Bore draw : And a trip to Hull beckons

The pre match media around this round of FA Cup fixtures has focused much on the congestion caused by this pesky competition. City are rightly annoyed that they will be playing tomorrow with a Champions League trip to Kiev on Wednesday. At least we got the early kick off and at home in our tie and haven’t got to worry about flying anywhere this week.

Bruce was quoted as saying he thinks FA Cup replays should be scrapped and Arsene said he preferred to preserve the current format. If Bruce didn’t want a replay he had a strange way of showing it putting his second string out to defend in two solid banks. Even with three days to recover before Barca Arsene also made 9 changes, Arsene had no choice but to keep BFG and Koscielny in the line up. Another chance for Theo to show what he can do at centre forward, another welcome to England for Elneny and another game for Iwobi to make an impression this time from a more central role.

In the early stages we managed to create a few chances, bit of slick interplay around the box leading to a variety of shooting opportunities, unfortunately the angles were generally tight and the keeper was giving a traditional Emirates performance thwarting anything sent his way.

In truth I felt we started to run out of ideas towards the end of the half, I don’t think we were as fluid as we could have been given our starting attacking three. They have all played centre forward at various times in their career and they have also been wide men. For me they all stuck to their starting roles far too much and what interchange of position there was did not feel instinctive.

We did have some good moments again in the second half, the closest we came to scoring were Campbell’s free kick, and Welbeck’s curling drive. Unfortunately Hull’s keeper was equal to both.

Ox, Ollie and Alexis were thrown on but to no avail and Hull held out for a 0-0 draw and a replay that their manager definitely did not want.

For me Elneny stood out, I felt he was constantly available for the ball and generally used it well. We saw glimpses from Welbeck that reminded us of the talents he possesses, Iwobi continues to improve. There was not much new learned from anywhere else on the pitch in my opinion, we know these players.

So Hull are added to the schedule for a midweek and hopefully we still have plenty of available players to rotate in.

Written by GoonerInExile


65 Responses to Bore draw : And a trip to Hull beckons

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, we are not far apart on our assessment of the game.

    Before I realised you had volunteered to write the match report I had started on one of my own, so I’ll put it up in this comment if you don’t mind 🙂

    ….. I was at the game, but I really couldn’t deliver a blow by blow account of the events because it was unremarkable. Nothing really stood out except that for some reason, we were patently not up for it. Even the mercurial Flamini seemed lacking in fight. We only really showed any urgency once we’d made some subs and entered extra time. The one word that sums up our performance for me is tepid.


    We didn’t play particularly badly. No player excelled. Elneny, Iwobi and Koscielny all performed well, but as a team we were devoid of ideas apart from the established ‘system’ of building from the back which we have seen struggle against organised and obdurate defences too many times in recent years.

    Hull made as many changes as Arsenal for the game. I doubt any of the Hull team would have got into the Arsenal side we fielded and yet, they deserved the replay. Why Steve Bruce sent his team out to play so defensively when a replay was the last thing either manager wanted is another question.

    One problem I see is that we are often too slow in getting the ball forward.

    This may happen for a number of reasons – because the forwards aren’t making the runs to be picked out by a midfielder; because by the time the midfielder receives the ball he is already being closed down by the opposition; because our midfielders don’t have the vision to see the pass … or because we school the players into believing that possession is more important than calculated risk perhaps?

    The inevitable consequence of having the ‘pass it back to a centreback’ as your default option is that it gives plenty of time for a defence minded team to organise their ranks and become nigh on impenetrable to our technical style of play. We don’t seem to be able to mix it up in these circumstances. The only way we change approach is by changing personnel = bringing on subs.

    Drawing this game wasn’t a disaster. We could do without the replay simply because it looks like the Swansea game will now have to be postponed so we could see heavy fixture congestion at the end of the season.

    I have no doubt that we will see a completely different Arsenal against Barca on Tuesday. We will be the underdogs – no hint of complacency. They will be motivated and focused as a team …. maybe we should imagine we’re playing Barca in every game.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you both.

    It wasn’t just tepid on the pitch. There seemed to be only sporadic encouragement from the stands and all the blogs were quiet (AA had the least number of hits for a game day ever).


