The Gunners eased to a 3-1 win over Hull City
Arsenal ensured they would be in the Champions League next season after an impressive 3-1 win over Premier League strugglers Hull City at the KC Stadium last night.
The Gunners went into the game knowing that victory would secure another top-four finish and another season above local-rivals Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Hull knew that their Premier League survival hung in the balance after teams around them won at the weekend.
Both teams went into the game unchanged and with Hull coming off a 1-0 home win against Liverpool, there was reason to be hopeful for Steve Bruce‘s men, who sat just one point above the drop zone after Saturday’s games.
However, it was the red-hot Arsenal that strolled their way to three points thanks to a superb first-half display which saw them take a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey.
After a quiet and cagey opening 20-minutes, the deadlock was broken just shy of the half-four mark when Alexis won a free-kick just outside the box after being brought down by Jake Livermore.
The Chilean picked himself up to take the free-kick and thanks to a deflection in the wall, the ball wrong-footed Steve Harper and found it’s way in the back of the net to give the visitors the lead.
The opening goal dampened Hull’s spirits and only boosted Arsenal’s confidence and just five minutes later, their lead was doubled thanks to Ramsey.
After a stunning ball from Santi Cazorla, Ramsey brought it down well and then after his shot took a slight deflection, the ball looped past Harper and into the net.
The game was all-but buried after Alexis rounded Harper for his second of the night after brilliant football from The Gunners as they went into the half-time interval with a three-goal lead.
Hull’s chances of a comeback got a little easier just before the hour mark after Stephen Quinn found himself unmarked in the box to head home past David Ospina, but in truth, it was only going to be more goals from Arsenal if anything.
Chances fell for the visitors to extend their lead but they couldn’t add to their first-half tally, but the three points sent them joint level with Manchester City in second and with a game in hand.
As for Hull, they are one place and one point above the drop zone, but have played one game more than Sunderland. However, The Black Cats‘ game in hand is at the Emirates Stadium.
After the game, both managers gave their reaction to the match and both were impressed by the nature of Arsenal’s display.
Hull City boss Steve Bruce, speaking to Sky Sports: “When you are trying to chase with the quality Arsenal have it is there for everyone to see. It was one of those really difficult evening and thankfully we stuck at it, which was pleasing, and we have a big game at the weekend [against Burnley].
“We wanted to make sure in the second half it was not one of those horrible evenings. You are torn, you want to chase the game but then again you don’t want to leave yourself wide open. We gave ourselves a chance with the goal but we played against a very, very good side and found it difficult.
“We have to respond, they have been used to that over the last couple of years but we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for the weekend and the next few games because we are still in there with a shout.
“It [the Burnley game] is not going to keep us up or send us down because there are still two games after that. We still have it all to do and it is a big game, we are aware of that. A result will be good.”
Arsene Wenger on BBC Sport: “We created some good moments today, overall I could see a good mix between focus, fluency and confidence – and with the technical qualities we have we created some good moments.
“It is all about finishing second for us, step by step, I believe now we are certain to make the top four and now it is about finishing second but even more so to keep the quality high and concentrate on the next game.
“Being in the cup final helps us to keep our concentration but I feel we have made progress and we want to continue to develop as a team. Jack Wilshere returned and had a good game in his 25 minutes so that is a big positive. Aaron Ramsey got a big kick and that is swollen but it should not be too bad.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles