Hull City travelled to the Emirates stadium, hoping to continue their good run of form and pile more misery on Arsenal. Unfortunately, after an Alexis Sanchez double and a Sam Clucas red card, Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners, despite an uneasy performance.
Early territorial advantage counted for nothing
In the early minutes of the game, Hull took it to Arsenal, attacking with pace and Lazar Markovic lead the charges. Markovic played the ball on a plate for Oumar Niasse, but he didn’t continue his run causing the ball to flash past the face of goal. Niasse did then get on the end of a Kamil Grosicki cross, which was saved well by Petr Cech.
After these chances, the Tigers didn’t create any more opportunities in the first half as they chose the wrong pass or over-hit the ball meaning Arsenal could regroup. With Arsenal pushing forward, chances were few and far between for the Tigers with Niasse being isolated up front, having to chase down clearances for the majority of the game.
Defence wasn’t as resolute as in previous weeks, but did improve as the game went on
In the first half, the Tigers’ defence looked shaky and when the Gunners picked up the ball outside Eldin Jakupovic’s box, they were allowed to sweep the ball from side to side. As Arsenal grew into the game, the cracks began to show and it was another sweeping move which Sanchez scored from, albeit the ball going in after it hit his hand.
After half time, the defence did shore up but Arsenal’s attacks were limited as the Tigers increased the pressure. When Arsenal did clear the ball, Andrea Ranocchia and Harry Maguire returned the ball to their midfielders who started more attacks, especially in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the game.
The increased second half possession looks good on the stats, but not the score line
In the last 15 minutes, the Tigers had over 70% possession. However they couldn’t create any meaningful chances as Arsenal were good at the back. Markovic produced the most chances with some excellent build up play, however the final ball to the Niasse or others who had flooded the box was poor. The wide play from Markovic, Clucas, Andy Robertson and Omar Elabdellaoui was good and the height of the Tigers will be key to scoring vital goals in the rest of the season.
Markovic and Huddlestone need to remain fit for Hull to survive
Against Arsenal, Markovic and Huddlestone ran the show. As previously mentioned, Markovic was the main source of chances for the Tigers and Huddlestone was calm and collected with the ball. Both of these looked forward all the time and both helped in defending by tracking back.
One improvement needed for Markovic is that he chooses the right option more often and this decision includes a better final ball. For Huddlestone, he is the complete player that Marco Silva needs and his ability to control games like he does takes his toll. He needs other midfielders to step up and start performing to somewhere near the level of Huddlestone.