Arsenal 2-1 Hull: Bendtner’s persistance pays off

As the game entered stoppage time with the scoreline at Arsenal 1, Hull City 1, I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

A feeling that for all our good work this season, for all of our fighting and scrapping and regularly brilliant football, it would all come crashing down in the worst way possible.

As the fourth official held up his board to indicate six minutes it looked for all money as if a thuggish Hull City team lead by the awful, hypocritical  man that is Phil Brown, would be the ones that derailed our title charge.

But rather fantastically, it wasn’t to be.

Nicklas Bendtner provided the vital contribution, scuffing home his effort after Hull’s goalkeeper could only parry Denilson’s long-range strike to spark passionate celebrations from the players. In an instant a disappointing draw became a thrilling victory and ensured we took three more vital points back to London.

There were huge similarities with the win at Stoke a fortnight ago – the late goal, the ability to overcome adversity in a hostile environment – but the crucial difference was that we did not play well here. Gifted the advantage of an extra man for the entirety of the second half after George Boateng’s tactless challenge on Bacary Sagna, we struggled to make it count. Until Bendtner’s late effort, that is.

The first half was a controversial and entertaining affair.

We took a deserved lead through a deceptively good goal by Andrey Arshavin (check out the build-up play) and looked likely to run away with the game.

But the referee and linesman combined to gift Hull an equaliser, first by missing an obvious offside and then by awarding a penalty after Sol Campbell’s innocuous challenge. The only Hull player worth his weight in salt, Jimmy Bullard, slammed home the kick to level things up.

The goal seemed to stunt our momentum and galvanise Hull’s team, however they should have been down to ten men shortly afterwards when their captain, Boateng, inexplicably poked Bendtner in the eye. The referee booked both players on the lineman’s advice but the replays showed once again that the men in black had got it wrong as Bendtner was blameless and Hull’s captain quite simply a disgrace.

Thankfully he got his just desserts just before the break when another horrible tackle, this time on Sagna, saw him dismissed. In my opinion the referee again got it wrong by only issuing a second yellow instead of a red but the important thing was that Boateng was forced to leave the pitch.

With an extra man and the advantage of some half-time advice from Arsene Wenger I expected our boys to take the game to Hull and potential tear them apart. It didn’t happen though as Hull rallied well and our midfield of Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby and Denilson struggled to play as a cohesive and quick-thinking unit.

The referee partially redeemed his earlier efforts by correctly waving play-on after Campbell’s hard but fair forced Kamil Zayatte off the field. There was some bleating after the game (mostly from that idiot Brown) that the English central defender’s challenge should have seen a yellow card but anyone who knows anything about football would know that this was a million miles away from Ryan Shawcross’ leg-breaker: a genuinely fair tackle made in a 50:50 situation by a defender with eyes only for the ball.

With our attack falling a little flat the manager did the sensible thing and brought on Theo Walcott for Emmanuel Eboue on the right and the winger’s pace and directness had an immediate impact. Given a full half-hour to show what he could do, Walcott made his mark with some terrific dribbling and perhaps most importantly, some genuinely threatening cutbacks into the area.

Walcott’s energy fashioned clear chances for Arshavin and Bendtner before the end but it all looked in vain as the game moved into added time with the scored locked at 1-1. However, Myhill’s mistake and Bendtner’s anticipation ensured we stole the win.

This was not a great team performance as Walcott’s cameo and Bendtner’s all-round persistance provided the only outstanding individual contributions.

At the back Sol Campbell had a tough night trying to contain Jozy Altidore while the rest of the defence was largely untested. Denilson had a decent enough game in the middle despite dwelling on the ball on occasion, while Diaby and Nasri were below-par after storming midweek performances.

Arshavin scored a delightful goal but was found wanting with some woeful efforts while Eboue’s decent efforts were upstaged by his younger, pacier replacement. Bendtner never stopped trying and was rewarded with a goal while Eduardo struggled to make any sort of contribution after being thrown on for Nasri.

But all that mattered was the result.


Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Hull by leaving a comment.



