Hull City 0 - 3 Arsenal
With Everton dropping points against Crystal Palace in mid-week, Arsenal simply needed to overcome Hull in order to get some breathing space.
Unfortunately, it was Hull who were on top in the opening few minutes.
Huddlestone and Livermore were running the midfield, as Arteta struggled to keep pace. Arsenal’s only bright spark in the early stages was Ozil, who had returned from injury. Mesut had a stonewall penalty shout, but the referee wasn’t interested.
Slowly though, Arsenal began to turn the tide, and by the thirty-first minute, they found a goal.
Ozil played the ball to Cazorla on the edge of the area, who slipped in Ramsey behind the back four. The Welshman was clam, and placed his shot across goal, and into the net.
Podolski thundered the ball into the net with his first touch. It was another stunner from the German.
Hull threatened through Livermore who hit the post from a long-range effort, but Arsenal’s goal spurred them on, and their second came just before the half time whistle.
Giroud picked up the ball on the right via a counter-attack, and crossed well for Ramsey who had made a bursting run. He chested the ball down for Podolski, who thundered the ball into the net with his first touch. It was another stunner from the German.
With two goals under their belts, the second half was much more comfortable for The Gunners.
Hull’s fighting spirit was dying, and Aaron Ramsey was now in full flow, putting some spring back in Arsenal’s step. It wasn’t a surprise then, that he was involved in the build-up to Podolski’s second, and Arsenal’s third.
Arsenal had put yet more daylight between them and Everton, and had dealt a psychological blow to Hull ahead of the FA Cup Final.
Cazorla crossed well for Ramsey, who had made a surging run to meet the ball with a powerful effort. The shot came back off the goalkeeper though, allowing Podolski to finish off the chance from close range. Arsenal were flying.
The rest of the game held no further goals, but there were plenty of positives.
Podolski looked more lively than ever, Ramsey was running the show and Laurent Koscielny was clearing up everything at the back. Chamberlain, who replaced Giroud, was also looking sharp.
After some impressive possession retention, the final whistle blew. Arsenal had put yet more daylight between them and Everton, and had dealt a psychological blow to Hull ahead of the FA Cup Final.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Made some smart saves throughout the game, and dealt with crosses brilliantly time after time.
A little wasteful in possession at times, but he defended very well from start to finish. Put in one or two decent crosses.
Cut out a few attacks, won headers and nearly scored one too. Comfortable game for Per.
Read every single ball perfectly, got in great defensive positions, won tackles and cleared danger time after time. Great to have him fit again.
Got beaten too easily once or twice, and didn’t make much of an impact offensively.
Torrid opening few minutes for Mikel. Livermore and Huddlestone were bullying him at times, and the Spaniard was too slow to react to most attacks. He improved in the second half though, putting in some very good tackles.
Made a good assist for Ramsey’s opener, but was anonymous otherwise. Misplaced at least five passes throughout the course of the game too. Couldn’t compete with Hull’s physical midfield.
Didn’t start well at all, but Lukas produced another two superb goals today. His first was a typical Podolski stunner, using pure power to smash it home after Ramsey cushioned the ball. The second came as result of good positioning, and calm finishing. Worked hard off the ball, too (which makes a change).
Ramsey: [9/10] - MOTM
Ran the game, particularly in the second half. Aaron scored the opener with a very decent finish, and cushioned the ball perfectly to set up the second. His passing was on point and his movement was like a breath of fresh air.
Wasn’t directly involved in any of the goals, but he really does bring a new dimension to the team. He ran at defenders, showed great touched and should have been awarded a penalty. First game back from injury too.
Showed some good movement every now and again, but he needs to be better positioned for crosses, and more willing to run at defenders. Hit the bar from very close range just before coming off.
The Ox: [7.5/10]
Alex looked energetic today, and also should have had a penalty awarded to him.
If today was a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final, we can rest easy. unfortunately, Football rarely works that way.
Although humbled on the day, Hull had their chances. Shane Long had a couple of chances to put Hull ahead before Arsenal turned up, and Livermore’s long-shot could have easily crept in. It wasn’t a water-tight start for Arsenal.
However, after Ramsey’s goal, everything opened up for us. Ramsey and Podolski in particular were impressive, but the return of Ozil also brought some real class to the side. We haven’t played that well in months.
Next up, Newcastle at home. Bring it on.