Who would have expected Hull City — tipped by many for relegation, myself included — to go to the Emirates Stadium and pull off one of the shocks of the season against the mighty Arsenal?
Every player on the Hull City side yesterday deserves a massive round of applause for the way they played in their shock 2-1 win over the Gunners.
This was no fluke. Far from it.
Hull defended valiantly, putting so many of their players behind the ball and breaking out on counterattacks whenever the opportunities arose. By flooding so much of their penalty area with defenders, Hull forced Arsenal to play wide. Hull was then easily able to defend the crosses coming in from the left and right wings and then knock the ball to safety.
Sure, this wasn’t a performance from Arsenal that we typically expect to see, but part of that has to be directed at Hull who prevented Wenger’s side from playing the type of game they thrive on. Theo Walcott for Arsenal had a poor game and looked very much like the player of last season instead of this season — spending too much time on the ball and being slow to react.
Going back to Hull, the players that generated such a herculean performance deserve to be mentioned, all 11 of them:
The two goals scored by Hull were world-class. Geovanni’s 25 yard shot into the top corner is one of the goals of the season thus far, while Daniel Cousin’s header was wonderfully taken after a great leap.
While Hull’s goals were spectacular, the overall way they played against Arsenal wasn’t pretty by defending deep. But to play against Arsenal, this is exactly the type of performance that’s necessary that prevents the Gunners from playing their beautiful brand of football.
Incredibly, Hull City now sits in sixth place in the league with eleven points, which is exactly the same number of points that Derby County achieved during the entire 2007/2008 season. Hull have already beaten Arsenal, Newcastle and Fulham, and have drawn Everton and Blackburn.
Where Hull goes from here, no one knows. But what we have seen is a wonderful performance that just goes to show that if teams play with heart and confidence that even the lesser sides can overcame the giants. And this is exactly what the Premier League needs. Predictability? The Big Four? You’re having a laugh.
Be sure to read all of the newspaper match reports for the Premier League games throughout the season, as well as chatting live with football fans from around the world during today’s games in the EPL Talk Chat — all courtesy of EPL Talk writer and host Johnathan Starling.