Hull Preview: Carpe Diem


Hopefully Hull will arrive at The Emirates tonight and not be captured running loose in Regent’s Park, leading an insurrection among the other denizens of London Zoo. I am sure Dr Allam is looking to discard the name City for the best of reasons – and I chuckled as he denigrated the likes of Leicester and Manchester as common; non-UK residents may not realise how near to the mark he was with that observation. Not only is Hull Tigers a touch too Sunday League cricket for my personal tastes but with their history of financial problems in the past thirty years, is linking the club with an endangered species somewhat insensitive? Some supporters are vociferous in their opposition to the owner’s plans and certainly spurious observations such as those of Rob Shepherd that the club’s name until 1904 are irrelevant as Hull City AFC was formed in that year.

It’s all a sideshow or occupying the outer of the three rings in this circus. What matters is tonight and having tossed aside Liverpool’s challenge on Sunday, Hull will be more confident than they might otherwise have been. Their away form may undermine that, the solitary win at Newcastle should not be disregarded but defeats at the rest of the top five suggest that fortune has not favoured them in their matches against the ‘big’ clubs. They lost at Tottenham as well. Tonight is the ninth league meeting between the two clubs and the visitors solitary win came in their first visit to The Emirates five years ago. The element of surprise may not be so strong this time around but nonetheless, Arsenal’s professionalism will mean that they are not underestimated. On the pitch anyway.

Arsène is more concerned with the pressure and the impact of fatigue. It was a theme he warmed to following the victory over Marseilles when he focussed on the fixtures leading into the trip to Naples. Bacary Sagna’s hamstring ensures that there will be a change at right back with Carl Jenkinson slotting into his place. The youngster has critics, judged harshly considering he has always grown in confidence as the frequency of his starts grows. It is hard for players now; years ago, the Football Combination provided a tougher environment with its mix of first team players and hopefuls. Match preparation was better than sitting on the bench for weeks on end, waiting for injury or form to dictate inclusion. The problem now is that judgement is swift, immediate and that has been passed in some quarters even though evidence before our eyes suggests defenders improve with maturity, regular inclusion in the side. We saw it with Lauren at right back, Koscielny in the defence. It is too soon to take the view that Jenkinson will not be good enough to replace Sagna.

Football is a game of opinions where arbitrary rules apply to judging their worth. It was surprising to hear Arsène takes note of anyone’s opinion before dismissing it, as he rightly should. In most cases, anyway; you would hope that he has fostered an atmosphere where coaching staff are not afraid to voice their view, even if it is at odds with that of the manager. Football has always had pundits and opinions, their number increased with more outlets for those views. The internet is this era’s public bar and media outlets need their advertising revenues. There is a difference in the pundits duty; it is not about the validity of his opinion but the content and the more contentious, the better. Radio, television, print and electronic media; they need viewers, listeners and readers to substantiate their existence in this ratings-mad world, to keep the money coming in. If you are talking about a pundit, his editor will think he is doing a good job although not if you are Michael Owen, obviously. Or Robbie Savage. Or Alan Hansen. Those who dislike opinion, want to suppress others whose viewpoint is different miss the point; that is their opinion and who judges whether it has more merit than others?

It’s a theme I’ll return to in another post for it has no relevance to this evening’s match which thankfully wasn’t yesterday. Wenger’s rotation policy is something the likes of Mourinho is hoping will cause a stumble. Sometimes the Portugeezer hits the nail on the head; four points is not a gap, especially when the two sides meet in a few weeks time. Nine to United, ten to Tottenham as he rightly noted, is a gap. Hands up those who are marking off the Feast of St Totteringham with each passing week? I know I am not alone in working that date out. The pressure, as the manager noted, is always there at a club like Arsenal, shifting from chasing a target to leading the pack where the knowledge of being the prey drives performances, results. Games such as this evening have been the unseen pothole in the past, something which the manager is taking great strides to avoid happening. By the end of the season, who knows, we may look back at the opening day defeat and observe that was it, that was the stupid result. It would be nice to do so but even champions stumble; it is the reaction to those setbacks which sets champions aside from the rest.