  1. I have the feeling, a strong feeling, that this is our year to win the premier league. When we win matches without playing brilliant football and in the dying minutes of matches, that is an indication of champions-to-be. I knew we would score and win the game (unlike you Andrew). A team of Arsenal’s quality can not play a full 45 minutes in the opponents half of the pitch without scoring.

    I see that Arshavin needs more matches. I also thought that Wenger should have taken Sagna off to bring Walcott in with Eboue moving to right back. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    I will also write it again, if we win the premier league this year we are certain to dominate english football for at least five years. The title will be in the pocket, the confidence sky high and the core of the team kept together. How much I will enjoy that is beyond being put in words.

  2. @ A Frenchie – I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. If we can win this season I can see us winning again next year.

    Better not get ahead of ourselves though.

  3. Boateng is aTHUG!!!!! the FA should extend the ban after his behavour during the match.

  4. Hey Andy
    Written a piece about Arsenals latest brazilian aquisition for your perusal…where should i send it mate….

  5. Come on Andrew, I think Diaby had a decent game, and as a holding midfielder, Denilson was entitled to dwell on the ball. Most importantly, without his long range effort, we would have drawn the game!

  6. Brown has been sacked and it’s all our fault! Sweet music people. I agree we can win title and this teams “never give up attitude” is the best we’ve had for years. Hopefully mancs and chelski lose a few more points and then the pressure is all on them.

  7. Arsenal: West Ham (H), Birmingham (A), Wolves (H), Spurs (A), Wigan (A), Man City (H), Blackburn (A), Fulham (H)

    Chelsea: Blackburn (A), Portsmouth (A), Villa (H), Man U (A), Bolton (H), Spurs (A), Stoke (H), Liverpool (A), Wigan (H)

    Man U: Liverpool (H), Bolton (A), Chelsea (H), Blackburn (A), Man City (A), Spurs (H), Sunderland (A), Stoke (H)

    Heres the run in guys…….

    add the CL quaters in there too…


    Arsenal have Wolves at home
    Man U play Chelsea at home

    And i quite like those odds….Spurs could prove a problem but that game after the QF could be so so significant

  8. The media is obviously preparing for the worst case scenario: Arsenal winning the Premiership.
    Of course, that will be down to sheer luck and a “gentle run-in” – I can already see the headlines about lucky Arsenal. But then, double standards seem to have been invented in the UK…

  9. Did anyone else see Denilson allow himself to get pushed around and fall, giving up the ball and a chance for playing defense.

    Nice win boys!

  10. In the event that we do manage to steal the Premier League title this season, don’t expect to be reading any thoughts from my good self on the miraculous feat. Because the heart will have packed in by that time, as there are only so many matches like this a fan can take. Was it really as tense as this in 1998, 2002 and 2004? Surely not. Granted, Liverpool on 26th May 1989 was pretty similar in many respects, but by injury time, I think most had given up. It’s the mixture of hope and expectation that creates the kind of tension this viewer was feeling watching the Hull game. There was no expectation that night at Anfield.

    Credit to Arsenal. They got the result they required and the three vital, vital points. If I’d been watching Chelsea or Man Utd get this result, I’d have thought – mark of a good team. Keep going, keep the pressure up, not play all that well, but get the result required and get out. Arsenal now have to be viewed in the same category. Surely, fans of our title rivals now watch Gunners’ games and think – they’ll nick one in injury time to get the points, I can’t relax until the final whistle.

    The team did not have their finest of days. But titles are won by such days counting for as much as the most comfortable of home wins. Quality of performance is an irrelevance now. What the remainder of Arsenal’s season is about is belief and determination. Wenger’s infamous ‘mental strength’.

    In this of all seasons, to say that had the team failed to win, their chances would have been finished might seem a bit harsh, but I really felt that way as the clock ticked down. We are talking about a Hull side in the bottom three here, as stoutly as they defended. The pitch may have made flowing football very difficult (and might explain some of the poor finishing) but these are the matches that title winners win on their way to lifting the trophy in May. If the win in adversity at Stoke was a turning point, then Hull served as confirmation that things have indeed turned 100% since the sequence of defeats to the title rivals about six weeks ago.

