Gavin Bergin previews the clash between Arsenal and Hull City at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow afternoon in a 3pm kick-off.
It’s been a somewhat strange start to the season for the Gunners. You can’t say they’ve fired on all cylinders, yet their first Premier League defeat only came in the last game out against Chelsea. They’re sitting on the same number of points as a “struggling” Liverpool side, yet there’s been nowhere near as big a deal made about Arsenal.
This is the type of game they would expect to win quite comfortably, yet they haven’t really clicked into gear and find themselves without eight players from arguably their strongest line up, with Mesut Ozil being the latest addition to the injury list.
Arsene Wenger has admitted he’s looking to the January transfer window already in order to bring in defensive reinforcements, with Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk being linked today.
A lot has been made about the lack of a “proper” defensive midfielder and this has no doubt contributed to the amount of goals conceded so far this season, having only kept one clean sheet in the league. They’ll be confident of picking up a win here despite all their injury worries.
Hull were in dreamland after eight minutes of last season’s FA Cup final against the Gunners. 2-0 up and on course for one of the biggest cup final upsets in history, before Arsenal pulled level and then went on to win the game in extra time. It was a thrilling game and a lot of credit must go to Hull for taking the game to their more fancied opponent.
We’re unlikely to see the same from them again tomorrow, although they will be going into the game boosted by their first league win of the season last time out again Crystal Palace.
That was also their first clean sheet of the season and came on the back of Steve Bruce switching back to the tried and trusted 3-5-2 formation that Hull used to great effect last year. They”ll be expected to stick with it tomorrow and will be somewhat buoyed by the fact Arsenal have so many first team players missing.
Arsenal 3-1 Hull
Arsenal to come out on top but not without a scare along the way. These are two teams who’ve struggled to keep clean sheets this season and this should see goals scored at both ends.
Gavin Bergin, Pundit Arena.