Arsenal 2 (Bendtner 2, Ozil 48) – Hull City 0
Man of the Match – Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Arsenal strengthened their position at the top of the league with another accomplished and professional performance against high flying Hull City. The Tigers, who had just trounced Liverpool 3-1 over the weekend, came into this game high on spirits.
Arsene Wenger made several changes to the squad, with Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna rested. In came Nacho Monreal and Carl Jenkinson. Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky came in place of Jack Wilshere and the fit again Mikel Arteta, while the world’d best striker Niklas Bendtner was given a start ahead of Olivier Giroud.
Despite all the moans across the Arsenal world, at the sight of Bendtner’s name on the team sheet, the Dane silenced everyone by opening the scoring after barely 90 seconds. Aaron Ramsey spotted the run of Carl Jenkinson, whose inch perfect cross to Bendtner was easily directed in.
After that, unlike some games this season, the Gunners went gung-ho in search of the second goal. Flamini, Ozil, Rosicky, Ramsey and even Mertesacker all saw their shots being either blocked out by the Hull defence, or by Hull’s keeper Alan McGregor, a busy man all night.
Niklas Bendtner looked in menacing mood, but missed a sitter in the 15th minute, an indication of his rustiness. An Ozil shot was blocked by McGregor, and Bendtner was first to react, but could only managed to put the ball out of play with the net gaping wide. He then set up Cazorla, but the Spaniard’s shot went wide.
An Aaron Ramsey shot in the 25th minute went narrowly wide, as Hull managed to keep Arsenal just a goal ahead. They created some chances of their own, when Tom Huddlestone’s ball across goal went waste, and a James Chester header off a corner went wide.
Mesut Ozil wasted a glorious chance at the end of the first half to double Arsenal’s lead. Cazorla released Bendtner down the right, yes, Bendtner, whose cross was met by the German but went wide.
Arsenal started the second half just like they had started the first. Some neat interplay between Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, ended up in Ramsey beautifully feeding Ozil, who placed the ball behind McGregor.
Santi Cazorla fired clumsily over the bar, after being teed up by Ramsey, who saw his shot blocked, before Bendtner’s header was cleared off the line in a terrific attacking start to the second half. Cazorla’s left footed shot was thwarted by McGregor.
Hull came in search for an equalizer, with Livermore almost capitalizing on Koscielny’s error, only for Szczesny to make a save. Kris Boyd headed wide, having been set up by Sagbo.
Arsenal bought on Wilshere and Walcott for Bendtner and Rosicky, but Arsenal were more intent on closing out the game, allowing Hull a bit of possession. A last ditch tackle from Liam Rosenior on Mesut Ozil stopped an almost certain Arsenal goal.
It was another comprehensive performance from the Gunners, who stay 4 points clear of 2nd placed Chelsea, who managed a narrow 4-3 win over Sunderland. A Luis Suarez quadruple saw Liverpool trounce Norwich 5-1, while David Moyes finally succeeded in helping Everton win at Old Trafford.
Everton themselves come visiting this weekend, as a gruelling round of fixtures will test Arsenal’s resolve and title credentials.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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