Arsenal forced to dig deep to defeat Tigers

Williams Gallas’ late and controversial header sent Arsenal through to the semi-finals as the Gunners came from behind to secure a hard-fought win over Hull City.

Arsenal have remembered how to win again. And they don’t want to forget it. Hull City tried everything in the book to get through; scored early, time wasted, made the occasional ugly challenge and on the whole defended valiantly but it was a refereeing indecision that ultimately denied the club a chance of a replay at least.

Nasri’s free kick was challenged by both Djourou and Myhill but as the linesman was unsure on who got the last chance, assuming it was the goalkeeper allowed the goal to stand as Gallas headed in. Replays showed Djourou had the last touch therefore the play was in its second phase and the goal should have been disallowed.  

Hull City starting the game with more urgency and their gameplan was to nick the early goal, defend on it and counter when available. They pressured Arsenal and denied them space early on and where soon rewarded with the goal. Andy Dawson lifted the ball to Nick Barmby who’s shot took a looping deflection off Djourou, who had a shaky start, and past the hapless Fabianski. They could have went further behind after Barmby had a goal ruled out for offside after making a clever run but before that Giovanni forced a great save from Fabianski from a free-kick.

Arsenal pressed for the equaliser but were always lacking in the final third with crosses either over hit or to no one. Song and Diaby got plenty of the ball in the centre but a lack of movement in front of them meant they had to either play long or wide. Both Vela and Van Persie belied their status as support strikers as neither one looked to drop into the channel between midfield and attack, rather playing on the shoulder. It was until Arshavin started to come off the left flank Arsenak were starting to show a bit more guile and craft, the Russain’s shot cleared off the line by Ricketts. He and Gibbs complemented each other well with the left back able overlap and make good crosses.

Arsenal threw the kitchen sink at the game and became more direct, getting closer to the target as Van Persie headed on to the bar, Diaby wide and Song doing the same from crosses. But with 16 minutes remaining the Gunners found the equaliser, Bendtner’s sheer persistence and cutback found Arshavin, who was a picture of sheer coolness, played it back for Van Persie to fire in. The Russian was involved in most of Arsenal’s attacking play and displayed his leadership skills as well, telling Gibbs to get back to his position and stay focused in the celebrations. The coffin was dug by Van Persie and buried by Gallas, with a little help from the linesman as Arsenal go through to Wembley to face Chelsea.

Man of the Match: Andrey Arshavin

Arsenal:Fabianski, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Gibbs, Walcott (Eboue 82), Song Billong (Bendtner 64), Diaby, Vela (Nasri 64), Van Persie, Arshavin.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Toure, Denilson, Silvestre.
Booked:Gallas, Nasri.
Goals:Van Persie 74, Gallas 84.

Hull:Myhill, Ricketts, Gardner, Zayatte, Dawson, Ashbee (Hughes 46), Barmby (France 76), Geovanni, Fagan, Manucho, Halmosi (Mendy 67).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Garcia, Folan, Featherstone.
Booked:Halmosi, Myhill, Dawson, France, Manucho.
Goals:Barmby 13.

Att: 55,641
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

Arsenal Team Statistics Hull City
2 Goals 1
0 1st Half Goals 1
8 Shots on Target 2
11 Shots off Target 4
9 Blocked Shots 0
13 Corners 2
13 Fouls 19
3 Offsides 2
2 Yellow Cards 6
0 Red Cards 0
85.3 Passing Success 64.6
11 Tackles 15
90.9 Tackles Success 86.7
68.3 Possession 31.7
57.5 Territorial Advantage 42.5

5 thoughts on “Arsenal forced to dig deep to defeat Tigers

  1. To the author

    What are your views about the second goal? Wenger did state it wasn’t a offside given the keeper touched the ball before Gallas headed it into the net and Gallas was not in direct interference of the play when Djourou touched the ball.

    I personally thought it was offside given the keeper touched ball and the ball rebounded to Gallas which was player furtherest up the pitch. But I am no expert in the offside rule, perhaps you can share your wisdom with us.

    1. It looked offside. Djourou looks to have the final touch but Wenger’s argument may well be Myhill pushed it on to his head. Djourou looks to go for the header. If it was Myhill who had the final touch it would have to be a more meaningful touch i.e. a punch or even a mis-punch which means play will go to the next phase.

      Gallas was not offside from the free kick as he was not directly intefering but was when Djourou headed in.

  2. Personally, I’m not going to delve too deep into whether it was offside or not, because I don’t care, it was given and Arsenal won, that’s good enough for me.

    I’ll let opposition fans mull it over as undoubtedly they will and I would have if Arsenal were on the recieving end of such a dubious decision.

    I’m delighted though because I have bet money on Arsenal winning both the Champions league and the FA cup and I know I’m gonna win big.

    Arsenal’s performances have been far from consistent and I believe this will work to their adavantage, because they have now become an unknown commodity and unpredictable. This was Arsenals weakness at the start of the season, every pass had to go through Fabregas and teams were able to snuff him out.

  3. 100 passes could have been played by Arsenal with Gallas in an offside position, and as long as he didn’t touch the ball, it wouldn’t matter. He only received the ball after Myhill punched it, which suggests a new passage of play, and thus disregards anything prior to his touch.

  4. Riley didnt have such a good game. Some decisions by him were aweful. He almost flipped a coin each time a player fell to decide whether it was a foul or not.

    Arshavin reminds me of Pires down the left-flank wat say?

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