I suppose I could summarise and just say dire, because in truth for long stretches Arsenal were quite honestly awful. Usual thing with nobody wanting to take a shot on, and eventually when someone did, it was high, wide and frankly terrible. And again, playing the ball around with seemingly no aim, only to eventually lose it.
I was sat directly behind the goal, close to the back. Not a bad view, but one thing I did notice is that the KC Stadium isn’t quite as big as it would appear on television. Hull’s fans are loud enough, and always have something to sing about, well until they swarm out in their thousands near the end of the game!
The first half was really nothing to shout about. Despite what Hull manager Phil Brown might say, Arsenal certainly didn’t have the rub of the green where decisions were made, indeed when Arsenal did win a free kick, it was greeted with ironic cheers. The free kick I refer to was brilliantly delivered by Robin Van Persie, and it wasn’t until half time I realised that Myhill had turned the ball onto the bar, in truth a brilliant save. The resulting corner saw Adebayor sneak into the middle and power a header into an empty net. We went into the break with a somewhat lucky 1-0 lead after a really dour 45 minutes.
The second half was far more like it from Les Gunners. We started brightly enough, creating plenty to shout about, but lacking the final penetration. Hull did equalise, possibly against the run of play, although it was a goal that always looked like coming. Shocking defensively, and I was resigned to seeing the ball hit the back of the net long before it did. Clichy, who for me had a very poor game, was caught a mile out of position, and it was a free header powering past Almunia who stood little chance. From this point, Hull seemed a different team, and were full of ideas, passing and chances. Arsenal needed a spark, and it came in the form of Niklas Bendtner who replaced Eboue. The change was greeted with boos for Eboue and Bendtner.
But Bendtner did seem to assist the boost in Arsenal with a hungerness and passion so lacking from the team previously. It wouldn’t be Arsenal unless things were done the difficult way, and today they left it late. Van Persie was to feed Samir Nasri whose control was simply sublime slotting the ball beyond the dive of the Hull keeper, and Bendtner rounded things off with a late strike after a lovely 1-2 with Van Persie. It could and should have been 4 late on when Bendtner hit the post with a free header when surely it was easier to score…?
Arsenal won the game 3-1, but there were a couple of talking points in the bar afterwards, one being the debatable penalty Hull were not awarded. I was at the opposite end of the ground, so can’t really comment as I didn’t see it properly, and haven’t seen any footage, but I can assure you that every Hull fan was out of their seats demanding the decision. The second being our third goal where people are claiming RVP was offside when he initially received the ball from Bendtner. From where I was it looked fine, but again I haven’t seen any footage so can’t comment.
End of the day, Arsenal have partially buried that awful defeat at home to Hull earlier in the season and have ground out a result despite being under strengthed and poor for long stretches. Three pints in the bag, which given the other results today were badly needed.
Next stop, Cardiff in The FA Cup…..