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West Ham United
20 April 2014
• Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 24762
A. Ramsey 31'
L. Podolski 45', 54'
FULL-TIME: Hull City 0-3 Arsenal. The Gunners secure the three points on Humberside in style to cap a fine week and boost their chances of a fourth-placed finish after sweeping aside the hosts in a dress rehearsal ahead of next month's FA Cup final. Hull started brightly but faded when the returning Aaron Ramsey drilled home before Lukas Podolski's strike right on the stroke of half-time killed off any Tigers hopes. Podolski added a second, and his side's third, to leave Arsenal - at least temporarily - four points clear of Everton in the race for fourth. Hull will need to play much better than they fared at the KC to stand any chance of extending Arsenal's trophyless spell into a decade at Wembley.
90' + 2'
Another poor finish more or less ensures Arsenal will have to settle for just the three goals this afternoon as Sagna's industry down the right presents a chance for Flamini, but the midfielder's shot is hurried and flies wide of the target.
AIR SHOT! Another crisp passing move eventually ends in a rather scrappy result as the ball gets fed through to Sanogo, but the substitute loses his cool in front of goal and swipes at thin air, with Harper happy to claim the loose ball he had left behind.
Hull threaten a consolation as Fryatt peels away on the right wing but his low cross is well dealt with by Mertesacker, who was perfectly stationed to see off the danger in the middle.
SAVE! A slack pass in midfield leads to an incisive Hull forward move, with Fryatt the man in the most advanced position. The striker lets rip with a low, stinging strike but Szczesny is more than equal to it.
A change apiece on both sides as Arsenal introduce Yaya Sanogo for Podolski which will mean no hat-trick for the in-form German this afternoon. Hull, meanwhile, bring on Robert Koren for Rosenior, who has a bloodied shirt.
The pace of the game has detectably dropped, with Hull looking like a side focused on their upcoming matches, while Arsenal seem content with just the three goals for their afternoon's work.
HOWITZER! Huddlestone lets off a powerful drive towards goal which appears to take a slight nick and forces a good save in the end from Szczesny, who had to adjust his feet at the last.
PENALTY?! It looks like Arsenal may have been denied a second possible spot-kick as Oxlade-Chamberlain is swiped down by Davies after staying up initially under a Rosenior challenge. Nevertheless, Ramsey does not wait for the whistle and fires a low effort in on goal, which Harper deals well with.
ROOF OF THE NET! Cazorla, with the Arsenal fans chanting his name behind the Hull goal, delivers a free-kick with pace from the left flank and is able to locate Mertesacker's near-post run, but the German can only flick his header onto the roof of the net, with Harper looking beaten.
Cazorla shows immaculate close control to keep Mertesacker's drilled pass close to his feet before Wenger makes his second change, with Oxlade-Chamberlain entering the fray for a tiring Giroud.
Bruce looks to avoid any further damage by introducing Stephen Quinn for the largely ineffectual Jelavic and Arsenal continue their procession towards the final whistle.
Arsenal keep the ball for a prolonged passage of play before Cazorla clips a ball into the left channel for Monreal on the overlap. The Spaniard picks his head up and delivers a clever cross to the near post, but Rosenior beats Giroud to the ball.
Arsenal spraying the ball around with ease and Hull look visibly exhausted by some of the intricate interchanges as the Gunners begin to strut their stuff.
Tom Huddlestone, who has played only a peripheral role in this contest goes straight through the back of Ramsey and the Gunners win a free-kick in a central area.
WHAT A MISS! A sloppy backpass from James Chester to Harper lands slightly short and Giroud manages to nip in and charge down the keeper's clearance. Remarkably, though, the Frenchman somehow arrowed his strike straight at the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Arsenal find some space down the left with Podolski darting down the flank but his cut-back fails to find a red shirt and Hull clear. Mathieu Flamini comes on for the returning Ozil, who has been excellent this afternoon.
Jelavic works some shooting space just inside the 18-yard box but his effort deflects away off a cluster of Arsenal defenders, with the Gunners seemingly intent on keeping a clean sheet here.
Hull waste an opportunity to test the visitors' rearguard as Elmohamady's ball eludes a host of attackers in and around the penalty area and only finds Mertesacker, who clears without any difficulty.
Arsenal are starting to enjoy themselves now, with Cazorla spreading the play to the far side with a sumptuous pass and they will look to boost their goal difference now, with Hull struggling to string a succession of passes together after that third goal.
Goal Lukas Podolski
GOAL! Lukas Podolski grabs his second and Arsenal's third to surely put the game beyond the reach of Hull. It's another well-worked move from Arsenal but it's poor defending from Hull too, as the Gunners close in on an important win in their Champions League chase. The German profited after Ramsey had fired Cazorla's cut-back straight at Harper, who fumbled straight towards Podolski. The winger-cum-striker made no mistake from six yards out.
Ironic cheers around the KC as Arteta is penalised harshly for a trip on Meyler after his first-half challenge on Jelavic went unpunished in the build-up to his side's second. Sagna had given possession away sloppily beforehand and Arsenal must ensure they do not let their foot slip off the gas now.
Liam Rosenior skips down the left and evades some half-hearted Arsenal challenges before crossing but Monreal, to his credit, is alive to head away the danger.
Hull almost grab a crucial goal at the start of the second half as the Arsenal backline falls asleep and allows substitute Fryatt to nip in at the far post. Sagna does just enough to put him off his stride, however, and his feeble header is cleared by Koscielny.
We are back underway here at the KC, with Hull City getting us up and running once more. There has been one change during the interval, with Tigers boss Steve Bruce bringing on Matty Fryatt, somewhat surprisingly for the lively Long.
HALF-TIME: Hull City 0-2 Arsenal. The scoreline may portray Arsenal as being in cruise control at the KC, but the first half has been anything but a stroll for the Gunners. Hull, who hit the post through Livermore, have posed numerous problems to a nervy-looking backline but Wenger's side have been clinical in the final third, with Ramsey and Podolski finishing off flowing team moves with emphatic finishes to establish what could be a crucial two-goal advantage.
45' + 2'
Arsenal could, and maybe should, have had a third here as Giroud blazes wildly over following another incisive move. Cazorla dinks the ball to the far post and finds the Frenchman but, with players over at the far post, he went for the spectacular and volleyed high over the bar.
Assist Aaron Ramsey
Goal Lukas Podolski
GOAL! Podolski doubles Arsenal's advantage with a stunning strike as the Gunners hit their hosts on the counter in devastating fashion. Hull are furious, with Arteta appearing to haul down Jelavic but referee Moss lets the play continue and Giroud leads the charge down the right. The Frenchman checks back and finds Ramsey with a clipped cross which is nodded down for the onrushing Podolski who lashes home with a searing volley into the bottom corner. A huge goal.
CHANCE! Long gets ahead of his marker to steal in at the near post and head yet another right-wing centre just over the crossbar. Hull have certainly had enough chances to find an equaliser here.
Harper is forced into two hurried clearances as, first, Sagna chases down a lost cause and forces the veteran to hack clear before Curtis Davies' short back-pass interests Giroud but the goalkeeper deals with the situation well under pressure.
A wonderful piece of play from Ozil almost sets Giroud free but his run is brought to an abrupt halt by Elmohamady's crude challenge. It presents the Gunners with a free-kick right on the edge but Ramsey wastes it, firing straight into the wall.
Szczesny is indebted to some wonderful defending from Bacary Sagna, who forces Boyd off balance when the midfielder looked likely to nod the ball home. The Arsenal goalkeeper had initially come for a cross and punched clear but when it was loaded back into the box by Elmohamady, the Pole was caught in no man's land, with Sagna coming to his rescue at the last.
POST! Hull come within a whisker of drawing level as Jake Livermore unleashes a ferocious drive which comes cannoning back off the face of the post with Szczesny easily beaten.
Arsenal are beginning to dictate the flow of this game and now have the game where they want it, with the Tigers forced to come out and open up gaps on the counter.
Assist Santi Cazorla
Goal Aaron Ramsey
GOAL! Arsenal have the lead, largely against the run of play it must be said, but Ramsey is back with a bang to give the Gunners a crucial advantage. Ozil's astute pass found Cazorla on the edge of the area and the Spaniard fed through Ramsey, who drilled past the stunned Harper. A great goal from the Gunners.
Arsenal look to hit their hosts on the counter but Podolski is outmuscled by Elmohamady comprehensively when the German was left clear on the left.
A short stoppage in play as George Boyd, who goes down after an aerial challenge with Mertesacker and clutches his nose. The midfielder, though, is soon back on the field.
Hull are getting into some good positions out wide and have delivered some testing crosses for Szczesny, but the Pole is dealing well with everything thrown at him so far.
CLOSE! Long is having an increasingly influential role on proceedings here and twice threatens the Arsenal goal in quick succession with his first cross sailing out of play before rifling just over the bar from a tight angle.
Hull keep piling the pressure on Arsenal, who have no outlet in the absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It will be interesting to see how long Wenger leaves him on the bench.
CHANCE! Arsenal manage to get between the Hull defensive and midfield lines and Ramsey does brilliantly to slip in Podolski. The German cuts inside his marker onto his less-favoured right foot but his shot is too close to Steve Harper in the Hull goal.
David Meyler enters Moss' notebook for a firm tackle on Monreal which was slightly late and leaves the Spaniard in a heap on the turf. Both teams have shown plenty of commitment in the tackle so far.
