Arsenal vs. Hull City: Winners and Losers from FA Cup Fifth Round
Arsenal and Hull City played out a goalless draw on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium in the FA Cup fifth round.
The hosts dominated possession and created the better chances but could not beat Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, who turned in a stellar display for the Tigers.
Both sides fielded much-changed teams from their last outings, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger introducing nine new players to his starting XI. Steve Bruce countered with 10 changes, but the makeshift lineup worked, frustrating the Gunners throughout the 90 minutes.
The result means Arsenal will have to travel to Hull for a replay at a yet-to-be-determined date. Here Bleacher Report selects winners and losers from Saturday's match.
Winner: Eldin Jakupovic
Eldin Jakupovic was, without doubt, the star of the game. Hull City's 31-year-old goalkeeper made 11 saves, per ESPN FC, including two crucial, eye-catching stops in the second half.
The pick of the bunch came in the 54th minute, when Arsenal's Joel Campbell curled a free kick on goal. The ball seemed destined for the bottom corner, but Jakupovic stuck out a finger to tip the ball onto the base of his right-hand post.
That was a stunning save, but Jakupovic wasn't finished. Nine minutes later, Danny Welbeck cut inside from the left before curling a right-footed effort toward goal. The shot took a wicked deflection, but Jakupovic reacted as if the game were moving in slow motion, batting the ball away to safety.
Without their goalkeeper's heroics, Hull surely wouldn't have held on for a draw.
Loser: Sone Aluko
In this sort of match, Hull were never going to create many chances. The Tigers sat deep and defended doggedly, but attacks were rare and clear opportunities almost nonexistent.
However, two glorious openings fell to Sone Aluko in the closing stages. The Hull substitute was unable to convert either.
In the 85th minute, Tom Huddlestone picked out his teammate with a glorious pass over the top. Aluko did put the ball in the net, but the offside flag was already up, ruling out the strike. If he'd kept himself onside, Aluko might just have scored the winner.
One minute later, he had an even better chance as Huddlestone curled in a cross from the right. Unmarked, Aluko only had to beat David Ospina in Arsenal's goal. But his volley was weak, and the goalkeeper saved the effort comfortably.
With so few chances coming Hull's way, Aluko simply had to score.
Winner: Steve Bruce
A draw meant a replay, which was really the last thing either side wanted. Even so, Steve Bruce has to be a winner here.
The Hull City boss made 10 changes to his side, which might seem like a recipe for disaster against a team with as much quality as Arsenal. Yet Hull's makeshift side held out for 90 minutes—and fully deserved the draw.
That's an impressive feat, and Bruce deserves credit for crafting a strong tactical plan. Admittedly, the defensive approach wasn't exactly beautiful to watch, but it was highly effective against Arsenal, who for long stretches seemed to lack ideas about how to break their opponents down.
All this with Hull chasing the Championship title and promotion back to the Premier League.
Loser: Mike Dean
Referee Mike Dean ruled incorrectly on at least one penalty decision, though Arsenal's supporters will argue he botched one more as well.
The clear mistake happened in the eighth minute, when Arsenal worked a corner to Mohamed Elneny. The Egyptian powered a low shot on target, which Alex Bruce blocked inside the box. Replays showed Bruce had stuck out his arm to stop the ball, meaning Arsenal should have had a penalty.
Had Dean caught the infraction, Arsenal might have scored an early goal from the penalty spot. That would have changed the game's complexion.
A less obvious incident followed in the 51st minute, when Calum Chambers went to ground in the box following a challenge from David Meyler. Replays showed there was contact, but this decision was not as clear-cut as the other. Still, we've seen penalties awarded for less.
Loser: Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez entered the match in the 67th minute as Arsene Wenger attempted to freshen up Arsenal's attack. The Chilean often serves as a catalyst for the Gunners, but he didn't impress on this occasion.
Upon his introduction, Sanchez immediately appeared off the pace, misplacing passes and failing to link up with his teammates. In stoppage time, he did curl a free kick on target, but his shot was no problem for the excellent Jakupovic.
Sanchez has made the difference for Arsenal several times in the past, but he didn't produce the goods on Saturday.