The balancing act Wenger has in rotation is not affecting the flow of the side, continuing the momentum which is why it would be surprising if there are wholesale changes each game. Even then, circumstances would be exceptional if those rotated out of the starting line-up, end up anywhere other than the bench. A lot of the pundits opinions are based on the lack of cover for Olivier Giroud and if there was one game this month where the Frenchman could drop to the bench, it is this one.

Rightly or wrongly – and that depends largely on the target of your footballing affections – Hull City are the weakest opponents we face in December. The rest are in European places in either the Premier League or Serie A. The problem is the replacement; Walcott could start in the centre but necessitating a change in the style of play, exploiting his pace but the visitors can quickly negate that by sitting deeper. Home games are not necessarily the best use of Walcott in this position. Akpom or Aneke might come in but if Wenger is going to rotate, Nicklas Bendtner is the likeliest replacement and I am not convinced the manager trusts him enough to deliver the goals required for victory. For that reason, I would expect the line-up to be:

Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini; Walcott, Özil, Rosicky; Giroud

Whatever the case, three points is all that is required. Boosting goal difference is nice but points are the first target.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

298 thoughts on “Hull Preview: Carpe Diem

  1. Now we should take off Ramsey to get him a rest and bring on Theo to not only get him match time but also us playing on the counter.

  2. @C

    Monreal did extremely well to keep that ball in and then find Ramsey

  3. @MA

    He did and that was the key to that goal no doubt. We have seen players so many times just let that ball roll out of bounds.

  4. I think Jenks has played well to date, certainly nothing to pick our defense part for Moe 🙂

  5. fantastic interplay from Ramsey and Ozil. Now they can both come off. Theo, Arteta, for Ramsey, Ozil.

  6. Miami

    This team has spoiled me 🙂 He is doing well but not up to par with the passing beauty on display, just the little things like he should pass faster etc

    Hard man to please me 😉

  7. @moe cos their owner pays someone if it does not go Chelseas way 😉 same with City …lol.. they are both corrupted with oil money…

  8. @Moe

    When you think about Jenks and this game focus on that delicious cross to Bendtner for the first goal 🙂 I think all the lads have done well for the most part. Bendtner still looks slow to me, but I appreciate his goal.

  9. we keep winning 2-0 and I foresee a new chant… 2-0 to the Arsenal!

  10. Still Ozil playing a lot. Surprised since he has already scored. Hope he wasn’t hurt there. Got a bit banged up.

    But small concerns–the team is performing so well. Another clean sheet would also be tremendous.

  11. Newcastle’s run of wins ends 3 – 0 down to Swansea

  12. Yeah, Chelsea and City are going to be tough. The matches against them gain in importance. Also, Everton is looking very tough. If we can win against Everton and Chelsea and draw v. City, I will be delighted.

  13. Oh, Sunderland score again making the end at least interesting 3-4

  14. Against Sunderland Chelsea were always going to win.

    I’m dissapointed in West Brom though, thought they were better than that.

  15. looks like another clean sheet. We are alone at the top of the table in goals conceded. Who in their right mind would have ever believed that was possible after watching the last 6 years??? Awesome stuff.

  16. well United lose yet another game. I wonder whether the pundits are actually going to finally suggest they are out of the race?

  17. Chelsea’s impressive defensive once again on display… not! We have a chance to beat them for sure.

  18. Wish we had beaten United at their ground. Big win for Everton–they will be full of confidence coming to the Emirates. Best transfer of the summer? Moyes out and Martinez in?!

  19. Southampton’s star seemingly on the wane right now as they looked to be losing again

  20. Miami

    Problem is Chelsea know we can score so unlike against the smaller teams, against us they will look to defend in numbers, shut down the space, commit fouls, maybe even injure Ozil and sacrifice a yellow card for their players. I wouldn’t put anything past Mourinho. That’s why i have little respect for him.

