Friday 15 December 2017

Arsenal too strong for tame Tigers

It’s Hull 0 London 4 as Gunners cruise into last-eight clash with Watford

Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal. Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recin
Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal. Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recin

Unlike the Housemartins' iconic 1986 album 'London 0 Hull 4,' Arsenal managed a complete reversal of that scoreline as they cruised through their FA Cup fifth round replay at the KC Stadium last night.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, despite a banner in the Arsenal fans' section which read 'Arsene, thanks for the memories but it's time to say goodbye' was relieved that his side booked their place in the quarter-finals, where they will face Watford at home on Sunday. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott netted braces as Arsenal eased through, and Wenger is not too worried about injuries suffered by defensive duo Per Mertesacker and Gabriel - but admits he is concerned about Aaron Ramsey's condition.

While Mertesacker suffered concussion in a clash of heads with Nick Powell and Gabriel was withdrawn following an aerial challenge, Ramsey lasted just 19 minutes as Gabriel's replacement - the Welsh midfielder limped off to give Wenger more cause for concern ahead of a Champions League meeting with Barcelona and a tricky Premier League run-in. Wenger said: "It was a shock as we lost our two centre-backs in the game and then we lost Aaron Ramsey.

"Mertesacker is not serious, just a little concussion, and I think Gabriel looks all right but for Ramsey I am little bit more concerned.

"It's a thigh injury... but apart from that we have played well."

Cup holders Arsenal must now face Watford in the quarter-finals.

Wenger added: "They are a good side and it will be a very interesting tie. We play at home on Sunday now so we have some days to prepare. Let's see if we can recover one or two injuries and keep playing the way we played."

Giroud's first goals since January 13 were key to this victory, with the France striker hitting a brace the day after his partner gave birth to a baby boy.

The 29-year-old gleefully steered home a wayward David Meyler pass late in the first half and then fired home a cross from Walcott, who added gloss to the scoreline by turning home coolly and then fizzing past Eldin Jakupovic late on. Ireland midfielder Meyler decided to direct the ball back to goalkeeper Jakupovic - a poor decision capitalised on by Giroud, rolling a right-footed shot past Hull's back-up goalkeeper.

It left Jakupovic - man of the match as the sides drew 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium - without much hope, as did the Kieran Gibbs effort that quickly followed, rattling the crossbar from 30 yards.

Alex Bruce came close with a header before half-time, but Arsenal returned from the break strongly and Jakupovic needed to be at his best to tip over a dipping Mohamed Elneny volley, but he could do nothing about Walkcott's brace.

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