    GIE makes a good point about Hull’s tactics. 10 men behind the ball – only one shot all game. At least Arsenal tried to score.

    The pass back to the fullback DM: When we are pushed for time it seems so counter-productive. Earlier in the game it seemed the right tactic to change the focus of the attack.

    I was disappointed both by our performance and the result

  3. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, to continue my ‘getting the ball forward’ theme …. the way to get the best out of our pacey front 3 yesterday is to get the ball to them on the half turn or better still for them to run on to. Yesterday, more often than not, they received the ball with their backs to goal with a strong defensive line behind them. That is not playing to their strengths (that is what Giroud does). As a result they were forced to play the ball backwards and sideways.

  4. LB says:

    Really good assessment GIE and a welcome little surprise from Rasp.

    If you watch the interview with AW when he is asked about replays you will see that he was being set up to be “the big bad foreigner” who wants to do away with a fine English tradition. AW side stepped the trap and said he had lived too long in England now and had got used to replays. Anyone who believes he would answer the same way in private would, in my opinion, believe anything.

  5. LB says:


    I really like the way you sum up Elneny and Iwobi up there I think you capture the mood perfectly.

  6. Bridtiger says:

    City fan here, no complaints from us. A level playing field might have made Hull more attack minded, but as we will likely never be able to get players of Arsenals standards the playing field is what it is. Agree about Bruce not wanting replay but he loves this competition, not sure City fans will be so happy if it costs us promotion. Welcome to the KC, and I hope it will be a more competitive game with a referee both sides like, but not Clattenberg or Atkinson.

  7. Rasp says:

    Welcome Bridtiger,

    Great comment and spot on regarding the choice of referee.

  8. Ian RealGunner says:

    Rasp, I think Bruce’s plan was to keep it at 0-0 until 15 minutes to go and then throw on the quick striker to stretch a tiring defence or hit on the counter-attack. To be fair it nearly worked.

    Of course that plan would have failed if the 2 stone-wall penalties had been given – and again there has been little exposure in the press about them (in stark contrast to the Flam’s 2-footed tackle v the Cherries)

  9. LB says:

    What ever the game plan is right now to exploit a break it isn’t working, never mind about poaching Leicester’s scouts we should poach whoever it is teaching them how to hit teams on the break.

    The tedious repetition of passing the ball back to Chambers followed by him squaring it to Mertesacker was, after the 546th time, annoying to the point of wanting to scream.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi Ian, I’m sure you are correct and I agree, Hull probably had the best chance of the game late on. Obviously you can’t send out your players to lose a game but I did hear SB say before the game that his players should enjoy the occasion and I’m not sure that was the mind set they adopted.

  11. Rc78 says:

    Again – this game exposed our two major weaknesses going forward- lack of support from FB and lack of players able to score from outside the box. Chambers was weak and so was Gibbs. Campbell was also off despite good intentions and Iwobi was not productive or industrious.

    kos, flamini, Elneny, Walcott and Wellbeck stood out and the subs did not do anything to force the decision so can’t really be happy with them.

    Elneny was really doing well yesterday but he could have been more adventurous with shots and passes.

    Anyways – ok display but should have won. The ref should have given us at least one PK but didn’t so there we go we re going to play there…

  12. JM says:

    Arsenal F.C. (Specialist Player focus):

    – Get well and return fit soon, our quarterback – Santi.

  13. JM says:

    Santi Cazorla, MF
    DF: 14, MF: 53, FW: 33
    Skill: Omnipresent Shots Into Goal
    Teamstyle: Offence-type (Middle-distance Shot emphasis)

  14. JM says:

    (In form) Santi Cazorla, MF

  15. JM says:

    (Santi Claus; “Ambidextrous”) Santi Cazorla, MF
    Skill: The Final Piece of Any Puzzle
    Teamstyle: Offence-type (For the Team)

  16. RA says:

    LB, @ 11:54

    What is this? I totally agree with you, once again. 🙂

    And frankly, this sideways backwards crap seems to have become ingrained in the team.

  17. Eddie says:

    dear God, surely yesterday’s game was not worth 2 match reports! We had some terrific games and nobody wanted to write a MR, yet yesterday’s bore of a game produced two great articles! Strange

    thank you guys, it was nice to re-live Saturday’s match 🙂

  18. fatgingergooner says:

    Spuds out, good or bad?

