Hull 0 London 4

TBS

Hull City 0 – 4 Arsenal

0 – 1 Giroud (41)
0 – 2 Giroud (71)
0 – 3 Walcott (77)
0 – 4 Walcott (88)

All good things must come to an end, bad things as well. Olivier Giroud ended his goal drought whilst Theo Walcott doubled his goal tally over the last sixteen games in eleven minutes, sending Arsenal into an FA Cup quarter-final this weekend with Watford.

Progress on that front, distress over injuries with Mertesacker, Gabriel and Ramsey all falling by the wayside. The former pair, according to Arsène, are not serious and expected to be fit for the weekend. The Welshman is more serious, a thigh injury, whilst reportedly, Nacho Monreal left the stadium limping having aggravated his calf injury by coming on as an emergency centre back.

Ending the night with Mathieu Flamini as emergency right back made little difference, Hull were limp in their approach to the game, not requiring Arsenal to get out of first gear all evening. For most of the first half, this replay had extra-time and penalties written all over it until Meyler arced the perfect pass into Olivier Giroud’s path and the Frenchman finished with some aplomb, belying any hint of a lack of confidence following his eleven-match barren spell.

A half-time lead that no-one could argue with in the sense that there was only ever one team going to win this tie, making you wonder how we even required a replay. Giroud’s goal was followed by a super effort from Kieran Gibbs, curling his shot onto the top of the bar and denying us a spectacular goal to talk about.

Giroud and Walcott finished the game off between them in the last twenty minutes and that is probably the most welcome aspect of the evening. You’re never quite sure if this is a blip on their part, willing to sink back into the non-descript form which has haunted them most of 2016, without warning.

Hopefully not but a brief interlude on Humberside is no genuine indication that anything better is on the cards. We can live in hope and a wretched few weeks needs a bright spot.

 

We got more than one. Ospina, not seriously in contention for a first team spot when Cech is fit, proved a capable deputy, saving well in the first half in a brief moment when Hull threatened but overall, he looked comfortable. Which is better than some of the times when he appears edgy.

Equally, Calum Chambers, untroubled on the right for once, looked more assured in the centre indicating that his long-term future really is as a central defender. There was some griping that we are down to the bare bones in defence with injuries but the outlook isn’t as bad as it seems.

Mertesacker and Gabriel should be fit for the weekend, if not Chambers will deputise for one of them. Koscielny, drawing inference from Arsène’s pre-match update, should be fit for Barcelona. We have the numbers and in most reasonable eyes, four centre backs is enough to go into a season with.

Crucially, the point at Tottenham and the manner of gaining it, has not been wasted. From the kick-off, we took control of the game and never relinquished it. Too often in the past, the first goal would have seen energy levels drop, inviting opponents back into the match and making the evening harder than it should have been.

The injuries suffered last night lend themselves to a stronger XI being fielded at the weekend than we might normally have expected. A central partnership of Coquelin and Elneny with Walcott on the right, Sanchez and Özil supporting either Giroud or Welbeck treats Watford with the due respect of being a Premier League side. Not so bad if Ramsey isn’t there in that sense.

Wenger made a fair point regarding the timing of the Watford match. Hull, had they won, were scheduled to play the quarter-final on Saturday yet we play on Sunday? As he observed,

We sell football and we give it to the media to dictate the timing because we take the money so I won’t complain at all. I would rather look from our side.

And from our side, the FA in common with football authorities took the money and sold the clubs short. Mind you, the Barcelona tie is all but over with Arsenal’s only realistic chance of progress being Barcelona not turning up, with the match then automatically awarded with a 3 – 0 result. The minute we step onto the pitch alongside the Catalans, it’s a damage limitation exercise.

Nonetheless, by then, we should be happy to have booked a Wembley return. With Chelsea and United facing tough ties, retaining the FA Cup for a third time, whilst not straightforward, is a real prospect. As the season has evolved, that will be no bad thing. Winning trophies is the bottom line in football. Yes, there are more prestigious but the FA Cup and a spot in the record books is a bright thought on which to start the day.

