Arsenal 3-0 Hull: Diaby and Denilson make their voices heard

If someone had offered you a 3-0 win for Arsenal over Hull you would have bitten his hand off.

If someone had offered you a 3-0 win for Arsenal over Hull with Denilson scoring a peach of a free-kick, Eduardo getting a much-needed goal, Abou Diaby starring as Man of the Match and getting an excellent third of his own and under-fire goalkeeper Manuel Almunia making a confidence-boosting penalty save – you would have bitten his entire arm off.

And if someone offered you the 3-0 win described above along with Chelsea dropping two points at second from bottom West Ham, Liverpool losing 2-0 at bottom-place Portsmouth and Manchester United crashing 3-0 at Fulham and Mark Hughes getting sacked directly after winning- well… let’s just say you would have been quite well fed that day.

Now I don’t know who that ‘someone’ is exactly but what I’m trying to say is that it was a bloody good weekend for the Arsenal.

There were a couple of changes to the Arsenal team that drew with Burnley midweek with Denilson returning in place of Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue slotting in for Bacary Sagna and Eduardo returning to the team at the expense of Theo Walcott. Diaby took up the most advanced position of the midfield three while Andrey Arshavin was surprisingly maintained as the lone striker with Eduardo and Samir Nasri providing support down the flanks.

After an turgid opening 40 minutes which saw Hull resort to long-ball tactics and defensive football and our boys struggling to break through the game exploded into life. After a clear foul on Arshavin Nasri cheekily stepped on the foot of Australian Richard Garcia – an incident that sparked an all-in pushing match that brought the crowd alive and saw Nasri and that annoying little Irish man Stephen Hunt booked.

While I’m on the topic my favourite moment of the fight had to be Song’s “don’t argue” on Hunt. The Cameroon man appeared out of nowhere, went straight for Hunt and pushed him out of the melee of players. Hunt tried to push Song back but as you can see in the video he got absolutely nowhere as Song held him off with his German of Africa strength. Alas, I digress.

Nasri’s little game of footsie looked to be intentionally done to put the Hull players off their game and you get the feeling that without his provocation we would not have gone into the break with the lead. As it was, Diaby’s surging run saw another foul committed on the edge of the are and Denilson of all people stepped up to curl a beautiful effort into the bottom of the corner. He ran off to celebrate with the fans that had been nearest the fight incident just a couple of minutes earlier and they looked like the were loving it.

There was a bit more niggle in the tunnel at the half-time break before the Arsenal players emerged to put on an extremely composed second-half show. The exceptions were an early miss by Eduardo after a supreme turn on the edge of the area and a preposterous penalty awarded against Mikael Silvestre on Fagan. Just how the referee Steve Bennett pulled a foul out of their contest I will never know but in the end it mattered little as Almunia guessed the right way and pulled off a save that will do his confidence the world of good.

Once Hull blew their chance you just knew it would be Arsenal’s day. It proved to be true as the best player on pitch up until that point, Diaby, made his mark with a superb assist for Eduardo and an excellent goal of his own. Both strikes were the product of clever inter-passing and movement and left Wenger with a huge smile on his face on the bench.

There were a flurry of substitutions in the final third of the match as Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela were given valuable playing time. Walcott and Ramsey both had chances in the final minutes to add a fourth but it wasn’t to be as Arsenal ran out the game comfortable 3-0 winners.

I thought the contribution made by Diaby and Denilson in the absence of captain Fabregas was encouraging.

Diaby always seems to play better when giving the more attacking role and Hull was no exception – his constant movement with and without the ball was impossible to contain and he played an important part in all three goals. Diaby has a unique ability to be unpredictable with the ball at his feet and wait until just the right time to release and move, making him very hard to stop when he’s on song. All he has to do now is add consistancy to his game and I feel he will grow into a very good player for Arsenal.

Meanwhile Denilson put in the sort of physical, tough-tackling performance that many will be hoping to see when he sits in for Song during the African Cup of Nations. The Brazilian’s style means efforts often goes unseen for Arsenal but this was one of the few times I have visibly noticed his contribution to the cause. As well as the very special opener Denilson made some superb tackles and worked exceptionally hard to cover for the absence of Cesc Fabregas in midfield. Excellent stuff.

So that’s it really. It’s bound to be a faily quiet week what with Christmas and all, so I’ll look to discuss the Champions League draw as well as the crucial game with Aston Villa as the week progresses.

It’s great to be back. Go Arsenal.

Have your say on Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Hull by leaving a comment.



