Arsenal took on Premier League newcomers Hull City at the Emirates Stadium on a sunny Saturday evening in north London.
14 goals in the Gunners’ last 4 games gave Arsene Wenger’s side something positive to build from and it looked set to continue with an easy-looking game against Phil Brown’s troops.
Hull were certainly no mugs coming into the game though, 8 points out of a possible 15 would normally be the mark of a ‘top four’ team, something that Arsenal had to be aware of.
Arsenal Starting XI:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Eboue – Fabregas – Denilson – Walcott
Adebayor – van Persie
Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Song, Silvestre, Djourou, Bendtner.
Hull Starting XI:
McShane – Zayatte – Turner – Dawson
Marney – Boateng – Geovanni – Ashbee
Cousin – King
Subs: Duke, Hughes, Garcia, Mendy, Halmosi, Folan, Ricketts.
The first period started with some neat passing from both sides, Phil Brown earlier admitted he’d be delighted if his troops got anything from the late kick-off.
Both sides were feeling their way into the game in the late-summer conditions. Denilson was brought down by Andy Dawson on Hull left but Van Persie delivered a free-kick straight at Myhill. Minutes later, Fabregas struck a decent opportunity wide from 18 yards when put through on goal.
Arsene Wenger felt his side should have had an early penalty as Robin van Persie went down under Michael Turner’s challenge on the edge of the box.
A Cross from Sagna was headed in by Adebayor but referee Alan Wiley had spotted handball. In the next attack, Dawson committed a goal-saving tackle on Walcott who found himself 20 yards out. Arsenal started stepping up through the gears – only desperate City defending stopped the Gunners from taking the lead.
Tigers’ midfield were only just managing to stem the Arsenal’s attacking thrusts. A speculative shot from Geovanni was high and certainly not very handsome.
Former Manchester United defender Paul McShane went forward in a rare attack and won attacking throw-in. City started to settle and had a rare spell of possession.
Interplay between Walcott an Fabregas almost created an opening and it was Arsene Wenger’s troops who looked the more likely to score.
Arsenal tried to almost walk the ball into the net when the best opportunity of the half reached them. Emmanuel Eboue was given a sublime pass by Emmanuel Adebayor and instead of shooting tried to pass to Robin van Persie, but Hull managed to clear. A ridiculous piece of play from the Ivory Coast international.
It was the hosts who had the lion’s share of possession in the first half but City – often with their backs to the wall – had done enough to frustrate and shade the honours at the break.
An early Boateng drive was deflected over in Tigers’ most threatening move of the match as the second half begun in full force.
Turner and Zayatte were outstanding in back four for City both defenders were cancelling out van Persie and Adebayor.
City were having the better of exchanges before Arsenal finally struck.
A thrilling run from Theo Walcott occured, the England wizard crafted a bit of lucky magic after Adebayor clipped the cross and McShane turned it in with Cesc Fabregas claiming the goal.
Goal: Paul McShane (50 – Own Goal) – Arsenal 1-0 Hull City
Adebayor almost made it two nil minutes after but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Turner. Arsenal turned the screw City started to lose some of that composure that earned them a goalless first half.
Theo Walcott laid the marker down for Hull’s defence and his pace found him in a threatening position. Arsenal’s attacking power started to expose City.
Hull regained some composure and started to pass the ball around well, Geovanni got the ball, moved in field and launched an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner – a massive blow.
Goal: Geovanni (61) – Arsenal 1-1 Hull City
The Brazilian’s strike was arguably the goal of the season so far and Daniel Cousin almost added another seconds after
Momentum was with Hull and they won a corner on the far side. Andy Dawson smashed it in the box and headed Cousin burst the net with a crisply taken header, William Gallas was caught on his heels.
Goal: Daniel Cousin (65) – Arsenal 1-2 Hull City
What a comeback by the Tigers. Don’t forget only West Ham have ever won at the Emirates in a Premier League game so this, if it happens, would be one of the great wins in the top flight by anyone, ever.
Walcott’s cross failed to find a head and the Gunners’ support started to get ncreasingly restless- and who could really blame them.
Marlon King ran in on goal and brought a save from Almunia as Arsenal otherwise engaged at the other end.
City tried to wind down the clock and were helped by an offside flag which used up a few more seconds. Four minutes of added time, the Gunners needed a goal.
All bodies in the way on every occasion Arsenal went forward. Dawson headed over and from resulting corner, Gallas struck the bar with a header.
A Cesc Fabregas drive brilliantly tipped over by Myhill and Toure strikes wide from resultant corner. Van Persie just over the top but it was City’s day and an unbelievable result.
Arsenal’s 60 game unbeaten home record and Arsene Wenger’s 12th anniversary at the club will now go largely unnoticed thanks to a magnificent display from Phil Brown’s resoloute Hull troops.
No Player Ratings for today’s game – a shocking display, all players below 4’s.