    Alex Song was missed badly today. When Hull had their captain dismissed, I thought, well that evens things up, as Arsenal have been playing with ten men since the kick off, such was the paucity of Denilson’s contribution. The boy has no strength to speak off and is just shoved off the ball with zero resistance. Wenger has got away with playing him against Burnley and Hull, but if he is forced to field the Brazilian one more time this season, I fear he will not be so fortunate. He adds nothing and is a liability. He did not even have the excuse of fatigue as he played only 20 minutes in midweek against Porto. Of course, it had to be him that set up the winner, the only contribution of any positive note from the number 15 all evening.

    And as for anyone who thought Arsenal had an easier run-in than the other two contenders, this evening’s experience nailed the myth of that one. There are no easy matches until they are won. The team can never take the field thinking they are not going to have to battle for the points. In fairness to Hull, they fought like… well, I hate to say it but, tigers – especially in the second half with ten men. Arsenal created enough opportunities to win the game, but simply failed to trouble the keeper.

    Sure Hull’s goal was as a result of an offside that wasn’t given, but these decisions happen, and all a team can do is react in the right way. I think in fairness, Arsenal suffered from a poor pitch, fatigue from the Porto game and – once they were reduced to ten men – Hull’s priority of keeping the point that they had. That they were a man down should have made the visitors’ task easier, but football doesn’t always work that way.

    What it came down to was persistence, keeping going, grinding down the opposition and waiting for the moment to come. Things were starting to look desperate as injury time ebbed away, but credit to Denilson for having a pop from outside the box, and Bendtner for following up before his marker could stop him. These are the matches that win titles. Arsenal have to keep winning them by hook or by crook.

    And they are capable of winning them all, and it’s my belief that they’ll probably need to. But momentum is everything and five league wins on the trot is indisputably that. Because a number of the team are so young, the European involvement may pose a danger, as tired legs are more likely in less experienced players, who may not be wise enough to pace themselves over a whole season. In truth it’s probable that Arsene Wenger will have to rotate a little to try and keep things fresh, but are the back ups good enough? When Arsenal play their European quarter final legs either side of the Wolves match will a side with Vela, Eduardo, Denilson and Theo Walcott be able to gain three points under pressure? Where will the goals to defeat Mick McCarthy’s side come from?

    Arsenal played against Hull without Gallas, Song, Fabregas and Van Persie. It’s a credit to them that they did achieve the result with four such huge players absent. But boy could we do with them back. Song will return for West Ham, but my gut feeling is that the captain will be rested further until the Birmingham game and even then, might only be a substitute, with the manager wrongly prioritising what’s likely to be a glamour European tie. As for Gallas, I fear we’ve seen his last ever performance in an Arsenal shirt, which really doesn’t bode well. Remember how the team folded in his absence last season? Van Persie will not play again this season until he pulls on a Holland shirt in a pre-World Cup friendly.

    It really is against all odds stuff, but Arsenal must simply focus on the next game and winning it. So it’s West Ham next weekend. Since the Stoke comeback, two down, eight to go. After going to Hull and back, the title is still very much on. Not good for the nerves, of course, but we’ll all be back for more suffering on Saturday, regardless. And paying for the privilege!

  11. Denilson was his usual self.. always faking effort.. he’s becoming a master at it.. However I will praise him for his long range effort as it proved to be very crucial, not only for this game but our title aspirations..

    On another note, it always seems to be a difficult game when Song is not playing, why is that??? Has he become that good? it’s hard to tell when he’s playing but when he is not playing, the team looks very uncomfortable..

  12. great description of the game, I am still suffering when reading, I can’t cope with injustice, very hardly at least, and all I had in mind was the penalty was injustice, it wasn’t a penalty, so the goal was such a relief, good play this way or that way, the win was deserved for me…………… 😎

  13. Desilson was realy very poor in the midfield, he too much space to the opponent. but the win was what needed most, as for me wasnot the quality of game of arsenal but i look forward to the next game.

