It was a typical FA Cup midweek replay, as a struggling Arsenal side travelled to Championship challengers Hull City and the Gunners finally fired to score an easy 4-0 victory over the Tigers to ease into the FA Cup quarters where they will take on Watford this weekend at the Emirates.
Neither of the teams wanted this replay as both the teams were challenging to be champions in their respective leagues but a dull game at the Emirates forced the replay in an already congested month.
However, it turned to be an easy outing for the North London club, but they will rue the injuries to both their centre backs along with Ramsey. It turned to be easy for Arsenal but it didn’t start that way as both teams struggled to find a footing in the game with Hull City threatening on the counter.
Wenger started with Walcott and Campbell on either side of Iwobi behind Giroud. It took some time for the starting line-up to gel together as they have all been struggling over the past month or so.
It looked the same way for the first 35 minutes as the Gunners looked lacklustre until a miss placed back pass by Myler inside the box found Giroud, who smashed into the back of the net to make it 1-0 with 5 minutes to go for the lemon break.
Arsenal almost doubled their lead within minutes of the first goal after Gibbs spectacular long ranger beat the keeper only to find the top edge of the wood work. It was all one-way traffic in the second half as the Emirates club sat back and attacked on the counter.
The Gunners needed that second goal to be safe after a defensive reshuffling with Chambers moving central and Flamini taking right back due to injuries to the centre back duo. The goal finally came around the 70 minute mark after Walcott found space just outside the box on the left to curl one in beautifully for Giroud who easily dispatched it past the diving keeper to make it 2-0.
The goal was followed by another injury as Ramsey was taken off for Adelaide, after just 16 minutes on the field. It was all Arsenal since, as Walcott scored 2 more goals to make it 4-0. The first being a neat finish after Campbell’s through pass found the Englishman and second was a lashed in shot from the right that took a deflection off Alex Bruce to wrong foot the keeper.
It was not a typical Arsenal performance as they found it hard to break down the Tigers in the first half until the first goal came, but it was a good performance when we take into account the struggles in front of the goal for the past month or so. It will definitely boost the confidence of the team and lift the morale which has been down for the past few games.
Arsenal are only 3 games away from breaking a 130 year record of 3 back-to-back FA Cup titles and for that to happen they first need to get past Watford this weekend. If they can build on this performance then it shouldn’t be too hard for them to get past them.
All in all, it wasn’t a performance that will convince the disgruntled fans and papers, however they are slowly but surely improving which should help them in the run-in to the Premier League title challenge. It’s out of our hands but 8 of the final 9 fixtures are winnable for the Gunners which should at least keep the challenge going into the final weeks and who knows there might be a surprise waiting(hope).