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A Fine Day With Occasional Sunny Spells

2 - 0
Hull City


4th January 2015 5:30 pm

Attendance: 59,439


It wouldn't be surprising to learn that the pre-match managerial talk in both dressing rooms contained something along the lines of 'We want to win this but don`t risk any injuries'. At least that seemed to be the spirit in which the match was played for the most part. At times it seemed that both sides were looking to see who could keep the ball the longest. Then again maybe it was just a natural consequence of playing the fourth game in ten days.

Nevertheless Arsenal created some good chances and Hull virtually none. There were some moments of bright play at various points when the famous handbrake was released but for the most part one hand was kept on it with a boot hovering over the footbrake too. Very early on some bright play created a chance for Campbell put through by Sanchez but a rather tame shot was saved. Shortly after Sanchez had a shot blocked and then chipped over going for an audacious scoop into the far top corner.

Rosicky was in great form turning and running at the defence instantly controlling almost any ball into him, making space for and finding an intelligent pass to keep us moving forward. Inevitably he flagged noticeably in the latter stages of the game but in the first half he might well have been our best player. Despite the flashes of inventiveness, aided by a Hull side who really didn't seem to believe they could win it or perhaps with a lengthy injury list just didn't want the distraction of a Cup run when lying in 15th 2 points off a relegation place, this was a game with long patches of more pedestrian play. Whatever Hull's motivation for a rather subdued performance ours didn't always seem that enthusiastic either.

After Mertesacker's goal from a set piece corner, Sanchez when put through superbly by Rosicky, after a typical driving run from the Czech, had a great chance blocked brilliantly by McShane on the goal line after rounding the keeper. Having created 3 or 4 really good chances in the first 20 minutes or so the handbrake was applied once more and pretty well stayed on for the remainder of the half.

In the second half Walcott's pace gave him a couple of chances and though he looked a little sharper than he had in the first half he still seemed, understandably I suppose, to be lacking match sharpness and for most of the time he was on the pitch he was mainly a peripheral figure.

Coquelin had another good game winning a surprising number of defensive headers, making a number of interceptions tackles and blocks. He was fortunate though when launching himself into a tackle with feet off the ground very late in the game, when we were 2 goals to the good and only a few minutes left to play. He picked up a yellow card when he may well have seen red. It was a risk he didn't need to take and if his performances over the last three games were perhaps giving Wenger pause for thought if a defensive midfielder that he really wanted was proving hard to come by this month then a red card now might have persuaded him otherwise.

Our second goal came from the industrious Sanchez who apparently declined an invitation to sit this one out. There were some claims that the Chilean is playing in the red zone but post match Wenger said that none of the tests show any signs of fatigue in him. There was nothing in his performance in this game to suggest he was showing any signs of tiredness either. In a centre forwards position with his back to the goal Cazorla played a ball into him which he controlled, turned and decisively side footed home.

It has been an energy sapping run of games over the holiday period but maybe this was just the contest Arsenal needed. A chance to exercise some fringe players and rest some fragile ones while Mertesacker, who must have felt a little dumped upon of late, gained a boost to his confidence and Walcott got some game time under his belt. All in all a good day and a satisfying way to round off the holiday season with a whole week now in which players recharge their batteries while the seemingly nuclear powered Alexis will no doubt be lighting up the training pitch.

Star Player

Alexis Sanchez

Date:Monday January 5 2015
Time: 12:07AM


Eg lad for the win and happy to see Theo played and acquitted himself well, albeit lacking sharpness. Alexis is super human and so is Merts, it would seem. If he is fit, play him and not just rest him for the sake of it. Happy for Coq too; having stayed so long with the club, coming through the ranks, maybe he deserves his chance to play. Roll on Sunday; it is Orc hunting season.
05/01/2015 00:27:00
Decent-ish performance. We could, and should of been out of sight in the first half. Campbell missed a sitter that really needed to be scored, but it was alright. Hull didn't represent much of a threat, we defended well, it was all very routine, and you know what? It's nice to have that for a change.

It was great to see Theo back and getting into some great positions, a few more games and he'll be lifting those into the back of the net.
05/01/2015 10:57:00
Hopefully we can get a decent draw and at least have another cup run this year. On a separate note, is this our worst points tally after 20 games under Wenger? I believe it is.
05/01/2015 12:13:00
If we win or draw our next game it will only be the worst 21 game tally since the season before last. We're closer to 3rd spot at this stage of the season than we have been at several different times in the past. It's all relative and doesn't really mean a great deal.
05/01/2015 12:55:00
Shows we are pretty pants. We have not beaten anyone of note this season with the exception of maybe Southampton at home... In fact we have only beaten them & west ham of teams in the top 9. 6 of our 9 wins have been against relegation fodder.
05/01/2015 13:04:00
I loved Cazorla’s pass for Alexis’ goal. He just disguised the pass enough to throw the Hull defence off balance. As a result, it gave Sanchez the half second he needed to turn and shoot. Very clever and subtle pass.
Little Dutch
05/01/2015 13:18:00
Player of the season so far Tim? I believe so. He really does perform best from a central role, controls the play.
05/01/2015 13:19:00
'tis true paul but if there's a saving grace this season it's that bar Chelsea and City pretty well everyone else has been pretty pants so far too. It comes down to how pants we are going forward now. There were a few good balls into the box in this game. I loved Alexis' first time pass for Campbell's chance and Rosicky's run and pass for the Alexis effort cleared from the line. Some good balls into Theo too.
05/01/2015 14:20:00
Cazorla would definitely be up there. Three performers of the season so far for me would be Alexis, Cazorla and Chamberlain.
Little Dutch
05/01/2015 15:53:00
We have to worry about the change of shape the return of Ozil would mean. If Cazorla has to move to the left again to allow Ozil in the middle, it should affect balance, wht with Cazorla also putting in a defensive shift, when demanded.
05/01/2015 20:23:00
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