ESPNSoccernet: Arsenal moved back into third place in the Barclays Premier League with a comfortable victory over relegation-threatened Hull at the Emirates Stadium.
Telegraph: Arsenal moved back to third place with a functional victory over Hull City that went a long way to erasing the sour memories of their controversial defeat by the Tigers at the Emirates last year.
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Arsenalist has all the video that counts, including Nasri’s yellow card love tap which caused Hull’s players to bring out the handbags.
Quote of the Day
Denilson is not a free kick specialist. I was quite surprised, he was not specially named because it was Nasri who was going to take it and he took it well. I thought first he wanted to cross the ball but he scored. It changed the game. — Arsene Wenger
There’s a little bit of talk right now about the incident mentioned above, mostly being overshadowed by Mark Hughes’ firing and “Wengergate” but there’s some talk none-the-less. Talk which I suspect will be re-dredged when we go to Hull later in the season. But before this whole incident gets blown out of proportion I’d like to point out a few things.
First, the values in English football are completely screwed up if there are people who are saying that “Nasri was lucky not to be sent off.” For what? For a cheap little foul? Yeah, it’s poor sportsmanship, I suppose, but a little kick on the foot is not a straight red card, ever. Besides which, where’s the outrage at Stephen Hunt, who has already maimed one keeper in his career, and who yesterday tried twice to maim Mooney? Not one cheap little foul but two full on barging into the keeper and then yelling at Almunia as if it was his fault. Seems to me like a little kick on the foot is a lot less dangerous than, say, kneeing a keeper in the head and effectively ending his career. I dunno, maybe it’s one of those English things I don’t get like how they spell color with a “u.”
Second, and I’ve said this many times before but for my money players who get a little touch and then go down as if they’ve had a career ending injury are cheating. Garcia was not injured, he was trying to con the referee and it is cheating. And yes, I’ve called out Arsenal players for this.
Third, and finally, Steve Bennett was never going to have an easy job refereeing that match but he made life very difficult for himself by not taking control of the match early on. He could have done it easily too, Stephen Hunt was involved in several dangerous plays right away one yellow card to each side would have calmed things down considerably. But instead he let Hull get chippy (it’s all they’ve got after all) and the match got away from him. It’s but one of the catalog of nightmares Steve Bennett had last night.
Man of the Match
You could have your pick. Nasri’s shift was absolutely brilliant and everything good that happened in the first half went through him. Almunia’s save was crucial and more importantly after the save he looked like the keeper we’ve needed: he was strong in the challenge, won crosses, and distributed OK (though he still lumped the ball up to Arshavin inexplicably). Song was having a tough first half but then he started getting stuck in and was instrumental in keeping the clean sheet and in getting the attack started. Vermaelen was outstanding, as usual.
But for me, Man of the Match has to be down to either Denilson or Diaby. Denilson is seen by many as the replacement for Cesc and I can see some of that: he’s not quite the same kind of midfielder, he doesn’t create time and space like Jesus can, but on his day he is a solid midfielder who makes a lot of the right passes and has a scoring touch that pretty much no one in this side has at the moment. All of his goals this season have been brilliant and the fact is that he is the first Arsenal player to score from a free kick since van Persie did it… last season! It was a critically important goal as well, breaking the back of Hull just at the moment where they might have felt like they were getting under Arsenal’s skin.
But Diaby was the Man of the Match just by an edge because he was the player who surged forward and got Eduardo his goal to put Arsenal up 2-0 and just when Hull had some hope of maybe getting that all important 2-1 goal, killed their game off with a thunderbolt to put Arsenal up 3-0. He was also strong in the midfield, shielding the defense when needed, in fact, if there was ever a game where I thought he reminded me of Patrick Vieira, it was yesterday. High praise, I know, and he was only shades of Vieira, but still it was shades enough to win him MotM.
Clean sheet, Almunia seems to have some mojo back, and we vanquished one of the most despicable teams in the EPL with aplomb, after a hard week of games. As for those games, Arsenal took 7 points from two tough away trips and a fiery home match against a team who pride themselves on “getting up our noses.” Even better, we got the 7 points when Man U slipped up leaving us just 2 points off second place with a game in hand, at home, to Notlob. I’d say the boys have done exceptionally well and deserve the 8 day’s rest before they host a hungry Villa side on the 27th.
What could Phil Brown possibly complain about after this match? He got a handshake, though I’d have rather that Wenger pull a “sike” on him or just plain diss him in general. His side were awarded the most dubious penalty I’ve ever seen, then they encroached after it was saved. Stephen Hunt could have been sent off for a dozen different infractions but wasn’t. And his team were comprehensively outplayed by a clearly superior Arsenal side. What could he possibly complain about?
God, this man moans like a drain doesn’t he?
There Will Be Blood
Mark Hughes was given the wealth of the Pharaohs and what did he do? Signed Robinho who immediately started talking about going back to Spain. Tried to sign Kaka, who rejected him outright. Signed Bellamy who is a damn good player but is a ticking time bomb. Signed Gareth Barry so he could pursue his dream of playing for a different mid-level club. Signed Tevez which was as obvious a signing as you can imagine. Tried to tap up Toure who showed true class to stay until the end of the season for Arsenal. Signed Adebayor, who to be fair, is just a huge prick. And tapped up Lescott while getting rid of stalwart defender and City lover, Richard Dunne. He’s created such a disastrous squad that Mancini is doomed to failure until he blows that team apart and starts all over.
None of which touches on the downright awful manner in which he has treated fellow managers like Moyes and Wenger. He has treated them with contempt, disdain, and at times has variously lied, manufactured outrage, and trumped up false charges to deflect away from the fact that at best he’s a mediocre manager and at worst he’s a charlatan.
No, Mark Hughes will never manage again and rightly so. Given the money he plunged into Manchester City and the results he’s garnered over the last 18 months Mark Hughes has been exposed. He’s got thee tactical nous of Sam Allardyce, the training regimen of Hull, and half the scouting ability of some teenager with a copy of Football Manager.
Actually I take it back, maybe he’ll take over for Sven when he quits Notts County. Until then I fully expect him to be Match of the Day commentator and Sky Sports pundit and continue his distinguished career as the worst mind in football history.