’til Tomorrow.

143 thoughts on “Hull 0 London 4

  1. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Or right footed for that matter.

  2. C says:

    @CA

    Sad thing about the Toral situation is that he is out of contract come summer but has shone better on loan by far and away of any of our loan players. He certainly is a talented boy, so maybe a new contract and then on loan to a PL club to see how he does. What are your thoughts?

  3. Bill says:

    Miami

    Why bring back Wojo and let him sit on the bench for the next 4 years. He should stay somewhere on loan where he can play everyday. Ospina is an adequate back up.

    OG and Ox should be squad players.

    Iwobi needs to go on loan and play everyday in the English championship. Toral should be signed to a new contract and loaned to a PL team and hopefully his career momentum will stay on an upward path.

    Don’t know enough about Hayden to comment.

    Akpom needs to move down a level so he can find a place that he can play regularly and hopefully score some goals to regain his career momentum.

    Wellington should probably go back to Brazil, Sanogo can stay in the championship and see what happens. Zelalem should probably stay where he is and hopefully he will put on few pounds of muscle before he comes back to the English championship. Gnabry needs to go with Iwobe to the championship and rebuild his confidence and career momentum.

  4. C says:

    @Phil

    So true, and there are many like Santi.

  5. C says:

    Campbell can boast something though that most in this squad can’t, he &as been a main cog in a League winning side. 😉

  6. YW says:

    MA

    I find it a strange, mostly personal call, from them. It is an odd game to choose but one that whilst smacking of a stand being taken, is too self-indulgent to be that. I think the thing which strikes me (uncomfortably) is that the decision is over an additional cost, rather than the ST price which is a ‘sunk’ cost.

    If they wanted to create a message, I think a normal PL match would be more effective as a protest, certainly in gauging how people feel about the issue, anyway.

  7. Finnish Hit says:

    As much as I always enjoy old f*rts (now Zlatan) kicking it in at the Chelski Roublettes, there is no joy in seeing that it is only the ArabOilSpoilers doing what they can with their well-paid-for Parisian (K)nights.

  8. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Funny how loans are the new black, everyone needs a loan. Aside from the u18’s playing schoolboys and the u21’s looking like an u18 side, I’m still not sold. Germany don’t use loans like the EPL does, yet there national youth teams and senior teams perform better than England. Can someone point me to clear information that demonstrates how the loan system is benefiting the development of the English game?

  9. C says:

    If PSG ever did something stupid like sell Lucas Moura, I would hope Arsenal would be all over that. He would destroy defenders in England and he isn’t all pace and trickery but he certainly has power and his work rate is top notch.

    Costa goes off injured and now Hazard.

  10. C says:

    @CA

    I would add Spain to that loan comment too.

  11. dukey says:

    I do like The ox. but Joel Campbell is a tidy player, frugal in possession.. clever with the ball and possesses a mean pass, why wenger has a dislike for him only his dominatrix lethal Lisa knows.

  12. Phil says:

    Bill @ 9.05,
    Hard to disagree with any of that

  13. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Makes sense Yogi. People leaving, standing up and turning their backs or whatever the form of protest would be better before the EPL audience. The sad fact is however, that not a lot will change. I still think it is important to voice or demonstrate your views, but unless real wallet ramifications are felt nothing will change.

    I remember the national disgrace in NZ when the All Blacks wore steinlarger in their shirt for the first time. Then how all AB games were removed from free to air, sky brought the rights. My mom could no longer see them play. Still irks me now.

  14. Phil says:

    So it might be an easier game to get a ticket.

  15. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    C, the rich clubs in Spain own 2nd teams in lower divisions. Honestly, I think loans are more player stock piling than anything else.

  16. Wavey says:

    I’m confused about the allocation for away fans in cup games. I thought we had to provide 10% which is just over 6,000, so how are Watford bringing 9,000?

    Since the Sunday match is an “extra” game it would do the club no harm to make it a “discounted” ticket tariff as a one off. Season ticket holders will have to pay for it in the summer any way. Given that the winners get half the capacity at Wembley, it wouldn’t be that much of a hardship to reduce the prices for this one.

