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Bendtner vs Hull

By Fab4.

Arsenal’s unlikely march to a first Premier League title since 2004 is still on track after Nicklas Bendtner scored 3 minutes into injury time to secure a 2-1 win over 10 man Hull. The win keeps Arsenal in touch win Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of the premier league, after they both claimed easy home wins over West Ham and Fulham respectively.

The game started in spirited fashion and Arsenal were soon dominating. Hull looked like a team who are sitting in the bottom two and Arsenal were passing the ball about with relative ease. The pressure finally told and Arshavin gave Arsenal a deserved lead 14 minutes in. The Russian collected the ball on the edge of the box with three Hull defenders in front of him managed to wrestle his way through them all, part luck…part skill it must be said, but the finish was class.

0-1 Arshavin (14)

Hull looked completely out their depth and we were running rings round them. It seemed only a matter a time before Arsenal doubled their lead but Hull were gifted a lifeline with some questionable officiating.

Marney flicked a ball over the top into the penalty area to a clearly offside Vennegoor of Hesselink but the referee’s assistant kept his flag down, Campbell was now the wrong side of the striker and jumped into the back of him in an attempt to stop him getting a shot off but only managed to send Vennegoor of Hesselink crashing to the floor. Penalty awarded and yellow card for Campbell.

It was a penalty, as the ESPN commentator pointed out about 20 times whilst also complaining that Campbell should have been sent off, blindly ignoring the fact that the Hull player was offside in the first place. I must say i wasn’t impressed with Campbell’s challenge. It was not the kind of thing you expect from a player with his experience. Vennegoor of Hesselink looked like he had lost control of the ball and Almunia was bearing down on him, to jump into the back of him giving the striker the easy option of hitting the deck for a penalty was stupid if you ask me.

Anyway, Bullard stepped up to smash home to level the game. They didn’t deserve it but Hull were level.

1-1 Bullard (28, Pen)

The rest of the half was a scrappy affair, Arsenal had a couple of efforts through Arshavin and Bendtner but were not passing the ball like we’re used to seeing. Then the inept performance’s of the officials got worse when George Boateng poked Bendtner in the eye before slapping him in the face in an off the ball incident seem only by the linesman. The referee and his assistant came to the bizarre conclusion that both players deserved yellow cards!

Then with half time approaching came yet another despicable act of brutality against an Arsenal player and another poor refereeing decision. This time it was the hugely experienced George Boateng who decided to try and end the career of Sagna with a very late, studs up stamp to the knee that was only punished by a yellow card. Fortunately it was his second which meant he was sent off against Arsenal for the 3rd time in his career. The decision to only produce a second yellow to Boateng for his ‘challenge’ on Sagna was astounding. The ‘tackle’ happened right in front of him but the referee deemed Boateng’s late, knee high tackle as a yellow and not a straight red. Unbelievable.

Half time, 1-1 and we had 45 minutes to beat 10 men and keep out title hopes alive. This was a massive opportunity and the next half of football would tell us a lot about this Arsenal team.

Unfortunately it seemed they had failed as Arsenal didn’t create anything of note until the introduction of Walcott with 25 minutes remaining. He immediately ran at the Hull defense, drove into the area and cut back only for Arshavin to blaze over from 8 yards. Terrible miss.

With the exception of a couple of chances wasted by Nasri and Bendtner, Arsenal were not really making their numerical advantage count. They had a lot of possession but were creating very little in truth.

With only a couple of minutes left Denilson picked up the ball 35 yards from goal. I begged him not to shoot, but he pulled the trigger anyway. To my astonishment it was a pretty decent effort, although straight at Myhill it had plenty of power behind it, so much that the Hull stopper could only parry the ball back in front of him where Bendtner was on hand to side-foot home from 10 yards.  Me and my mate went mental. A priceless goal and a vital one to keep Arsenal right in the title hunt.

1-2 Bendtner (90 +3)

It finished 2-1 to the Gunners and a massive win that keeps us right in the title hunt. Has Nicklas Bendtner ever scored a more important goal in his life? For a 22 year old he has plenty of experience, scored goals at international level for Denmark and with Arsenal in the Champions League and Premier League, but i doubt any goal he’s scored has been as important as his winner against Hull.

To get six points from away games against Stoke and Hull shows just how far this team has come in my opinion. You could see the relief on Arsene Wengers face when Bendtner scored, he knew what a big 3 points this was for us, especially after playing against 10 men for half the match. A draw would most certainly have felt like a defeat. But last minute winners when you’ve played badly are what champions are made of.

In truth this was a horrible match to watch. Apart from the opening 20 minutes, Arsenal played poorly and Hull did everything they possibly could to disrupt the flow of the game with a succession of unpunished fouls. The pitch looked like what it is…a rugby pitch….so obviously that didn’t help Arsenal produce their usual slick passing game. But it was the referee’s inability to stamp out the  consistent fouls dished out by the Hull players that really ruined the game for me. Time after time they fouled, pulled shirts and disrupted the game and time and time again the referee failed to punish them.

The more teams like Hull are allowed to adopt their cowardly tactics against Arsenal the more Ramsey/Eduardo/Diaby type incidents there will be. Sagna is a very lucky boy indeed not to be joining that list following Boateng’s attempt of a tackle yesterday.

Although Bendtner didn’t play particularly well, he once again highlighted my point that he picks up good positions in the box. Although his finishing can be erratic, if he keeps finding dangerous positions in the box he will get plenty of chances to score in a team like Arsenal. I am a big fan of Nik’s, he is a very useful player in this 4-3-3 formation and he may just prove to be the ‘something different’ we have been crying out for this season and lead Arsenal to the premier league title.

Player ratings:

Almunia – 6 – Had very little to do but didn’t put a foot wrong.

Sagna – 7 – Defended well against the physical Altadore.

Clichy – 8 – Thought Gael played really well in both defense and attack.

Vermaelen – 8.5 – Where would we be without this guy? Another great display for the Verminator.

Campbell – 6 – Shakey again from Sol, better in the last 30 minutes but never looked assured.

Denilson – 5 – Fall over, get up lose ball, fall over again….decent shot lead to Bendtners winner though.

Diaby – 6 – Disappointing performance, never got hold of the game.

Nasri – 6 – Looked tired and never got near his level of recent games. Subbed off.

Arshavin – 7 – Great goal, involved in most of Arsenal’s good work but missed a couple of good chances.

Eboue – 6 – Looked tired as well, not the threat he has been in recent games. Subbed off.

Bendtner – 7.5 – Not his best game but scored a vital winner.


Walcott – 7 -Made an immediate impact using his pace to create a chance.

Eduardo – 6.5 – Some neat touches and got involved in the game.


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