Yellow Card David Meyler
CHANCE! Mertesacker falls asleep at the free-kick and allows Jelavic to drift off him into a left-sided position, where he fires an angled effort towards the corner, but Szczesny gets down smartly to tip wide.
Yellow Card Per Mertesacker
Arsenal sloppy in possession early on here and inviting pressure on their goal. Per Mertesacker enters the book for a rash challenge on Jelavic after Arteta had gone down after a committed tackle from Long.
PENALTY?! Hull look to have got away with an Arsenal penalty shout here, with Ozil going down under pressure from Elmohamady. The replays suggest the Hull man certainly clipped the back of the returning German's legs.
Arsenal look slightly nervy in the early stages, with the home side refusing to let them settle in possession and gain any sort of rhythm. Monreal finds Lukas Podolski down the left, but the move eventually breaks down before Szczesny has to be alert to get to the ball ahead of Long.
A scare for Arsenal at the back as Ahmed Elmohamady's powerful cross is nodded away from in front of Jelavic by Laurent Koscielny, before Wojciech Szczesny is able to claim the loose ball.
The ball loops up into the central of midfield and leads to a 50/50 between Mikel Arteta and Tom Huddlestone with the Spaniard going down under the Hull man's high foot. We have a temporary stoppage, meanwhile, as the advertising hoardings fly onto the pitch after a gust on wind. Only in Hull...
Ozil gets involved in the action quickly and releases Ramsey, who has made a surge from midfield. The Welshman's flick, however, finds an offside Olivier Giroud, who is duly flagged by the linesman.
Arsenal get the ball rolling as referee Jonathan Moss blows the whistle. We are underway at the KC!
We are just moments away from kick off at the KC Stadium here so stick around for the latest updates as we get underway here.
The Gunners have only won once on the road in their last six in the league but have beaten Hull on five consecutive occasions since a shock 2-1 defeat at home to the Humberside outfit upon their first-ever stint in the Premier League in 2008.
The strikers' absences in the final could be a huge blow to the Tigers' chances at Wembley so Bruce will be hoping to capitalise today to get the one win that is probably required to ensure safety.
Wenger can take confidence from Hull's hard-fought win over the Blades, who managed to breach their more illustrious opponents' defence on three occasions in the 5-3 thriller. Equally, though, the Frenchman will have warned his defence to be aware of the threats of Jelavic and Long, who have their own FA Cup final this afternoon.
The win over West Ham, which saw them move back above Everton, puts them firmly in the driving seat for Champions League football once more, particularly after the Toffees' shock defeat at home to Crystal Palace a day later.
In 2003, Arsenal thrashed Southampton 6-1 in the league before securing a 1-0 success when the two clubs met again at the Millenium Stadium and it is a trend Wenger will hope to repeat once more as his side looks to close in on a fourth-placed finish and a first trophy in nine years.
The Gunners, of course, won the double in 1998 - when a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the league was enough to send the Tyneside outfit into a negative run of form, which culminated in a defeat by the same scoreline in the Wembley showpiece.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable statistics of the Premier League era is this; only once has the winner of an FA Cup dress rehearsal not gone on to lift the cup in the subsequent meeting, and that was Manchester City last year in their shock defeat to Wigan. Arsenal certainly have previous when it comes to winning in both competitions.
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, is able to restore Mesut Ozil to the lineup after his prolonged absence with a hamstring injury, while Aaron Ramsey also starts after his cameo against the Hammers in midweek. The Gunners' third change is to bring in Nacho Monreal for Thomas Vermaelen, who has a hamstring problem of his own.
Bruce drafts in the cup-tied strike duo of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic as he goes in search of a win which would significantly boost their hopes of remaining in the top flight. Maynor Figueroa, who flopped during the win over the Blades at Wembley, drops to the bench while Yannick Sagbo is also amongst the subs.
Arsenal substitutes: Fabianski, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Kallstrom.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey; Ozil, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud.
Hull City substitutes: Jakupovic, Figueroa, Bruce, Koren, Fryatt, Sagbo, Quinn.
Hull City: Harper; Elmohamady, Davies, Chester, Rosenior; Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler, Boyd; Long, Jelavic.
The team news is in, with Hull manager Steve Bruce making two alterations to the side that beat Sheffield United in their FA Cup semi-final last weekend, while Arsenal - who were also triumphant at Wembley - make three changes to the side which won at home to West Ham United during the week.
Good afternoon and welcome to this LIVE commentary of Hull City v Arsenal, a crucial match at both ends of the Premier League table and also providing a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final next month. My name is Tom Marshall-Bailey and I will be bringing you the latest developments from the KC Stadium.
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