Hull City vs. Arsenal: 6 Things We Learned
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski grabbed a brace against Hull in a comfortable 3-0 win at the KC Stadium. Sunday afternoon's victory saw the Gunners maintain their slim lead over fifth-placed Everton in the race for the last Champions League position.
The visitors took the lead after half an hour from midfielder Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman collected a pass from Santi Cazorla and finished with a fierce low drive into the bottom corner.
Ramsey went from scorer to creator after chesting a pass into Podolski’s path in the area, and the German international scored a superbly taken first-time volley into the bottom corner to double his side’s lead before the break.
Podolski put the game beyond doubt 10 minutes into the second half after scoring the rebound from Aaron Ramsey’s initially saved effort.
Arsenal ran out worthy winners to do the double over Hull City, which also ensured Everton remain one point below them in the table.
Here are six things we learned from Arsenal’s very one-sided affair this afternoon.
Arsenal Finally Ended Their Wait for a Clean Sheet in the Premier League
Arsenal’s win against Hull City was their first clean sheet in six Premier League games. The Gunners had shipped 13 goals in their last five prior to Sunday afternoon’s victory, but have finally put in a better defensive performance to stem the tide.
Centrebacks Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker drew praise during the first half of the current campaign for Arsenal’s impressive defensive record. Arsenal had the best defence in the division before the New Year, conceding 18 goals in 19 games.
But in 2014, the Londoners have been porous. Shipping 23 goals in 16 games this year shows the decline Wenger’s men have been made to endure, so their clean sheet against Hull is a step in the right direction.
Aaron Ramsey Is Crucial to Arsenal’s Future Success
Aaron Ramsey came away with the plaudits for his performance against Hull in his first Premier League start since his lengthy muscle injury. The Welsh international scored one and made an assist against the Tigers Sunday afternoon, all while topping the stats for most shots (four), most touches (104) and more passes than any Hull player (77), as per Who Scored.
The ex-Cardiff midfielder has made an instant impact upon his return to the starting XI. He’s picking up where he left off, scoring and creating goals for Arsenal, and it’s clear he will be the catalyst for any future success the Gunners have.
Hull City Still Cannot Find a Remedy Against Top-Half Sides
Hull City have the second-worst record against the top-half sides in the Premier League, with only Fulham having amassed a worse points per game tally. The Tigers haven’t won against a top-half entity in 2014, and they have scored the second least amount of goals, too (12).
Beating the sides around them has been key to Hull’s decent league campaign this season, but their awful record against the top-half outfits is something that will need to be addressed.
Lukas Podolski Makes His Case to Be Afforded More Starts
After bagging his fourth goal in his last two Premier League games, Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has proven his point to manager Arsene Wenger that he’s deserving of regular selection.
The German international made it publicly clear that he wasn’t happy with the lack of playing time afforded to him by Wenger, but his recent run of goals is the perfect response to show the Arsenal boss he is deserving of selection on a more regular basis.
Hull City Cannot Stop Losing in 2014
Hull’s loss to Arsenal was their tenth league defeat in 15 games this year. Manager Steve Bruce just hasn’t been able to replicate their form of the first-half to the campaign.
The Tigers have lost far too many games in the tail-end of the season, which has meant their Premier League survival is still not quite settled just yet. Only four sides have lost more Premier League games than Hull (18 defeats).
Arsenal Gain a Psychological Advantage for the Forthcoming FA Cup Final
Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Hull was important for more than just the Gunners’ Champions League aspirations. The win meant they did the double over Steve Bruce’s men in the league, gaining the upper hand ahead of their FA Cup final in less than a month’s time.
Arsene Wenger’s side have now beaten Hull both home and away this season without conceding a goal, and that’s something that will certainly play on Hull’s mind leading up to the FA Cup final at Wembley— especially considering the Tigers will be without their two best strikers, Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic.