Sabā il kẖayr Positivistas,
Despite the downpour currently inundating North West Norfolk a fine morning to be a Arsenal supporter I’d say. We can bask in the warm glow from last night’s victory against, yet again, a stubborn Hull side. Checking the book it is more than a year since we put four or more unanswered goals past an opponent. The last time we managed such a crushing result away from home was 3rd December 2012 at the DW Stadium (for those grasping the long departed and lightly missed Wigan).
To bring in the result just three days after an exhausting North London derby, with players missing and on a night when the curse of further injury ambushed us at the KC was even more to our credit.
Of the game itself a fair opening from us, busy in midfield, rock solid at the back, but a little toothless in the final third. We kept at our work however and the dividend came in a rotten back pass from Meyler, and Olivier slotting the ball through the legs of the diving Jakupovic. 652 minutes according to the man on the TV since the locals had to put up with that indignity, 7+ games – I admit I was surprised! If the Bosnian keeper had the a good game and a slice of luck at the Ems three weeks ago his fortune had surely deserted him last night.
So 1-0 up and playing smoothly up to half time the shot from Kieran deserved a goal and I would be delighted to see him and Hector, and Nacho, trying that more often. We have never had prolific full backs in terms of scoring goals but the occasional strike in tight games can contribute mightily.
After half time we wobbled, caused through a combination of Hull picking up their game, and the series of injuries with first Nacho down and obviously hurt, then Gabriel pulling up. Having lost Per to a bang on the head ( no one mention the ‘c’ word – ssshhhh) the evening showed signs of unravelling.
But no – having wobbled we regained our composure, our defence was resolute and then, on 71 minutes, scored what was the killer goal on the night. In its way the second goal opened up the Hull defence as easily as our first. Nice ball in from Theo, exactly where it was meant to be, right height, right weight, right time. For Olly who has suffered some wretched luck in front of goal over the past few weeks it was a second gift, neatly unwrapped and buried.
The remainder of the game was anti-climax, The home side recognised they were not going to come back from 2-0, they knew it, we knew it, they streamed for the exits and an early fish supper, the away fans sang and most* Arsenal fans pondered where to watch the match on Sunday.
Though it would have been easy to settle for the two goal win up popped Theo with a pair of fine finishes. The first was created by probably the best pass of the night from Joel, a perfect diagonal Pythagoras would have been proud of, the second found our English striker/winger pushing in from the right and his deflected shot spun in. Good finishing and a boost to the boy, another who has spent weeks on the bleak plain of indifferent form.
My man of the night though has to be Mo Elneny. I thought he was excellent all night in central midfield, creative going forward, his passing accurate, disciplined when the opposition brought the ball forward, solid tackling, and even winning balls in the air. A little unlucky to be booked for his one foul, but even that had a certain ‘tactical’ origin.
Others worthy of praise Alex Iwobi, the Flamster who silently tidied midfield then slipped neatly into right back, and David Ospina. Just one great save from our keeper last night. Had he allowed the Hull chance to get in front on half an hour …….. well, who knows!
Enjoy your Wednesday.
* And no I am not giving ‘them’ space on this blog.