Hull City 1 Arsenal 2: match report
The Women's Institute, it would seem, were not the only witnesses this week to a futile show of fight from Hull City. On Monday, team-mates Nicky Barmby and Jimmy Bullard were involved in a bust-up on the Humber Bridge in front of a delegation of around 80 pensioners that prompted a very public apology from manager Phil Brown. Related ArticlesPremier League actionPremier League tableTelegraph player raterPremier League fixturesSport on televisionLast night, the Hull players produced a stirring show of solidarity before eventually succumbing to an injury-time winner against Arsenal after playing more than half the match with 10 men. Bullard was also again at the centre of events, answering Andrei Arshavin's goal with a penalty before Nicklas Bendtner pounced to score a winner that lifts Arsenal above Manchester United and level on points with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table. The match, however, was partially overshadowed by a reckless tackle by George Boateng on Bacary Sagna. Brown had described the incident on the Humber Bridge as 'unsavoury' and that was also an appropriate adjective for a challenge that connected just below Sagna's knee and could easily have inflicted far more serious damage. With dangerous tackles still a particularly sensitive issue at Arsenal following Aaron Ramsey's broken leg two weeks ago, it was understandable that Arsene Wenger looked so unhappy with the incident. He will have been delighted, though, at the way Arsenal battled their way to a fifth straight victory; providing further evidence for his belief that this young team are ready to deliver this season. Brown had reacted to the 5-1 humbling against Everton by making six changes to his Hull team; the most eye-catching of which was the demotion to the bench of Barmby. Against considerable competition, the former England midfielder had been among the least effective Hull players in the Everton match but it was still difficult not to wonder if his omission was linked to the Bullard incident. With Cesc Fabregas hoping to return from his hamstring injury in next week's match against West Ham, Samir Nasri was again asked to pull the strings from central midfield and was quickly involved as Arsenal took a 14th minute lead. Nasri fed Nicklas Bendter, who instantly played the ball into the mesmerisingly quick feet of Arshavin. The Russian had been central to Tuesday's 5-0 destruction of and, with a combination of skill plus a little luck he eluded challenges from both Bernand Mendy and George Boating before shooting beyond Boaz Myhill. It was the 100th time Arsenal had scored this season in just 45 matches. The goal seemed to further pacify Hull and they were fortunate not to fall further behind before carving out an unlikely and controversial equaliser. Dean Marney had flicked a Bullard cross into the path of Jan Vennegor of Hesselink and, although the Dutchman was certainly offside, he was also bundled to the floor by Sol Campbell. Having chosen to punish only Campbell by awarding a penalty, referee Andre Marriner was then lenient in simply booking the former England defender. Even so, Bullard's penalty was emphatic and Hull were unexpectedly level again. Arsenal then had two penalty appeals of their own waved away when Bendtner claimed that he had been impeded by Mendy and Gael Clichy went to ground under pressure from Boateng. The last two matches between these teams had ended with FA disciplinary charges and the temperature rose again following a flurry of incidents shortly before half-time. Denilson was floored following a fierce challenge from Andy Dawson, while Bendtner and Boateng were both booked after squaring up to one another off the ball. Boateng had appeared to raise his arm at Bendtner and then left Marriner with no choice but to brandish a second yellow card by almost immediately flying into Sagna with his horrible studs-up tackle. Replays suggested it should really have been a straight red. With only four points away from the KC Stadium all season, Hull's main survival hope is their home form and, despite being down to 10-men, they made a dogged start to the second-half. Bullard, in particular, was rising to the occasion without his usual partner in central midfield. Brown had clearly re-organsied them intelligently, although he was soon without Kamil Zayatte following a forceful but fair challenge from Campbell. Arsenal appeared out of ideas until Theo Walcott replaced Emmanuel Eboue with 25 minutes remaining to provide an immediate injection of pace and urgency. His cross was deflected into the path of Arshavin but, with the goal at his mercy, he shot wastefully high and wide. Bendtner, who had scored a mid-week hat-trick against Porto, was also profligate, missing two glorious late chances before punishing a mistake from Boaz in injury time.
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