  19. Aaron says:

    Was not a bore draw to me and, I bet spuds would take a bore draw any day, cuz now they are down to 2 competitions and a loss or two from being knocked out in both.
    Iwobi looked good as did Elnany, Arsenal dominated the game and don’t let Bruce kid you, he wants to be in the FA Cup final. Played to knick a goal or get another replay no matter what he says.
    Sanchez and the scorers will come good and glad that Arsene put the subs in.
    Cant wait for Barca as they did not look so hot in that last eeked out victory.

  20. LB says:

    I hope that loss doesn’t dent super spur’s confidence in the League.

  21. Gööner In Exile says:

    Aaron I tend to agree with your assessment of Bruce I said in yesterday’s comments that teams think as Bridtiger says earlier. Go stride for stride with us most teams might expect to win 1 in 20, play deep and try to counter they may win one in ten as we commit more men forward, but they probably get a draw one in four. So for league games it’s understandable why so many setup like that against us. And away from home against top 6 opposition it’s probably not a bad move for us either. But in a cup game surely you need to come out of your shell a little more if you’d rather not have replays.

    PS Rasp cracking MR should have used yours 😉

  22. Aaron says:

    Nah, get knocked out by Palace, at home, score 0 goals, confidence is soaring:-)

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB it was a big surprise to me that such a brilliant side lost to Palace…… 😀

    Pochetino must have let their fitness level drop…..

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Spurs made 3 changes from their last PL game so according to their fans Pocketino played their B team. You know – the one with Kane, Ali et al

    Is this good for AFC? No idea. Ask Crystals

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brief g’day, as can’t hang around

    Thank you to Exile and Rasp

    Agree with posts and comments concerning our inability to fracture the Hull defences, and agree also about our sideways stuff, however, I did like our front three and would point out that, together with the creature-in-chief, Iwobi, that line up has never played together before, so finding each other in a fluent cohesive way was never going to happen without a rehearsal or two.

    I’d also point out that our A Team relies on the cunning of Mesut to click, so expecting too much of a 19 yr old is a little unreasonable. I say let them play again in the replay and watch them gel.

    Spurs out of the cup is always good news. Draw shortly.

  26. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Holy Things, just seen the Oilers Inc result!!!!

  27. Aaron says:

    Gotta luv that the chavs drew Everton and manure drew West Ham!

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great draw

    Indeed Aaron. Massive incentive to win the replay.

    Must go again.

  29. LB says:

    Who on earth made the draw?

    Tony Adams

  30. fatgingergooner says:


    City’s first 11 deserved a spanking. Why does a team that has infinite money not have enough players to play all 4 comps?

    Great draw if we can beat Hull. Every chance of getting into the Semis.

  31. chas says:

    Cheers, GIE and Rasp.
    Interesting stuff.

  32. Rasp says:

    Anyone got a bee in their bonnet they’d like to exorcise through a post tomorrow? 🙂

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Not got a bee nor a bonnet.

    Something will surely turn up …

  34. LB says:

    OK, if we get a home draw in the semis I will except that there might be something up.

  35. Herb's Army says:

    Two good summaries, thanks GiE and Rasp.
    Thanks too for the PM, yesterday, Raddy. We should always be up for the cup, club and fans in unison, but the number of changes both sides made tells us how significant the FA Cup is.
    We’ve more chance of winning the FA Cup than the CL, and make history by becoming the first club since the 1800’s to win it three times in a row, but the ‘A’ listers are all rested, so creating history now takes a back seat to accommodate more CL misery.
    Naturally I expect us to win the replay,but equally it wouldn’t surprise me if we surrendered it.
    Hiddink and Chelsea want it this year, and they’re my favourites to win it.

  36. chas says:

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Chas

    Salon today for sure methinks. Must say, LB was fine form yesterday

  38. Eddie says:

    that Farage could screw up football good and proper. if UK did exit the EU majority of our players would need a work permit! Can you imagine the delays and problems??

    It won’t happen though, no chance, majority of people in this country are not stupid

  39. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Eddie

    Despite the Boris factor? Could be close. Mind you with Donald Build-The -Wall Trump winning again, anything is possible in politics

  40. Eddie says:

    Americans are a different ball game, they are thick. They voted for Bush ffs.