    The club do not allow any banners questioning the manager to be displayed at the Emirates. The only place it can be done is at away fixtures. To be fair to the away fans, they passionately support the players throughout the game. Waiting until the end of the game to display the banner makes it clear that it is an issue that fans have with the manager, not the specific performance. If anybody ever watches Arsenal Fan TV they will know that the away fans have been making their feelings known for a while now. Given how much they pay to follow the club around the country (and abroad), it’s understandable that they were eventually going to feel that enough is enough.

  17. Phil says:

    CA,
    That was the final sign of a new era emerging.
    The last bastion of a purer world of sport broken.

  18. Bill says:

    Miami

    The loan system helps clubs like ours and Chelsea who can afford to stockpile lots of players like Joel Campbell or Courtois and then cherry pick the ones that might help the first team. Even though Le Coq struggled for most of his time on loan there is no way he is playing with us today without having been able to stockpile him. Where would Joel Campbell or Le Coq be right now without the loan system

    You and I both know just how difficult and what a guessing game it is to try and figure out which one might make it. Much much more efficient and effective to be able to watch literally dozens of them to see how they react when they play everyday against strong competition. Logic would argue that it also helps the players because they get the experience of playing regularly such as Toral has had. It’s a win win. No?

  19. Finnish Hit says:

    Now, at Bigger Than Stan Bridge (<- happy with that), we just saw Angel di María, that loooooser murdered by the know-all toxic Old Trafford plebs, coming in after 80 minutes of excellent play.

    He is replaced to great applause for some minutes by a second-string guy named Edinson Cavani, once most desperately demanded as the new number 9 by several itchy parts of the Arsenal community.

  20. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Phil, indeed. It remains a true shame, because the AB’s are as iconic as the kiwi.. To commercialize it, just tainted it.

  21. C says:

    @CA

    Very true but they also allow for players to go on loan and ome loan isn’t a nail in their careers. More to that, they are alsp loan to La Liga sides for multiple years which is very unlikely in England.

  22. Finnish Hit says:

    Liked the positive aspectations of your blog today, YW.

  23. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Bill, like I said, it is the new black. Didn’t say it was good, just black.

  24. Bill says:

    Miami.

    It seems pretty straightforward that stockpiling players on loan is a good thing for a club like ours.

    I would argue it gives the borderline young players that would have otherwise been discarded like Le Coq or Campbell a couple of extra years to mature and develop and if they can improve themselves it gives them their only realistic chance to make the big club.

    I honestly have no idea what there is to not like about it.

  25. Bill says:

    You can’t put someone like Gnabry in the first team next year. We are brimming with players like Ox Campbell Welbeck in front of Serge and IMO we need to buy at least one more player to go in front of those 3. The only realistic hope for someone like Gnabry to make it with Arsenal is for him to go on loan for a couple years and rebuild his career momentum.

  26. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Perhaps I’m naive Bill, but stock piling players is just another way for the rich clubs to remain the status quo. Honestly, the kids are who i feel for. You and I are different ends of the spectrum, working with kids, I want them to succeed. Definitely More so than the commercial revenue of clubs like Arsenal. Not saying you don’t have any points, but we are talking from very different view points. I’m still to see the benefits for the club personally.

  27. andy1886 says:

    Interesting YW. I considered getting tickets for me and the boy for Sunday but decided against it. We’re red members so we’re low on the list when it comes to ticket allocation but the lack of investment before what turned out to be a very winnable title this season has really pissed me off. No ambition, in that environment do I want to contribute to a cash pile that gathers dust? I decided no thanks, not this time.

    Which brings me to Campbell. Would I sell him? No. Why? Because he is a decent option compared to the alternatives. Is that a good reason? No, because if we used our resources to build a real title challenging side he would be a last resort option. But we don’t, we are where we are and Arsenal FC only have the ambition to achieve a CL qualification place , not truly challenge. I don’t blame Campbell, I blame the decision makers at the club whether you think that is Arsene, Stan, Ivan or all of them.

