Posts Tagged arsenal

Hull City 1 Arsenal 2

Message to Arsenal by Hull City supporters

Note to Arsenal - no diving, no stamping, no spitting and no hoodies.

Ouch. Even writing the scoreline is like a dagger through the heart. This was not an unexpected defeat but it was a cruel one nevertheless. It leaves City essentially four points adrift from safety but hopefully with a welcome injection of confidence that has ebbed away after successive spankings at West Ham and Everton.

City reverted to the 4-4-2 system which has served them well in home games, but early on looked stretched in the middle with Craig Fagan and Dean Marney on the wings rarely getting involved in play. In fact we looked overwhelmed in midfield and unable to close them down quickly enough, leaving Andrei Arshavin loose to fire the Gooners into an early lead.

It was looking like a real hiding was in the offing, but against the grain Marney looped a superb ball over the Gooners’ defence for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. He had the simplest of chances six yards out but Sol Campbell dragged him to the floor before he could shoot. Referee Andre Marinner couldn’t avoid awarding a penalty but unfathomably bottled sending off the former Notts County player.

Jimmy Bullard tucked the spot kick into the top corner to make it 1-1 and the equaliser instilled belief in the players and the fans that we could take a point or three from this game. That optimism remained right until the referee located his red card and sent off George Boateng – rightly so by all accounts – and we were down to 10 men from the 44th minute to the 100th.

Early in the half, another City disaster as Kamil Zayatte was worryingly stretchered off, adding to our selection problems at centre-back, though Liam Cooper is fit again to stop us needing to recall Ibrahima Sonko or playing Zinedine Kilbane out of position (though what his proper position is, I haven’t a clue).

A combination of comedic Arsenal shooting and stout City defending prevented the visitors from even having a second half shot on target until the 89th minute, though several ballooned 80 yards over the bar. One from Arshavin is believed to still be in orbit.

There followed the board going up to indicate six minutes of injury time, two minutes into which a desperate long-range Arsenal effort was feebly patted down by Boaz Myhil and their striker made no mistake from the open goal.

Added to the own goal winner he scored for Blackburn Rovers , the very saveable two goals that went past him against Bolton, and the bad mistake which led to Everton’s crucial third goal last week, it’s not been an impressive few months for Bo since he salvaged a point at Spurs with a heroic performance.

On the way home, I heard various Arsenal fans label City a dirty side and part of the conspiracy that’s out to injure all their players. But aside from Boateng’s recklessness, I didn’t see any evidence of that – in fact the horrible challenge that saw Zayatte leave on a stretcher was the only one that had me wincing. Remember that, in the league table of the Premier League teams who are fouled the most, Arsenal are apparently only second – it’s Hull City who are on the receiving end more than anyone.

Listening to the radio, Arsene Wenger had amazingly actually seen the penalty incident and gave a fair and honest assessment of his initial reaction and then how this had changed upon watching replays.

Shame the travelling Arsenal fans – who took a collective vow of silence from the moment our equaliser went in until their last-gasp winner – couldn’t show as much class as their manager, as they cheered and waved goodbye to Zayatte as he was carried off.

City fans, who earlier had warmly applauded a Gooner song about Aaron Ramsey, retaliated to their heartlessness with a rendition of ‘There’s only one Ryan Shawcross’, the Stoke hothead who crocked Ramsey.

It’s clear Arsenal fans want it both ways – they’re disgusted at anyone fouling one of their players, but when it happens to a player for another team they revel in it.

For City, taking anything from this game was always a longshot. The real action now switches to Portsmouth next Saturday. Be there if you can.

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Empty seats: They’re here, they’re there, but does anyone care

So I guess you enjoyed watching Hull City putting Arsenal on the ropes for 44 minutes at Ashburton Grove last month, and threatening to repeat last season’s stunning win?

I wish I could say the same, only there was no bum on my seat – nor of thousands of others around the ground – until the second half kicked off.

Due to a crash, for over two hours before the kick-off the traffic on the M1 moved slower than Mark Hateley doped to the eyeballs on Mogadon.

Me and two travelling companions sat stewing in the jam as the radio commentator estimated, perhaps exaggerating, that a third of the stadium hadn’t arrived by kick-off; we heard of plenty of City fans who just gave up on the queue and headed home; and even radio summariser Graham Taylor didn’t make it until an hour into the game.

I’m sure you get the idea – the game was played in front of a vastly reduced crowd due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

So when exactly did games stop being delayed in such instances? I’ve been at games in the basement division that were put back 15 minutes because a few hundred fans were still coming through the turnstiles.

At Arsenal, we were probably talking 10,000 people missing the opening stages of a game they’ve paid £40 or more to watch.

And the reason we all missed out? Presumably so the match doesn’t over-run into crown green bowls or wakeboarding or whatever else features on obscure satellite sports channel’s schedules.

For me, rearranging fixtures to bizarre kick-off times on Sunday mornings or Monday nights is dispiriting enough. Not caring if thousands of paying punters miss the game, however, is an even more depressing sign that fans don’t matter.

It was all almost as woeful as Geovanni’s penalty in the second half.

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Hull City are already virtually safe from relegation

Well, according to former referee Jeff Winter, who has been compiling the League of Injustice of all the wrong decisions made by refs which have affected the result of Premier League games.

His latest update from last Tuesday has us at 38 points, nine clear of the bottom three of Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion.

Presumably he will add an extra point for the Sunderland goal which never was this week too.

Though of course, we may not have been playing in the league this weekend anyway if Arsenal’s offside winner in the FA Cup quarter-final had been ruled out.

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