Friday, 17 October 2014

Arsenal v Hull City Preview

After a two week international break it's back to real football for Arsenal and a Premier League game at home to Hull City. With only 10 points and two wins in their first seven games they need to put a good run together and move up the table. They have a run of games coming up which are winnable and Arsenal have to be ruthless and win those games.

In those first seven games Arsenal have only lost once and that was in their last outing away to Chelsea, but their four draws are what have them languishing in mid table and nine points behind Chelsea. For me Arsenal haven't been ruthless enough when they were on top and should have at least four points more at this stage. There is no doubt they should have won at home to Spurs and let a lead slip late on at home to City too.

The biggest problem defensively has been the amount of goals conceded from set pieces and it's something which has to be corrected on the training ground. It won't be easy to work on the defending at the moment though with so much change in that department due to injury and suspension. Who would have thought in the summer that Arsenal would be facing a Premier League game with Hector Bellerin at right back and Nacho Monreal at centre back. The inactivity in certain parts of the squad in the summer transfer market is now being shown up as the mistake we all thought it would be.

Needs must though and Bellerin has been drafted in with Mathieu Debuchey injured and Callum Chambers suspended. Chambers would have been the next choice at centre back too with Laurent Koscielny sidelined but he has already run up five yellow cards this season. It's an awful lot to ask of young Bellerin to play him when he isn't even listed as a first team player on the club site and Monreal is no centre back either.

There's better news in midfield as it looks like Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky will be fit to play, but Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are both definitely out. Ramsey should be back fairly soon but it looks like Ozil is out for a couple of months at least. With all of that in mind I expect to see a midfield trio of Arteta, Jack Wilshere and probably Santi Cazorla too. It should mean both Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini will be on the bench if they're required at some stage.

The attacking trio will have it's problems too, but it does look like Danny Welbeck will be fit to lead the line at least. I don't think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has got as much game time as he has deserved recently, but I would be very surprised if he didn't play from the start. The participation of Alexis Sanchez must be in doubt though after he played the full 90 minutes for Chile on Wednesday night. With the time difference in South America he wouldn't have finished playing until the early hours of Thursday and then he had to make his way back to London afterwards.

I hope Alexis is up to playing because Arsenal need their best players available to them against a Hull team who will be no pushovers as they proved in the FA Cup final last May. If Alexis is on the bench I suspect Rosicky will come in with Cazorla possibly switching to a wide role or there is always the possibility of Abou Diaby making a rare appearance. I doubt if Diaby will play but the injury situation could possibly see him come off the bench at some stage I suppose. There's always the possibility of Lukas Podolski or Joel Campbell playing too but Arsene Wenger has been tentative about using either of them and I suspect they might both be on the bench again. 

Hull have looked better in attack this season than they did last season, but their defence hasn't looked as solid to me. They gave Arsenal an almighty scare in that Cup final in May before Arsenal eventually got going and won the game in extra time. I have no doubt Hull will be looking for a little bit of payback for that day and will be ready to take advantage of any weaknesses Arsenal might show.

It was their strength at set pieces which gave them their early two goal lead and that was against an Arsenal team who were defending set pieces a lot better than they are this season. I expect them to put the ball right into the danger zone from set pieces at every single opportunity and Arsenal will have to be strong to resist them. Arsenal should have a much greater share of possession though and they will need to make that possession count.

With a midweek Champions League trip to Anderlecht, which Arsenal have to win, to come the team need to find some flow to their game. They looked promising before the Chelsea game, but all the old failings of last season showed up in that game again. At least they weren't embarrassed by Chelsea this time and it wasn't the type of performance they have to bounce back from. The inability to open the Chelsea defence up was my biggest worry from the game, but Hull are not Chelsea.

I want to see Arsenal on the front foot from the first minute to the last and putting the Hull players under pressure throughout. If they can put enough pressure on them the chances will come and hopefully they can take a few of them to win the game. Anything other than a win is unthinkable at home to a team Arsenal are far better than even with their current injury problems.

What they can't afford is to lose any more players to injury ahead of Anderlecht on Wednesday night. Surely the catalogue of injuries has to end somewhere and hopefully it will be good news on that front from here on in. 

I'm plumping for an Arsenal win by a couple of goals and I think Cazorla could be the player to inspire that victory. He hasn't played as often as he might have liked this season, but I think he has looked very good when he has played and will hopefully want to lay down a marker now that he has a chance to do so

Hopefully Arsenal won't concede the first goal as they have done in their three home league matches so far, but even if they do they have form in coming from behind against Hull. A little bit of that cup final spirit would go a long way to securing the precious three points on offer.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. it seems our back issues comes down to Szczesny in the goal those four times that we have it says he was on his best you should at least cut 10 points out of those 4 games for usthe rest its just history we need to attack shots on goal something we always lack we need to score out of the opportunities that we make in front of the goal last but not least we have to be vigilant on set pieces and don't give up corner kicks