[heading size=”14″]Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 – Poetic Arsenal See Off Tigers’ Threat [/heading]
Another game and another victory as a goal at the beginning of each half from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil saw Arsenal home with a 2-0 win at the Emirates against Hull City.
Rotation was the word on everyone’s lips pre-match and Arsene Wenger made several changes to the side that comfortably beat Cardiff at the weekend, with Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Bendtner all starting.
This didn’t seem to affect us though and we flew out of the blocks, taking the lead inside two minutes. Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey linked up on the right with the latter releasing Jenkinson, whose first time cross was placed on a sixpence for Bendtner, who headed home into the far corner with ease.
It was a brilliantly worked goal with some wonderful one-touch football in the build up, and it gave Arsenal a lead they never looked like surrendering.
How we made it to half time only 1-0 up I’ll never know, as Hull somehow survived a barrage of attacks on their goal yet Arsenal couldn’t extend the advantage.
We looked particularly threatening from corners. Per Mertesacker flicked on and Laurent Koscielny forced a save from the Hull keeper with the ball being cleared before Ramsey could pounce on the rebound. Koscielny saw another header go over before Bendtner should’ve made it 2-0, with the ball at his feet and the goal at his mercy after Ozil’s shot was parried off a short corner, but the Dane showed his rustiness by running the ball out of play with a heavy touch.
Rosicky had a tame effort saved, Ramsey forced a good stop with a swerving shot from range and Ozil headed wide off a Bendtner cross as Hull spent the majority of the half defending deep in their territory. When they did make it forward, they never tested Wojciech Szczesny in the home goal with a Huddlestone ball across goal the closest they came.
Shortly after the break Arsenal were 2-0 up. Monreal kept the ball in play tight on the left, before Ramsey and Ozil combined and the Welshman slipped the German in on goal, and Ozil rolled the ball in at the near post. The keeper should’ve done better, but it was another fine Arsenal move.
There were chances for a third too. Cazorla shot over after Ramsey and Ozil linked up at a corner, and Rambo was himself denied when Ozil slid him through during a quick Arsenal counter attack. From the resulting corner, Bendtner had a header cleared off the line.
The game petered out in the latter stages. Arsenal brought on Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta for Bendtner, Rosicky and Ramsey, and with Walcott going into the striker position we struggled to hold the ball up top with the lack of height and strength utilised by Bendtner and usually by Olivier Giroud.
Hull had a couple of chances themselves, with Boyd heading wide from a good position inside the area, and Livermore had a testing shot straight at Szczesny after a rare Koscielny error.
But it was Arsenal who finished up worthy winners with December beginning how November ended, in winning fashion.
And even though we didn’t have to be at our best tonight to beat a side, who with the greatest of respect (or as much as you can allow a side managed by Steve Bruce) will most likely find themselves in a relegation scrap this season.
Yet the intricate, beautiful and poetic like nature of our attacking play was a joy to behold. The one touch football seemed to be on display more than usual, and the vibe inside the stadium as a result often felt more fitting to an exhibition match rather than a Premier League one.
It was Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey at the heart of everything. Arsenal Tweeted after the game that the former two combined 49 times during the match, and it’s hard to imagine that a combination of any of them would be much below that.
The awareness and understanding of each other’s movement was glorious to watch, and Rosicky and the two full backs thrived off that too with space at times easy to find in the Hull third.
Bendtner on his big night failed to disappoint too. He took his goal really well and gave us the best possible start. Despite some obvious signs of rustiness, he worked hard on and off the ball in what was a very decent shift.
People will point to the fact that it was only against Hull, but you can only play what’s in front of you. And Bendtner did that pretty well last night. Credit to him for that, and let’s hope he can put in similar performances when/if called upon during the rest of the campaign.
Defensively we were again solid, rarely tested but seemed comfortable enough when Hull pushed forward with possession. Both Monreal and Jenkinson filled in at full back admirably. The former is really staking a claim for a regular starting birth after a string of solid showings, and the latter provided a fine assist and it was a welcomed confident display from the youngster.
So plenty of positives to take from the game as we immediately turn our attention to what’ll be a much sterner test against Everton on Sunday.
Still we sit pretty at the top of the League and this is a very happy place to be right now.