Online Exclusive

December 5, 2013 9:51 AM

80 0

Online Exclusive

The first shock of the evening was the announcement that Nicklas Bendtner would start up front, as the manager gambled on rotation to give Olivier Giroud a necessary break. There was a thought yesterday that he might play Theo Walcott in the position, although the selection of Bendtner, who has struggled when played there this season, indicates that perhaps, he does not see Walcott as a realistic option after his spell in the role last season.

As it turned out, Bendtner confounded his critics with a goal taken so early, a good portion of the crowd were not even in their seats to witness it. A quality cross was whipped in from Carl Jenkinson – another change from Saturday – and Bendtner demonstrated he has not forgotten how to plant a head on the ball with the goal in front of him. It was unfortunate that they did not play to his strengths for the rest of his time on the pitch, as the on the floor football is not his forte.

The other fresh faces in the starting line-up were Rosicky and Flamini. It does appear that if enough midfield players are fit, the manager is likely to choose Ramsey plus one of Flamini or Arteta. It will be intriguing to see who starts in the trio of upcoming matches against Everton, Napoli and Manchester City.

As for the game itself, Hull were very poor. Arsenal did, over the 90 minutes, certainly allow them the opportunity to make a game of it, but this was far outweighed by the number of chances they created themselves, many of which seemed to fall to Laurent Koscielny. When Ozil scored soon after the interval, it was again so early that a good number of fans had not got into their seats with their half time food and drink. I bet there were probably about 1,000 people who attended the match and saw neither goal. The goal realistically put the game to bed.

In truth, it was the kind of game that is quickly forgotten. Bendtner scoring will be the main memory. A lot of it was played at training ground pace, with a thought that maybe the side were pacing themselves for the tricky three fixtures that begin with Everton on Sunday. I think it’s safe to say Roberto Martinez’ side will provide a sterner test, having suffered a sole defeat so far this season and winning at Old Trafford last night.

Arsenal did enough to take the points, and not much more, which is fair enough. You can’t argue with the table. Hull did not take too many risks in chasing the game, so the floodgates never opened to assist the goal difference column. Giroud only stretched his legs on the sideline and will surely start the next three, I am uncertain if Sagna will be fit, but I would say he is definitely needed. Jenkinson is full of commitment, but the defence does look weaker when he plays. Cazorla is beginning to hit the kind of form we know he is capable of after missing a few weeks through injury.

So a decent enough evening’s work in a game shaped by the early goal. I am sure Hull would have played for a draw but for that, so it prevented an evening of greater tension, and perhaps an element of frustration. And sometimes, given the bigger picture, it is good to do just enough.

The new issue of The Gooner will be on sale at the home matches against Everton, Chelsea and Cardiff and can be bought online here.


The Gooner is also available in digital form, through The Gooner App on iPhones and iPads, the Exactly App for Android devices and now Kindle Fire owners can also get their fix by searching the Amazon App Store for The Gooner.

You can also subscribe at and read it through your internet browser as well as receiving a code which will enable you to access issues on all the above devices.

All digital subscriptions include access to our digital back issue library which dates back to August 2010.


To category page