  14. denilson was weak giving away needless fouls, I am not sure what the other gooners were watching, just becoz he took a gentle shot that became a goal your guys are getting excited for,as long as a passenger in the team he will neva be recognized

  15. whatever became of Geovani. He did terrorize us quite a bit last season when we suffered Hull-ucinations . .

  16. We are all lucky Denilson took that shot, I tell you. This is the first time I’ve complimented the lad but he’s scored a couple from outside the box this season and deserves massive credit for having the guts to go for it on Saturday at such a late stage in the game.

    Andy – ever since you’ve put your faith in B52 scoring ten goals he’s done you proud!

    Before the goal I had that same feeling in the pit of my stomach. How could it all end here, in Hull?! Then it happened and like the rest of you I’m not afraid to admit that I went a little crazy!

    A week for Cesc to recover and a week closer to the return of Gallas and RvP. Song is back from suspension too and thanks to the Champions League he’s not out of practice.

    Let’s focus on hammering the Hammers to get our goal difference up!

  17. Thoughts on the game
    -Winning these types of matches is what champions do (Look at United the past years, these are the games they won and what seperated them from the rest)
    -Jozy played out of his mind
    -Boatang could have been sent off twice
    -Campbell’s challenge was 50-50, he won the ball, and the player followed through into him, no foul
    -Justice was done in the end after the blatant offside that was missed prior to the penalty
    -Campbell is far to slow for the Premier League and was caught out too many times only to be saved by TV
    -Walcott is back in form and blazing fast
    -Hull put in a great team effort after the sending off, it was valiant work by the shorthanded team

  18. @ singhisking – Well said blog, very much agree with every word.

    Look this is a long a season. My problem is we cannot win the title unless either manure or chelski fucks out. So i am disapointed in the fact that realy destiny is not our hand. All we need to do is be consistant and keep on are progress.

    My positives are unlike other teams when we lose the 4 starting players. We still manage to win, that says so much about the strength and are resolve.

    My negatives i think walcott should get more game time. in are current stage we need that extra that he offers. Although i do like it when he starts with eboue it make the right hand side virtually unbeatable. Nasri has gone a long way from being a shy timid boy from lyon.

    Rosicky for me has been a revelation he has stepped hes game up. Reminds me of aleksander Hleb men he was awsome. Simply to technical.Someone said that if we win this title we can dominate the EPL for years to come. Thats so true, we have good enough team and a great coach(3 weeks ago i wanted to kick his arse).

    Also MAn U is going to play a full strength liverpool. Hmmmm….. hope liverpool wins by 3-1.

    Go you beauty.

  19. I feel a lot better about that game now that I know it put the final nail in Phil Brown’s coffin. I was hoping Hull would go down but maybe now they’ll get in a manager who actually likes football. The stuff Brown had them playing was the worst sh*t I’ve seen in many a long day. The first thing the new manager should do is sack Andy Dawson who belongs not on a football field but in a cage being thrown bananas.
    I’m harping on about Hull only because it is relevant to our game, which was the worst Arsenal game I’ve watched this season. That really wasn’t Championship winning form I’m afraid. Still, I say well done to the boys for battling on and ultimately coming up with the win.
    It’s ironic that Hull, who’ve been overshadowed by their Rugby League team, probably throughout their history, finally make it to the the top league in football and what do they do? Play like Rugby League players on a Rugby League pitch. Good riddance to you Phil Brown – and you know where you can stick your earpiece.

  20. @Lil Weezy – think about who is song’s deputy? Arsene likes to use denilson to replace song when he is not available. and playing denilson is like playing with 10 man on the field. Thats the only reason why it always seems tougher when song is not around. In my opinion, the reason is not because of song. It is because of denilson.

  21. Cascarino says it, do the opposite?

    Two weeks ago Tony Cascarino was one of the first pundits to weigh in on Ryan Shawcross’ leg-breaking tackle on Aaron Ramsey calling it “mistimed” and not even a red card:

    There’s a difference between an awful injury and an awful challenge. Ryan Shawcross’s tackle on Aaron Ramsey was mistimed but not malicious — the same as Martin Taylor’s on Eduardo da Silva two years ago. Let’s not hang the Stoke City defender out to dry because poor Ramsey was simply unlucky. I don’t even think the tackle deserved a red.

    Today, he called the same tackle “horrendous” while going on to say that the Boateng tackle deserved a straight red. I don’t want to jump the gun here, but it’s almost as if he’s saying something, well, in line with Arsenal.

    I’m confused, I always say and do the opposite of Cascarino and I thought that the Boateng tackle was a straight red. So, maybe the Boateng tackle wasn’t even a yellow card?

    2. Stan Collymore adds to the confusion

    Now this is really weird… Stan Collymore has long been a fan of Nicklas Bendtner, dating back to last year he said that Bendy would come good and be a star — if only we’d stop booing him. And then again in today’s column he’s once again come to the defense of Bendtner saying that he told us NB would be a great player and that the hat trick against Porto proves it. If you only read those two lines you might think Collymore is a huge Arsenal supporter, after all, I’ve been saying the same thing for a year now. But don’t let his love for Bendtner distract you, in those same two articles he also says the following:

    With their crowd’s help, the Gunners may just be able to pip Aston Villa to fourth in the Premier League. (2009)


    Bendtner’s heroics go to show that, of the 60,000 fans at the Emirates, only the 30,000 or so who would have got into Highbury appear to know anything about football. (2010)

    You’ll remember how Arsenal “pipped” Aston Villa to fourth place by ten points and two places (they finished below Everton) last year and as for the second quote, I was AT the game where he claims that 30,000 fans booed Bendtner off the pitch (or that the applause was ironic) and I didn’t see it that way. There were a few folks who were frustrated with NB’s misses against Burnley but as the second half wore on the fans were behind him and oohing and ahhing at his work rate and rightly applauded him leaving as he left the pitch. Listening to a certain podcast (and the guy behind me who rode him the whole game) there were certainly some angry jeers and ironic applause but hardly the 30,000 Collymore claims.

    The point for me is crystal clear, we need to ignore folks like Collymore irregardless of whether he makes a positive or a negative statement and just simply get behind the team. All footballers occasionally have poor games and we can reasonably expect is that they put in a full shift. After Saturday’s last gasp goal against Hull, does anyone question Nicklas Bendtner’s commitment?

    Good, then let’s move on and flush the Collymore’s down the bog where they and their click-whoring web site belong.

    3. Graham Poll’s 50-50 challenge

    Meanwhile, Graham Three Yellow Cards Poll has weighed in on the Hull game on the weekend and gets it 50% right, which isn’t bad for him. He explains (to Mr. Orange) why Sol didn’t see a red for the challenge which earned a penalty — basically Mr. Long Name lost control of the ball. Unfortunately he then insinuates that Sol’s challenge on Zyatte was a foul and thus deserving of a yellow (which it wasn’t) and that Arsene would have been angry had the same tackle been put in on Arsenal.

    Funny thing there, Graham, Arsenal did suffer several x-rated challenges in that game and I don’t remember Wenger going on about it, so I guess you’re wrong about that.

    The good news is that Poll is calling for more protection ahead of the World Cup and wonders what would happen if Rooney were to get injured — of course.

    4. Happy Birthday Theo!

    Theo Walcott celebrated his 21st birthday in some style this weekend. I think I know what’s wrong with Eduardo’s form lately, he’s suffering from OD, Over Denim. Also, what’s up with inviting Gareth Bale to the party? Maybe Theo was trying to poison him ahead of the North London derby?

  22. people talking about wellington he is a romario and galindo is a riqueleme. ive heard galindos passing is “excellent”.

  23. Hey Alfonzo….yeah i was referring to Wellington…an awesome little player….scored a great goal the other week as well as set up the winner against Botafogo last weekend….not bad for a 17yr old…..tried to find his goal on youtube but had no luck….however couldnt resist posting Roberto Carlos’ first goal since his return to Corinthians…..

