Two teams with two different objectives. Hull City battling for Premier League survival. Arsenal battling to win the Premier League title. So, it was no wonder that the KC Stadium on Saturday resembled a battlefield with both teams getting physical as they attempted to become victorious.
As it ended up, it was Arsenal that grabbed the vital three points to keep the pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United, but it was a close match and it took an injury time winner from Nicklas Bendtner to keep his team’s Premier League title hopes alive.
It could have so nearly been a 1-1 draw. Hull City, obviously lacking in talent against a much more gifted Arsenal side, made up for their lack of superiority by playing with a heart, passion and drive that made Arsenal work even harder for those 50/50 balls. Plus, to make matters worse for the Gunners, Hull City poured defenders back into the box to negate Arsenal’s attacks. And it almost worked.
Nearing the 90 minute mark of this game, it looked like Hull may have achieved their goal of grabbing a vital point. Arsenal continued to push forward but looked unable to break down a dogged defence. But Arsene Wenger’s side refused to give up and it was a shot that was punched away by American-born Wales goalkeeper Boaz Myhill that ultimately led to the winner when it fell into the path of Bendtner and the Danish striker knocked the rebound past Myhill to seal the vital 2-1 victory.
Arsenal supporters erupted with joy and began singing “Super, Super Nick” over and over again.
Overall, it was an entertaining game complete with plenty of controversial incidents, some bad refereeing decisions, some very good assistant referee decisions but the 2-1 result was a fair one in the end. Hull City now look dangerously close to relegation but will take a lot of positives from this game. Arsenal, meanwhile, will get a boost from this win. This was a game that Arsenal would have drawn in the past, but they have that extra edge now that reminds me of the killer instinct that Manchester United has when they finish teams off with last minute winners to grab all three points.
Next step for Arsenal is a home game next Saturday against any team in relegation trouble, West Ham United.
Photo credit: Kassch