  28. Bill says:

    We are positive when the team plays well. We are honest enough to admit it when we play poorly and we spend most of the time trying to figure out why the team are struggling and suggest ways to fix it.

    It ain’t being negative if it’s the truth

  29. Bill says:

    Miami

    A player like Wilshere or Cesc are going to make it irregardless of how we try to develop them but those are once a generation players and 98% do not fall into that category.

    I can think of several reasons why going on loan and stockpiling actually helps players and gives the vast majority of them a better chance of making the big club. I think you have an emotional distaste for the loan system that colors you opinion but if you are honest, the system we tried in the early Emirates era was not very successful. If you could actually explain why you think the loan system is detrimental to the younger players then I am all ears.

  30. Phil says:

    Dukey,
    I realize I don’t care about t20 cricket,
    But the best team in the universe came back from one down, to win 2-1.

  31. Jonny says:

    Eboue to Sunderland! Great to see him back in the Premiership.

  32. santori says:

    1)Campbell.

    When many said he was not Arsenal material, I mentioned he protected the ball well and used the ball well, that Wenger had plans to keep him,

    2)Similarly when many said Coquelin was one foot out, I mentioned Coquelin was kept that season for a reason.

    3)When many clamoured for the return of the more limited Jenkinson, I also mentioned Wenger had hedged with 3 options in place of the stalwart and departing Sagna. Debuchy the safe choice, Chambers who was a RB at Soton and the exciting emerging prospect of Bellerin. Wenger felt likely one or two will come good and he was correct.

    4) When many said Elneny was coming in to be a DM, I said Wenger was bringing him in equal measure to cover the potential loss of Ramsey (as a link player in midfield) as he was as a possibility of developing into a future DM. As from evidence, Elneny is better linking play. His current abilities as a DM is premature. He is still a pace behind the game at times being turned too easily and not yet robust enough in challenge.

    5) Flamini. When many said he is a liability, I said he is a better player than many gives him credit for. He has kept in conjunction with Ramsey clean sheets against Soton, Stoke and Bournemouth amongst others and now against Hull for the majority of the match. Ramini has also found equilibrium against Olympiakos and City where Coqsey has leaked 5 goals in two games.

    Elneny and Flamini have as much developed a stable equilibrium too. And for those who suddenly think Elneny is ready to step up as the main DM, the manic two minutes following Coquelin’s dismissal led to two goals from Spurs. Contrast the game against Chelsea where Flamini ran 13.2km and helped to keep the game to a goal deficit.

    This is not to say of course Coquelin is poor or Elneny but to put things in perspectiv.

    Likely the Coquelin Elneny partnership should be the stronger but as we have seen sans Santi, Coquelin himself can have limits. Flamini is a better user of the ball than many give him credit. Against Barca, there may be reason to shield with both Coquelin and Flamini.

    Rather than a zero sum game, all 3 options in midfield in varied permutations are critical.

    Nor do I see Flamini surplus to use rather taking a retiring squad role next season.

    Again when some said Arteta would be ahead of Flamini this season, I mentione dthat Arteta will be limited by knocks and wear and tear issues and that frankly, he should have been let go last summer.

    Flamini is the more useful not because he is a more articular player than Arteta but because he has a slight edge in durability PLUS he has adaptability to cover Rback (adding further insurance with Chambers likely to move toward that position)

    So in terms of squad composition next season, I imagine there will be the following :

    CF : Giroud Welbeck
    LW : Alexis Walcott
    RW : Campbell Ox
    AM : Ozil Jack
    CM : Ramsey Santi
    DM : Coquelin Elneny
    GM : Flamini (?)
    LB : Monreal Gibbs
    RB : Bellerin Chambers
    CB : Per Koscielny Gabriel
    GK : Cech Ospina

    CF (Centreforward) I don’t think Giroud will be a squad player. He is a crucial part of the set up because he is an enabler even when not scoring. His game is not based on pace alone so he will continue to give and mature well in service for some more years. This is likely a two season gap which gives us good time to continue to develop assess likely Jeff, Sanogo or Akpom or bring the next wonder player in from market in the position.

