Gunners tame Tigers to return third
Arsenal moved back into third place in the Premier League with a
comfortable 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Hull at the Emirates
Goals from Denilson, Eduardo and Abou Diaby earned Arsene
Wenger’s side all three points in a bad-tempered affair.
But the Gunners also had to give credit to goalkeeper Manuel
Almunia, who saved a penalty from Geovanni when the home side led
Hull, who beat Arsenal at the Emirates last season, had the
first opportunity within the opening minute.
Craig Fagan’s 20-yard shot was just off target but Hull were
clearly in the mood for a battle.
Moments later Almunia had to deal with a free-kick by Stephen
Hunt as the City midfielder looked to surprise the Arsenal
goalkeeper at the near post.
The home side were clearly missing the midfield artistry of
the injured Cesc Fabregas but Samir Nasri should have put them
ahead in the 15th minute but shot tamely at Myhill.
Hull had enjoyed much of the possession in the early
skirmishes but they had little reward in attack.
Arsenal finally shook off their lethargy in the 23rd minute
when Eduardo tried to curl the ball beyond Myhill and into the
corner of the net. But the Arsenal striker’s effort was a yard wide
of the target.
Wenger’s side, without a string of first-choice players,
found it difficult to break down stubborn Hull, who gave their
hosts little time to settle on the ball.
A cross from Hunt in the 39th minute almost reached Fagan but
Almunia collected the ball before the City striker could pounce.
Arsenal had found little rhythm in their play and Myhill,
apart from a couple of long shots, had been relatively untroubled.
But the contest erupted shortly before the break when Nasri
trod on the ankle of Richard Garcia as Arsenal prepared to take a
Hunt then clashed with Nasri and a mass confrontation took
place in front of referee Steve Bennett with Arsenal goalkeeper
Almunia sprinting 100 yards to get involved.
Fagan tried to drag Hunt away from the incident as players
from both sides became embroiled in ugly scenes. Bennett eventually
booked both Hunt and Nasri when the fracas subsided.
Arsenal rubbed salt into Hull’s wounds seconds later when
Denilson scored from a free-kick after George Boateng had fouled
Diaby 25-yards from goal.
Players from both sides appeared to continue their first-half
spat in the tunnel as they left the pitch at the interval.
There was already plenty of bad blood between the two clubs
stemming from last season when Fabregas was accused of spitting at
City’s assistant Brian Horton.
Hull replaced Nick Barmby at half-time with Seyi Olofinjana
but nearly went two behind straight after the re-start.
Eduardo worked an opening for himself from Andrey Arshavin’s
pass, but the Croatia striker put his shot wide with just Myhill to
There was more controversy in the 55th minute when referee
Bennett awarded Hull a penalty after Mikael Silvestre had been
adjudged to have pulled the shirt of Fagan.
But Almunia saved a poor Geovanni spot-kick and then Hunt
headed the rebound wide of the target.
Worse was to come for Phil Brown’s side in the 59th minute
when Diaby broke into the penalty area and pulled the ball back for
Eduardo to tap home.
Arsenal wrapped up the points in the 80th minute when Diaby
played a one-two with Arshavin and fired past Myhill.
Hunt almost scored a consolation goal for the visitors with
three minutes remaining but Almunia saved his volley.
The Arsenal goalkeeper’s clearance then put substitute Theo
Walcott in the clear at the opposite end but the England youngster
put his lob just wide.