    Man city may play a cleaner game.

  21. Too bad for Southhampton. I like them and hope they make life tough for our nearest competitors and take points off them.

    I don’t know when Ozil will get a rest. I doubt he is used to playing full 90 minutes and at this level of intensity. He used to come off at 75 pretty often in la Liga.
    So far he is coping pretty well though!

  22. @Moe

    The only concern I have playing against City or Chelsea is whether Arsenal are prepared to play as they know they can. Against United we looked nervous and didn’t start playing to the 2nd half. The fact is we are 4 points clear still of the chasing pack and thus we have wiggle room even if not a lot. The difference this year have has our ability to beat teams on a regular basis, whereas our rivals still look to drop points against so called lesser sides. We can beat City or Chelsea, though it would have been nice not to have all those games away from home during the same month.

  23. Great result. Nice to see Bendy score 🙂 Utd lost, Spuds came back but remain shit. Suarez on fire tonight as well. Sunderland could have had a draw were it not for an own goal but still, losing 3-4 to the Chavs shows that Maureen’s current team is there to be beaten. Now I’m off for a few cold ones, I’ll try not to be too hard on any Utd fans I meet.

  24. Miami

    I hope the players feel the confidence and determination, to beat Chelsea or City we need some true grit and determination. We have to be serious and concentrated for the whole 90mins. We can do it and if we beat them the sky is the limit, at the moment it is a psychological block against the big teams. Because in all honesty the only team that can match us for quality of players and team in the Prem, is probably City.

  25. Ramboslefteyebrow (The Blogger Formally Known As Miami Arsenal)

    I hope your names not spiteful ;).

    Controlled performance tonight, even Jenks did ok but i’d really like Sagna back. Chelsea are leaking goals right now, if we can’t expose that then there’s something wrong, especially since we’ve got a weeks break before it.

    Thought everyone was excellent. I think to myself sometimes, had Bentner kept a level head and just worked at 100% earlier in his career, would he be a fantastic striker?

    Suarez unplayable tonight, £60mill and i say he’d transfer request it in the summer provided Liverpool don’t get Champs league

  26. I think we will win against City and draw against Chelsea tbh.. Chelsea are such sneaky bastards. City are more straight forward. They got some good players yes, but Chelsea has the dogey Terry and Lampard.. They are like Rooney. just sleazy and the refs love them…. Don’t think they got any players like that at City…

  27. Now we can all understand why Wenger was willing to shell out that kind of money for Suarez, he knows quality when he sees it and he is willing to pay alot of money for that quality.

  28. Mert is the key no? he can play well with both Kos and Verm. If Mert gets injured though the two others have to work really hard to adjust to each other i think..

  29. Suarez is insane though! he’s in the same form Robin was in his last season with us. he dragged us to 4th that season. I bet Suarez will do the same for Liverpool… He’s way to good for them though. Liverpools “support cast” is not as good as our support cast was for Robin. So in a way i guess Suarez is even better than Robin was at his best…

  30. poodle

    I say Mert and Kos, they are just on the same wavelength…

  31. Robin must be shellshocked. He voulenterly left the most technical and entertaining team in the league to join Moyes at United??? hah at least he got his PL medal as a mercenary instead of a long devoted servant of a club he claims he loves.

    Imagin how much better it would have felt to lift a potential trophy as a captain of a club you love instead of with a club you joined just to get a trophy…

    Well that is something Robin will never achieve. Winning something with a club that actually means something to him…..

  32. Poodle.

    We have not won anything yet.

    I am sure that any sadness RVP might feel goes away quickly whenever he gets his weekly pay check.

  33. Didn’t really break a sweat, which is important because, with rotation in the mix, it might mean we have a physical advantage over Everton on the weekend.