    There is also Welbeck who will likely improve and has good atributes of both Giroud and Walcott.

    Left Wing – I think the player in question at the moment is actually Walcott. He can add goals for us but can he express more for us in a wide position? He is a maturing player who should he not further develop will lose out on pace as he gets older. Do we cash in now and add a more nuanced player out wide? It depends on how he sees this season out IMO.

    Right Wing – I don’t see Ox as a squad player either. He brings an exciting element to our offensive line but he needs to mature in defensive awareness and general decision making. His close control skills on the trot is amazing. He will continue as an option to Campbell and vice versa.

    Central Midfield – is where we may have a gap for one more player either from academy (like Iwobi or Zelalem) or from market. Particularly, we have to watch for who can takeover Ozil’s role in Attacking Midfield. I believe Jack (when fit) could be in that position but Santi isn’t getting younger and may retire to the mentor role (Rosicky) in time which may leave a gap for a player in Centre Mid (Link role). Jack can be used there in which case We could be seeing someone like Iwobi (or from market) as alternate to Ozil. OR Elneny too. Likely Elneny will continue to be developed in the DM role as he gets used first to CM.

    Ramsey can also be pushed to the AM role so there is plenty of options to be assessed. Flamini will also probably be retired to a utility (General Midfield) role as a senior player like Santi covering any gaps in the squad. His adaptability is helpful in particular in covering Rback should both Chambers and/or Bellerin get knocked

    LeftBack is fairly obvious in choice. We will probably need to start looking for a MOnreal replacement for the future now is the only thing to come into the academy set up

    Rightback Chambers will likely cover Bellerin. There is a slight possibility Jenkinson may come back in but I feel he is too technically limited even if he does not lack heart.

    With a spot also available covering the Cback trio, Chambers could also be pushed into Cback if need be.

    However with both Koscielny And Per getting older, it makes more sense IMO to bring in a Cback at this stage. Per will likely than transition out of squad over next season or two with the option of Chambers also eventually coming into the Cback set up.

    As far as keepers are concern, between Ospina and Szsc, I think its a question of Ospina’s aspirations. Should he want to stay, Szsc will go back out on loan or be sold. Ospina is a solid shot stopper. I have said before that where Cech is more commanding (particularly attacking crosses), Ospina is the better reaction saver.

    So what I see is likely room for following additions:

    Cback X1
    Midfield X1
    LwingX1

    I think midfield or Lwing could see one from market and one from academy. Cback well, we could do with experience ready made from market frankly like a Hummels for example.

    I’m not saying I’m correct of course. Who knows what Wenger is thinking.:D

  33. C says:

    Reports say Ramsey is facing 6 weeks out.

  34. Damon says:

    Andy
    Agree with all of your 22:13

    That banner… Been around a while now. First time I saw it was at the away game two years ago at Brighton in the FA cup. The mood then amongst our fans brought punches to be thrown amongst our own. With a large response of “One Areene Wenger” being sung as said banner was rolled away. I’ll add, Arsene stayed on the touch line to take all this in while the players were down the tunnel and away out of sight. He was interested. I believe a similar set of events played out a few weeks before oop north somewhere?

    I say all this as at the time there was hardly a sniff of media coverage. You had to hunt for it. Not so now. Also, perhaps I’m measuring by my own metrics, but I’m sure most who attend now would agree that the banner isn’t and wouldn’t be met with as much hostility by other away fans now?

  35. Finnish Hit says:

    @YW “Don’t get used to it, Finnish…”

    Do not worry. I’ve been around here for likely eight years, and seen the steady decline to deep-rooted pessimism taking over… But you can get healed, unlike the ones who started following during the good years. 😉

  36. Finnish Hit says:

    @santori, that was a great and deeply-thought analysis that you wrote March 10, 2016 at 12:19 am. More of that from everyone, please, instead of three-line whines.

    Have to re-read it again with time.

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