Pre-match analysis: Hull looking well equipped to cause an upset against Arsenal

Pre-match analysis: Hull looking well equipped to cause an upset against Arsenal

Arsene Wenger's preferred style of play could fall kindly into the hands of the visitors.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Despite holding the accolade of the current longest serving manager in the Premier League, Arsene Wenger's position has come under threat during various periods of his post. Following a lacklustre performance against Chelsea last weekend and another title challenge potentially slipping away, the Frenchman finds himself under pressure oncemore from the Emirates' faithful.

On paper, you would assume that a home match against relegation-threatened Hull City would be the perfect tonic for Arsenal. Several weeks ago that may have been the case. Yet the Tigers are mounting a survival campaign under the watchful eye of new manager Marco Silva and their new well-organised style could put the visitors in good stead to cause an upset against a one-dimensional Arsenal side.

Tight and intricate Arsenal possession could be thwarted by well-drilled Tigers

Hull's weaknesses have come when defending open play crosses or set-pieces this season. With Michael Dawson absent for Saturday's fixture, they look even more susceptible to danger in that area. Yet fortunately this part of the game is arguably a weakness of Arsenal offensively. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny add an aerial threat but other than the French duo the Gunners are scratching the surface for dangerous headers of the ball.

Arsenal also likely to develop much of their play down the middle, picking off passes in tight areas in and around the opposition central midfield and defence. Yet Hull will undoubtedly overload this area with three central midfielders. Last weekend in their victory against Liverpool, the trio of engine room players formed a tight-knit wall of pressure, closing down an area Jurgen Klopp's men look to play much of their football.

Arsene Wenger may be well-advised to utilise Giroud instead of Alexis Sanchez as his lone striker to add that aerial threat against a Hull side who have conceded more goals from set-pieces than any other team this season. The likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain add genuine width, but there are question marks over their crossing ability to provide the desired service for Giroud.

Giroud could be critical for Arsenal (photo: Getty Images)
Giroud could be critical for Arsenal (photo: Getty Images)

Arsenal must be wary of the counter-attack

Hull also look much sharper going forward. Abel Hernandez is sidelined with a hamstring tear, though Oumar Niasse is playing with a point to prove after being loaned out by Everton. The powerful striker will put the Arsenal defence under pressure and not allow them time, something the Gunners are not comfortable with.

Since the arrival of Silva at the KCOM, Hull have become adept at defending in large numbers but also breaking forward in quantity. Evandro will play a key link in attacking midfield, looking to steal the ball off Arsenal's playmakers as he did on numerous occasions against Liverpool last weekend. With Kamil Grosicki and Lazar Markovic adding further attacking options, Hull could quite easily steal a famous 1-0 victory on Saturday lunchtime. 

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