Sunday, 20 April 2014

Podolski's brace adds to Ramsey's opener as Arsenal take maximum points


Arsenal rounded off an excellent week with their second Premier League win by beating Hull City 3-0 this afternoon.

Two goals from Lukas Podolski either side of half time, after Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring, set the Gunners on their way to 70 points with three league games remaining.

It increases the cushion between Arsene Wenger's men and fifth placed Everton to four points, prior to the Toffee's game at Goodison against Manchester United in the late Sunday kick off.

Wenger made threes changes from the side which beat West Ham on Tuesday night. Mesut Ozil returned after five weeks out with a hamstring injury, taking the place of Tomas Rosicky who dropped to the substitutes bench. Aaron Ramsey came in and replaced Kim Kallstrom. a slight hamstring injury to Thomas Vermaelen saw his place taken in the starting line up by Nacho Monreal.

Santi Cazorla was switched to the right of the attacking three, with Ozil central. Two goal midweek hero Lukas Podolski was kept in his left hand berth.

The home team had the first best of the opening half hour. Wojeciech Szczesny had to deal with the blustery conditions to claim crosses and shots. Arsenal weren't able to get their game going and the majority of play was taking place in the Gunners half.

Steve Bruce's side were creating chances but their final ball never troubled the Arsenal defence.

At the other end Ozil should have been awarded a penalty in the tenth minute when he was clipped inside the box by Ahmed Elmohamady.

Mertesacker was booked for challenge on Nikica Jelavic after Arteta had lost out in his 50/50 challenge. It looked as though the Spaniard lost a tooth in the clash.

Szczesny was called upon to make the first save of the match. Jelavic shot was going into the Poland international's far post, but the goalkeeper got a hand to it and pushed in around the post.

It was very open when the Gunners got their game open. Hull's two strikers were pressing our back four but at the other end it was open.

Podolski had the Gunners first effort on goal. Giroud freed space for Ramsey by pulling a defender into the Arsenal half, Arteta played the ball into the Welshman who laid it off for the German, who shot with his right foot. It was saved by Steve Harper in the Hull goal.

Wenger's men were getting into a rhythm and there was good passing from Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud and Podolski.

And it was Ramsey who got Arsenal ahead after a great passing move. It started on the right with Sanga, who passed in field for Ramsey. He played it for Giroud. The striker found Ozil, who played a one-two with the Welshman. The German played in Cazorla in the box who passed to Ramsey who found the back of the net.

Hull could have been level three minutes later, but fortunately Jake Livermore's shot from outside the box hit Szczesny's right hand post.

Giroud won a free kick on the edge of the box after Elmohamady barged him over. Ramsey stepped up to take it and smashed it into the bottom of the wall. Arteta's follow up was off target and the danger was cleared.

Hull were coming stronger as the half reached its end. Long had a header which forced Szczesny into a save.

Then at the other end, Podolski added a second for the Gunners.

Jelavic went down under a challenge from Arteta. Arsenal regained possession with Ramsey and he found Cazorla. Giroud ran into the right hand channel and pulled his defender with him. The Frenchman crossed for Ramsey who chested the ball into the path of Podolski who finished with aplomb.

Hull felt aggrieved they weren't awarded a free kick for Arteta's challenge on Jelavic, but it looked like a correct decision by the referee.

Wenger's men went in at half time two goals to the good.

Hull boss Bruce took off Shane Long at half time with a calf injury and Matty Fryatt replaced him.

The home side had plenty of possession in the early stages of the second period and substitute Fryatt had an effort almost immediately, breaking the Gunners offside trap, however Sagna and Koscielny got back to clear the danger.

Podolski added his second of the game and fourth of the week in the 53rd minute. A flowing attacking move found Monreal free on the left, he played it inside to Cazorla who pulled it back for Ramsey who shot and it was saved by Steve Harper's feet. The ball fell to Podolski who found the back of the net from inside the six yard area.

With 30 minutes to go, Wenger made his first change of the game. He withdrew Ozil and replaced him with Flamini.

Giroud could have added a fourth. He closed down a back pass to Harper, who hit the ball at the Frenchman. Giroud got hold of the ball and shot from a tight angle, however it struck the cross bar and Hull's blushes were saved.

Bruce made his second substitution with 21 minutes left. Jelavic replaced by Quinn. And a few minutes later Wenger brought off Giroud for Oxlade-chamberlain.

And the English man was involved straight away, winning a free kick on the edge of the box. The dead ball was taken by Czaorla who hit a cross into the near post where Mertesacker got his head on the ball, but could only put the ball just over the bar.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain was heavily involved again in Arsenal's next chance. He was played in by Sagna and rode one challenge outside the box and was brought down by a second inside the box, but the ball fell to Ramsey who shot straight at Harper.

At the other end Szczesny had to be quick to get a hand up to block a Huddleston shot from outside the box and pushed the ball round the post for a corner.

With seven minutes to go, Wenger took Podolski off for Yaya Sango. And Bruce took off George Boyd for Robert Koren.

The referee added four minutes of injury time but the game was over and Arsenal recorded their second Premier League win in five days.

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