Originally posted on Dohyo App.
Arsenal visit last seasons F.A Cup final opposition Hull City on Monday evening, hoping to eradicate last weekends frustrating 0-0 draw against Chelsea from their minds.
Whilst this game will no doubt carry a little less drama than last seasons domestic cup finale, there is still a huge amount left in the pot for both teams to battle for.
The Tigers battle against the drop is well documented – at the time of writing they had a four point cushion that separated them from the trapdoor that leads to Championship ignominy. This could have been a lot worse had Steve Bruce’s men not snatched three points from Liverpool last Tuesday, with Michael Dawson grabbing the vital winner in a tight 1-0 win. The men from Humberside will be buoyed by this fantastic result and January recruit N’Doye has bagged 5 goals in 11 games to give them a much needed edge up front.
Hull will look to name an unchanged side for the Gunners visit to the KC, with maximum points gained in their last two matches and clean sheets earned in both by veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper. No fresh injury worries to worry relieved Tigers boss Bruce as he can look to this fixture with a little less trepidation thanks to some breathing room from the teams below them.
Arsenal travel to Humberside on the best run achieved by any side this season, with the Gunners unbeaten in their last nine games. Eight of these results were wins, with their last result at Chelsea being the only dropped points. Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger has proclaimed the club have a clean bill of health in regards to his players, with Mathieu Debuchy the only possible absentee due to a slight hamstring niggle picked up in training. The rest of his side – even Abou Diaby – are ready to be called upon.
The last meeting between these two sides saw the North London side claim a 2-0 win at The Emirates in the F.A Cup, but the reverse League fixture was a snatched point at the death for Arsenal – Danny Welbeck slotting in a 91st minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
With Hull still unsafe and with upcoming matches versus Tottenham, Burnley and Manchester United to come after this match, the onus to ease a little further away from the drop will be fresh in the minds of the players bedecked in black and gold. Arsenal also have pressure breathing down their necks, with City level on points and Manchester United also ready to pounce on any small mistake.
This match has tenseness running through its core. A mistake could settle it, but if Arsenal score early as is their wont, then Hull could be in trouble as Arsenal haven’t conceded in the first half of games for the last 13 matches. Dame N’doye will look to extend his purple patch and if supplied aptly by Elmohamady – he could be a threat. Elmohamady has had a great season and can proudly claim to be the League’s most prolific crosser. Hull will need them both to be firing to steal any points away from a firing Arsenal side.
Predictions? I’d say that both teams will not play their most flowing of football, but much like Chelsea have reinforced – the business end of the season is all about results. Expect to see that shown on the pitch. I’d go for a 2-1 Arsenal win, maybe a sending off in the heat of the moment. Both teams cannot claim to be top of the FairPlay league and with the pressure on both teams to bag the points, a dismissal is well within the realms of reality.
Entertainment will be far from the fans minds with the current situation enjoyed by both teams. The points will be what every spectator in the stands and watching from home will be baying for. A moment of inspiration or a mistake from a player who has wilted under the spotlight will make the difference.
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