Arsenal travelled to Hull in the Premier League this afternoon, looking to build on a run of form that had seen them unbeaten since their opening day defeat to Liverpool.
It was an easy afternoon for Arsenal, truth be told, made harder only by their determination at times to walk the ball into the net.
Alex Iwobi (or Alexis Sánchez, whoever gets awarded the goal) put the away side in front after 17 minutes, with Theo Walcott doubling the lead early into the second half to calm their nerves against a Hull side reduced to ten men for pretty much the entire second half.
Arsenal could even afford to miss a penalty (their fourth awarded in five league matches), Alexis inexplicably taking penalty duties away from Santi Cazorla only to see his shot saved by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
Hull got a penalty of their own with just over ten minutes remaining, as Petr Cech brought down substitute Dieumerci Mbokani in the box. Robert Snodgrass duly converted, but it was to be a mere consolation as Alexis ended the tie as a contest soon after by making it 3-1.
The best was saved for last, as a fantastic long-range effort from Granit Xhaka made it 4 in injury time.
Overall, it was a professional display by Arsene Wenger’s side, and three points well deserved.
But how did each individual player fare on an afternoon at turned out to be pretty comfortable for Arsenal?
Hull City Player Ratings:
Eldin Jakupovic – 6: Should have done better for Iwobi/Alexis’ goal, could possibly have done better for Xhaka’s. Not a great day at the office, though he gets an extra point for a decent penalty save.
Ahmed El Mohamady – 5: Kept Monreal quiet, but could do nothing about the constant threat of Iwobi on Arsenal’s left.
Jake Livermore – 4: Needless red card just before half time that left his side short when they needed numbers.
Curtis Davies – 6: Was put in a horrible position by Livermore’s red. Has been playing brilliantly this season, and started well here, but he ran out of steam in the second half.
Andrew Robertson – 6.5: Phelan’s decision to push the full-backs further forward didn’t have much joy on the right but Robertson on the left looked threatening. Faded in the second half.
David Meyler – 6: Still keeping Ryan Mason out of the team, and while the Irish international had a decent game, his place is very much under threat.
Tom Huddlestone – 5.5: Replaced early in the second half, and couldn’t really cope with the away side’s midfield.
Sam Clucas – 7.5: Hull’s best player today by some distance. Brilliant range of passing from the 25-year-old, and protected the defence as well as he possibly could.
Robert Snodgrass – 7: Continued his fine start to the season with a well-taken penalty. Looked like a threat whenever he got the ball, but the loss of Diomandé did not help him at all.
Adama Diomandé – 6: Sacrificed for Maguire after Livermore’s red card. Seemed slightly isolated up to that point but might have enjoyed the second half more.
Abel Hernández – 5: Tried his best to be a threat, but was isolated. Hull going down to ten men only made that worse.
Harry Maguire (Diomandé 42) – 5; Thrown in at the deep end right before half time, and Maguire patently wasn’t ready for the challenge ahead. Very tough afternoon.
Ryan Mason (Huddlestone 58) – 5.5: Replaced Huddlestone just before the hour mark but didn’t make much of a difference in his time on the pitch.
Dieumerci Mbokani (Hernández 77) – 6: Looked like his pace might cause the Arsenal defence problems, especially having won the penalty, but had no influence after that.
Arsenal Player Ratings:
Petr Cech – 6: Didn’t have much to do on what was a pretty quiet afternoon for Cech. However, he was caught out badly by the pace of Mbokani in giving away the penalty.
Héctor Bellerín – 6: Pacey, but generally quiet. Most of the action was going on ahead of him.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7.5: Hasn’t put a foot wrong in any match he has played so far for Arsenal, and that also was the case here. Typically confident.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5: Strong performance from the captain, but didn’t face much of a challenge from Abel Hernández in the Hull attack.
Nacho Monreal – 6: Similar to Bellerín, the Spaniard was a spare part for the most part (through no fault of his own, it must be said)
Francis Coquelin – 7: Decent performance from Coquelin. Moved well between defence and attack and showed good composure in midfield. However, the time for Xhaka is surely approaching.
Santi Cazorla – 7: An assured display from the midfielder, but this wasn’t really a game that needed his strengths. Like the rest of the team, he was comfortable. However, another referee might have sent him off after one or two rash challenges.
Theo Walcott – 8: Showed little sign of the injury that kept him out midweek, Walcott was lively throughout. Well-taken finish for his goal after a wonderful one-two with Alex Iwobi.
Mesut Özil – 6: Not quite anonymous, but didn’t have much influence either. The game passed him by somewhat. Still yet to take command of a game this season
Alex Iwobi – 9: Brilliant display from the young winger. Fantastic play with Walcott to set up the latter’s goal, deserves the first goal himself through his performance today alone.
Alexis Sánchez – 8: Involved in a lot of the action, and scored at least one of the goals. However, his decision to take the penalty in place of Cazorla, who had scored the last two, was unprofessional and selfish.
Granit Xhaka (Cazorla 67) – 7: Top quality strike for his goal. Should be starting, there is simply no justification for his exclusion.
Mohamed Elneny (Iwobi 77) – 6: Steadied the ship in midfield but that was about it.
Lucas Pérez (Walcott 87) – N/A: Not enough time to make a significant impact