    No, English know that exit from the EU means more expensive plane fairs to Spain and Greece

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    Eddie. ” majority of people in this country are not stupid”. LoL.

    An Eddie joke?

  42. Big Raddy says:

    The EU vote will be decided by the media – as always.

  43. Eddie says:

    Raddy, it is a serious matter. You, for example will need a visa to go to Denmark!

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or better news Eddie, Erik will need a visa to get back here 🙂

    Silver linings

  45. chas says:

    In a Grouchoesque kind of way, anyone who wants to become a politician should automatically be barred from becoming a politician.

  46. chas says:

    Away games in Europe may prove difficult.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. So true.

    Visa. :-D. I am more worried about my UK pension

  48. Eddie says:

    🙂 🙂 it is all very well just laughing about it, but it could become ugly, very ugly
    What about Wenger? Will he need a visa?

  49. chas says:

    Are you a UK resident now, Eddie?

  50. LB says:

    Did we need a visa to travel to Denmark prior to being a member of the EU? Don’t think we did.

  51. Eddie says:

    come on chas, me is British, North London girl, init

  52. Big Raddy says:

    I will need a visa for Denmark. It will make little difference because as UK is not in the Schengen agreement I have to go through customs and border control anyway

  53. Eddie says:

    I had to queue for many hours outside the British Embassy, pay A LOT of money, be subjected to some intimate questioning (are you sexually active?), wait for months and finally allowed in for 6 weeks. Oh, similar questioning upon the arrival at Heathrow.

    My poor mother was asked how many partners she had in her life, why my father left her, etc etc. She was so traumatised that he refused to come back until visas were no longer necessary.

    My brother was refused a visa for 8 years, could not come and see me here at all

  54. LB says:

    I think the vote is going to be about the greater good of the country.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    LB. If only that were true, writes the cynical ex-pat

  56. Eddie says:

    what is the greater good of the country though?

    I am building my new house and there are very strict new European building regulations. Pain in the arse if you ask any builder, BUT from what I can see they are in place to increase safety, durability, comfort for all, not just the owner. So, it is costing me an awful lot extra, but all in good cause. For example – the old house was built on 250mm foundations of mostly rubble, nothing. The replacement has to have 2m deep solid concrete foundations!!!!

  57. Rasp says:

    Even though the vote should be about the economic arguments for and against coming out of the EU, most people will think it is about curbing immigration and us sending child benefit payments to Romania 😦

  58. Gööner In Exile says:

    Oh dear to avoid a day of EU debates I’ve popped in a little draft that may get the bloggers furious……

    EU stay in….simple.

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Here’s a thought for all those who think leaving the away will sort out immigration problems.

    What do you think France will do with all those non EU citizens staying in camps in Calais and Paris and helping to prevent them crossing the channel. If we leave the EU I have a good bet that France will just let them continue moving towards the UK. And they won’t even be legal immigrants who can contribute to society.

    Oh and then we will have all the food sitting in the fields of Norfolk unable to be picked because not many locals are prepared to go out in the fields and pick asparagus or cabbages for a living.

  60. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE 🙂 The fundamental problem with the EU vote is that the conflicting messages from politicians and the media mean that Mr and Mrs Average are unlikely to be able to understand the real issues here – and I am pretty much in that camp.

    Where most people vote with their true conviction when it comes to a general election (and lie beforehand when asked by pollsters), people often use the local elections and European elections as a protest or a conscience vote. How many people really delve into the issues and the views of their chosen candidate when electing their local MEP – very few I’d say.

  61. Le Coq Monster says:

    Who the f##k is going to wash my van if they stop the Polish coming in ?

    Exile will become an Asparagus criminal mastermind and back to being known as a foreigner by Nolfolkians.

  62. Le Coq Monster says:

    Yes they have better players, but the Spuds haven`t, so if we want to be as good as Barca we need to press like them as me and GB keep saying !.

    And Wenger says……………..” I used to wonder whaat if I had signed Luis Suarez”…………………………..Yeah !, and I`m still wondering why you didn`t spend an extra £10-20M to get him instead of a £1 !.

  63. Rasp says:

    …. New post ….

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