Arsenal vs Hull City: 2-1, full-time report and player ratings – WILLIAM!!
Written by Chris on March 18, 2009 10:30
A month ago, such a match would have never ended with Arsenal as the winners but as I’ve said last weekend, things are starting to change and to the better, of course. The hero of the day is William Gallas who many wanted out, many still want out, but ultimately, he’s always there to nick that ball in and save blushes, just like a true professional.
Many will say this was not the best of performances from the Arsenal but I don’t think so. We’ve witnessed eleven players giving it all from the first to the last minute, something which let’s face it, we didn’t witness a lot this season. As the match progressed, I knew that all we needed to book our place in the semi-final was a little bit of luck, which we got, but it’s also been down to the great heart of the lads who didn’t give up.
Credit to Hull City, who performed much better than expected. Papers were saying they will not be focused as their focus is on the Premiership survival. Well, the papers were wrong. The second half started with Abou Diaby having a glorious chance but failed to hit the target with his head. In the 54th minute, an Arshavin corner is met in the air by van Persie whose effort is cleared off the line in the Song zone with the Cameroon International doing well to turn and shoot but his effort goes wide.
In the 70th minute, another Arshavin corner and more drama as van Persie again meets the ball in the air and rattles the crossbar. The deadlock was broken five minutes later. Bendtner – in for Vela – does mighty well to power his way into the penalty area, finds Arshavin who unselfishly sets up the Dutchman for the equaliser. Great team work and game on!
The equaliser did however see the backline lose concentration and Geovanni almost took advantage of mistakes from Djourou and Fabianski but luckily, he can only sidenet. Arsenal were back in the attacking zone minutes later with Arshavin picking Gibbs in the penalty area but the youngster failed to take advantage from close range. Three minutes later, it was 2-1. A long free-kick is played into the area with the ball breaking to Gallas who raises high and heads into the empty net with the Hull players asking for an offside position, which maybe, was there.
The last minutes of the half saw the Gunners keeping their cool although we did have a couple of chances with Bendtner and Eboue to find a third but both were unlucky in their efforts. Hull didn’t do much to put pressure on us during the last minutes and we reach the F.A. Cup semi-finals where Chelsea are now waiting.
I repeat, it’s been a very good performance against a very good Hull City side. This Arsenal side is slowly finding the form which may indeed see us lift one or more trophies at the end of the season. I was surprised to see Song substituted as he’s been superb in midfield but I’m sure he’ll have plenty of other chances. Disappointed with Djourou who lost his concentration in more than one occassion and Vela, although in the first half all the forward line has been disappointing.
Fabianski: 6 – Some very dangerous tricks outside the penalty area and not the best of positions in a number of occassions.
Gibbs: 6,5 – Clearly, he still needs to improve on the defending side but when pushing forward, he’s such an asset!
Sagna: 7 – Back to his best. Many – including myself – thought he needed a rest, but it seems we were wrong.
Djourou: 5,5 – A very shaky start and loss in concentration after the equaliser which could have cost us dearly.
Gallas: 8 – A wall at the back and the match winner.
Song: 7 – He was excellent in midfield, was disappointed to see him go.
Diaby: 6 – Can we say so-and-so? He went from missing an easy pass to stop opponents bravely to miss another pass. Needs to find consistency.
Arshavin: 7,5 – He’s becoming more and more a crucial piece in the Arsenal midfield – can pick a pass, can shoot, can dribble. Magician.
Walcott: 6 – Still way off the best form but he’s just recovered from injury.
Van Persie: 6,5 – Was very disappointing in the first half as was more busy in arguing but recovered really well in the second with some nice headers … and the goal.
Vela: 5 – A lot running but should not shy away from physical challenges. Could learn a thing or two from Wilshere in that area.
Nasri: 6,5 – Did what we does best to perfection – keeping the ball and helping his team-mates find space.
Eboue: 6 – Not much but went close to score.
Bendtner: 6,5 – Another fine performance. May have again failed to take a couple of chances, but his strong physical presence is just what we needed today.