  1. What we needed was for players to step up. Chances for Deni and Diaby were taken very very well indeed. Deni hasnt played much this season and has 3 goals to his name, all 3 have been peaches and ‘brazillian-like’. Diaby now has 5 goals and used his strength very well. He was just awesome! Eduardo got a much needed goal! I hope Clichy is back for Villa because Silvestre is going to be torn apart by Young. I would go with Eboue RB, Sagna LB personally.

  2. Sell Cesc and RVP and Clichy! ha ha

    Great opening to the blog – very true about what a great weekend it was for the Arsenal. Can you imagine how it would seem if we could just erase the mid-week blip at Burnley? The past 2 weekends have been massive!


  3. Great piece of writing, Andy.

    Such a great weekend for us and massively important for Eduardo and Almunia. Let’s hope we get to see more of that (not necessarily from the penalty spot though). Bring on Villa!

  4. I hope and believe that the penalty save surges Almunia’s confidence back to shot stopper we know he can be.

    I’d also like to see more Deni. Let him develop chemistry with Cesc. It’s going to be those two holding the center when Song leaves for the ACN. Once Deni starts believing that just because he’s a wee-man he doesn’t have to be a weak man he’ll be more than good enough.

  5. Oh and I thoroughly enjoyed Nasri’s shenanigans. He has to be one of those players you absolutely hate unless he’s on your team.

  6. @ C-Bass – Nasri’s a cheeky little bugger. His personality is as spiky as his hair. With the risk of sounding racist he has the sort of grit that Marseille street-kids are known for but a canny knack of aggravating without losing his cool.

  7. Indeed Andy, it was really great to see those 3 had a good outing for a change (that everyone agrees on)finally. I’m impressed that Nasri is also quietly picking up the pace of his form.

    What we are finding out now is the fact that we don’t really have like to like replacements when players go out injured in midfield. A lot of people are guessing that Ramsey, Diaby, Nasri even Wishere can play in Cesc’s role, but they really don’t. I believe Wenger is trying to play each player to his strength unless forced otherwise by injury. I don’t even think he will just simply replace song in January with Deni and hope for the best, because they are not the same type of players. He is going to thinker with as to what combination of players work in midfield. I believe he knows he has the players, but finding the right mix will be the trick. In my opinion that’s the reason that sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. It is really a myth that we are stocked up with similar players in midfield. If that is the case, it wouldn’t have mattered who will be playing at any given game.

  8. i think song this year has been our best player by a mile,every game i watch him specifically(not sure of the spelling i am irish at the end of the day we speak our own language)i got his name on my shirt and im supporting cameroon after the henry fiasco in paris and think the cameroonians will lift the world cup in june,they also have eto’o so why not them,getn da cameroon jersey aswell which will go down well with the african community in cork,go tigers*(not hull)cameroon all the way in africa

  9. @ IRISH – Absolutely correct regarding Song. At this point in time he is miles ahead of everyone in the race for Arsenal’s player of the season.

    Nice to hear you going for Cameroon too. They’re a team that I have a soft spot for and I actually think they’ll go the furthest out of all the African teams in the World Cup. Get yourself a Cameroon shirt with ‘Song’ on the back, you won’t regret it.

  10. we’ll get through ACN with our quality.

    i think deni with cesc/diaby will be partners in the middle as dm with cesc or diaby do the damage.

  11. i take back whatever i said negetive about diaby. he proved me wrong in every sence. the man was just fantastic in many ways. well, now its time for villa and i feel very positive about the up coming game.

  12. I agree with the IRISH GOONER on Song. The lad is improving in every game and he has come from far. Remember this was the player fans hated sometimes back but with time he hasd really improved and plays like someone of the age 28 years. This lad is a joy to watch with his movements, tackles, passes, snatches the ball from opponents without fouling etc.

    Cameroon has a talented player and he can take cameroon very far in ACN and World Cup.

    Viva Song and Cameroon.

  13. Good, good, good so far… Might win the league with all this inconsistency after all.
    Looking good so far with rivals dropping points, ELSE……
    Just good

  14. I am prayn hard cameroon get eliminated in th group stage of ACN,so tht song can come back much earlier.

  15. i was much worried about setting the blog on fire!!!!diaby had awonderful game with denilson and alumnia becoming culprits.arsenal boys meant it,chelsea,liverpool, and another team that lost 3-0 had great great week though thinking about their un timely loss.congs little guns.

  16. Good, good, good so far… Might win the league with all this inconsistency after all.
    Looking good so far with rivals dropping points, ELSE……
    We need to beat the VILLA badly

  17. Really pleased to see both Denilson and Diaby in good form.Hope that this is their point of take off and that we can enjoy a run of consistency that will at last rid them of being “potentials” and label them as world class players.
    I have always liked Denilson’s style of play,especially his classic “brasilian” goals and Diaby knows how to “smash ’em” in.
    Keep up the form lads!!

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