a shot from distance was maybe not the best option. Seeing him hobbling a bit after that was also not what I like to see. And Chamberlain clearly was very annoyed by what he felt. Coquelin finally got a card for a completely rubbish tackle. He should cut out on these.
And in the 88th minute Ospina even had to make stop. His first in the second half? Chamberlain then had to come off with what looked like a knee injury. And seconds later Hull had a shot that went over.
In the last minute Campbell came off and Maitland Niles came on. Campbell had worked his socks off and I liked his hard defensive work. Now if only his finishing would improve a bit that would really be nice.
Arsenal completely dominated the match. Rosicky and Cazorla pulling the strings in midfield. Alexis making the difference finally. Campbell with a hard working performance. And once Theo will get back to match fitness he will score the goals. It will come. And Per Mertesacker scoring from a header. Well that was a nice performance overall.
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