    Good for Bendtner too. I wonder what the future holds for him, but it’s good to hear AW say he’s been working hard. Lack of pace isn’t really a problem when he can hold up the ball and link up as well as he did.

    AW is probably already keeping an eye out for a similar fixture to rest Giroud. For now he’s going to have to play the next four in a row so his breather was perfectly timed.

  34. Bill

    I’ll agree, but i’d hope that there was a little part of RVP that regrets what he’s done. Think, if he was still here i reckon we’d be dead certs for winning league.

    But, they’ve kept this injury very quiet….Wonder if he’s as close to coming back as they say.

    Again though, puts our result against Man U into perspective..Should have taken them.

  35. No Bill, van Persie’s more complicated than that. I can guarantee that he’s not about the money. He’s hurting at the moment, there can be no doubt.

    The interesting thing is that it always took him a long time to find his stride after injuries. If he suffers the same inconsistency this season than ManU could be in deep doodie.

  36. MLF

    I suspect that there is some regret in RVP but mostly that he did not win while he was here. I doubt he regrets moving Moving was about trophies and he won the big one, but in the end it was also a good business decision. If the reports we hear are true, he probably came close to doubling the wage he could have gotten from Arsene. It was his last chance to get that big contract. Football is a business for both club and players.

  37. I mean think about that wild goal celebration. He was trying to make a point. There’s no knowing how the season will pan out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he looks at Moyes, compares him to Wenger, and is regretting things now.

    His PL win is in the past. If van Persie is how I think he is, he’s only thinking about what he can achieve this season. And it’s not looking like much at the moment.

  38. Al

    I guess you know him better then I. It was not just money but it’s hard for me to believe that doubling his wage was not a significant part of the equation.

  39. I am sure RVP wishes he could be playing for arsenal right now. However, I don’t know RVP but I bet he wouldn’t trade places with Giroud right now if he had to take Giroud’s weekly wage. If he would then he is part of a very small minority of football players and professional athletes in general.

  40. I think his goal celebration was also about the disgusting abuse Arsenal away fans were giving him. Shame to chant such vile stuff, a shame he left–whole situation is sad but thankfully Arsenal has recovered from his departure. But I would love it if we had a striker of that sublime quality. I didn’t want Suarez but I was wrong about how wasteful he is because he has been improving each season in the PL and now is quite deadly. I hope RvP lives to regret the move by watching us win the league and CL over the next couple seasons. To do so we’ll need a bit more firepower up front.

  41. I hope Lineker doesn’t ask the question tonight, it’s getting abit cringing now for the same pundits to keep saying no we won’t win the title.

    Just leave it , we will see what happens in the future.

  42. It is perfectly fair for pundits to favor City or Chelsea for the title over us. What has been ridiculous is the idea that we aren’t serious title contenders or, more laughable, that Arsenal “can’t win the title.” I still think of us as the underdogs not the favorites. And that is fine with me.

  43. Know what get’s me….All this chat about how City and Chelsea are stronger etc…Pray tell, only top 4 team not to concede tonight? Even with Kompany City shipped two goals

  44. Limestonegunner

    Same here but i wish he wouldn’t ask if he knows what the answer will be.

    I’m just enjoying the ride so far. Whatever happens happens.

  45. CFP

    We’re playing the best football out of anyone right now, sensational stuff in terms of passing and movement.

    I wish to god we beat either or both of Man City and Chelsea, not because i believe it will have an effect on our title challenge but because it would be great to stuff that down doubters throat.

  46. Congrats to the boys. We did what was needed. Solid all round performance. A very good start to a congested December.

  47. WTF – don’t ever visit the Mayan highlands in Guatemala. It may be beautiful but I can’t find the Gunner match anywhere. I have yet to see a local in a Gunner shirt and their local internet access is obviously hacked and disseminating ridiculous information such as Bendtner scored!

  48. An efficient performaance from the lads.Early goal,no real pressure,good rotation,clean sheet. Many question our loss to manure and I say ‘blame it on the bug’

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