  24. The worst follows the best…
    It was a close shave. Bendy’s striker instinct did it again. he is a real fighter and kept is head up thru out the game…when the chance ultimately came he converted it.
    but i must say it was a painful ordeal to watch Arsenal play such a poor match…all players looked so tired.
    buck up guys we are almost there…last few hurdles to go. we need to put our best foot forward.

  25. I remember not so long ago all the Spuds fans bleating about how mercenary Sol was for “kicking Portsmouth when they were down”…if they owe him money contractually then they owe him money. You would not expect any reasonable person to leave a job (whatever the circumstances) and not fight for a payout to the tune of £1.7M. But what’s this?? Sol has deferred payment until Pompey have a new buyer…can’t believe he is so ruthless!!!!

    On another point Liverpool absolutely hate losing to Manure. Fact. Also, the way they played last night is the minimum level they need to play at if they are going to finish 4th. I can see them getting something from the Manure game. The most worrying factor is that they could play United off the park, Torres could get a hatrick and they could still get beat single handedly by Rooney alone. That boy is on fire. ust been looking at the Chelsea run in. Man that is tough. In their last six games they have to play, Villa, Spuds, and ‘Pool. Tough games as they all battle for 4th. Other games are scrappy affairs against the likes of Blackburn, Bolton, and Stoke. This could end up a battle between Arse and ManU.

  26. Quite the melting pot of controversy over one incident at the KC. One-nil down at home to Arsenal, Hull break through and get awarded a penalty. It was a foul, no doubt about it. But the controversy came before and after Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was felled by Sol Campbell.

    Simply, JVoH (I’m not writing it all again) was offside when played in, and it’s a very, very poor call from a linesman who can not only see a forward coming back towards the ball and thus making the line of sight easier, but lines on the pitch to help judgement. Very poor.

    Once the flag doesn’t go up, though, you concentrate on the coming together with JVoH and Sol, and it’s definitely a foul. But did Campbell deserve a red card?

    I think it’s a very tricky one. I’d have felt really bad for Campbell had he have walked for the challenge. Not because of the offside spectre hanging over the decision, but due to the fact that I think Campbell is trying to get out the way since he knows he’s on course to knock JVoH over.

    Now the letter of the law is the letter of the law, and I think if I was sat in an exam with a ref’s assessor hovering over me, I’d say Campbell should get sent off. However, I’d have had sympathy had this happened, and I don’t blame Andre Marriner for not dismissing the Arsenal defender.

    Post match, Phil Brown seemed a desperate man – and now we know why. At the time his contention was that if Campbell didn’t walk for the penalty incident, he should have done for when he tackled – and injured – Kamil Zayatte. However, the tackle in question was a terrific one and not a foul at all.

    No similar discussion about George Boateng’s dismissal though. In the incident which led to his first caution, it seemed a little harsh that Nicklas Bendtner should receive the same treatment. Both men were booked after a face-to-face altercation which Boateng instigated and the Dane simply reacted to.

    His second yellow, though, was a bit of shocker, thigh-high on Bacary Sagna, and actually the referee’s job was made easier by Boateng being on a yellow, because the decision between yellow or red might have been a tough one.

  27. That was our most difficult game among the rest of the season.I dont know but, I see us winning the PL this year If God allow us. Based on the rest of games that Manu and Chelski have, i see us winning all of them come may.

  28. Will Drogba miss any matches in the league for being sent off in champions league? They have got 2 away matches + aston villa at home coming up.

  29. I hope we are not a copy of Liverpool last season. Their title challenge was great in the fact that they won 6 matches in the 90th minute only to fall short of Man Utd by two points. It will not be a total disaster if we don’t win it from here, though I would HATE to fall short to Man Utd by the odd point. It would be crushing for us all. We have to pray that Man Utd and Chelsea hit a draw and Liverpool do us a BIG favor. Prayer mats at the ready.

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