We all know the drill by now, lose against weaker opposition (Watford), drop out of the title race and then when the pressure is off we put in a barn storming run to the end of the season. Yep, no real pressure today and the barn stormer seems to have got off to a flyer. We were always on a hiding to nothing playing Hull because as we also all know, beating Hull is to be expected and would have only have drawn any real attention if we had gone and done something stupid like lose. But we didn’t, we won and we won pretty well really.
We ran the show in the first half with the lion’s share of the possession and guilt edged chances created galore. There were so many that pretty much everyone had the opportunity to put us ahead but it took the Chilean pocket rocket to do what he does best and put the ball into the net. Not a thing of beauty, quite a scrambled affair really with Hull players pleading for a handball decision but the goal stood and nerves were calmed.
There wasn’t a great atmosphere at the ground and next to no enthusiasm during the break but there were a few really heartfelt renditions of “we love you Arsenal” that resounded throughout the ground. Maybe many people protested by not turning up; there were a lot of empty seats but the sincerity of the singing albeit short was read by me as just as much of a defiant protest, a protest by those who felt it important to turn up and support their team. Well done to you I say.
The second half started in the normal blood and guts, hundred miles an hour kind of way, the way that we have pretty much started most games recently, the way that does make me wonder what on earth are they taking during the break. Hull nevertheless were well organised and showed no signs of rolling over easily but equally they never showed too many signs of scoring either.
It all looked as though we were going to get the three points with just a one goal margin when close to the end we found ourselves in a break away with Sanchez tearing down the left and Perez charging down the right in support, Sanchez sent over a pin point accurate pass for the, by then, free Perez who headed it goal bound only to have Clucas handle it for which he received a red card.
The funny thing here was watching Wellbeck innocently get the ball and take it to the spot, nonchalantly appearing to be the one who was going to take the penalty. Good try Danny but Sanchez was having none of it and bounded over and took control, probably just as well because he is full of confidence; the goal keeper having obviously watched his last chipped penalty stayed in the middle but Sanchez was ahead of him and drove it low and hard into the net and with it got us all three points.
Quick player ratings.
Cech: made some fine saves in both halves, dodgy clearances as usual but a clean sheet still counts for a lot. 6
Bellerin: good attack play, decent defending, should have done better with his goal scoring opportunity in the first half. 6
Mustafi: a perfectly good performance, some may have fallen out of love with him but he is still in his honey moon period with me. 7
Koscielny: one of his trade mark top drawer performances, did everything right. 8
Gibbs: all credit must go to Kieron for his excellent foul on Markovic who was Hull’s best player and needed to be brought down to stop him getting what would have been a one on one with Cech. Overall, a decent performance. 6
Coquelin: Le Coq wasn’t needed today, more of a ball player rather than a stopper would have been better but as they were all injured or banned we had to make do. Nothing wrong with his performance. 6
Oxlaide-Chamberlain: a very calm and collected performance from Alex which is something I don’t think I have ever written about him, normally he is a but erratic and loses the ball far too easily. He is starting to grow on me in his new found midfield role. 6
Ozil: not great not poor, still love watching him play in an Arsenal shirt. 6
Walcott: the only silver lining I can see to Wenger retiring at the end of the season is that he might take Theo with him or the new manager will tell him he should consider taking up a different sport. Why so many fans are still blinded by his pace remains a mystery to me. 3
Sanchez: if it weren’t for the fact that he scores goals this players would be getting a bigger roasting than Walcott, why, why, why don’t you just pass the ball to the player who is open rather than feel the need to unnecessarily try and beat two opponents before doing so, it looks good when it works but we lose the ball far more than we need to. Frustrating at times but he scores goals and that’s what it’s all about. 8
Iwobi: continues to improve week on week, another tireless performance and although it is not easy to chose a stand out player I am going to give it to the person who seemed to give just that bit more. Alex Iwobi MOTM. 8
An LB offering