FA Cup: Hull City hold Arsenal to goalless draw at Emirates as goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic turns hero
After 14 consecutive wins in the FA Cup, Arsenal were finally held to goalless draw at Emirates Stadium in the fifth round by Hull City. A second-string side could not find a way past Steve Bruce’s side with goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic proving to be the hero for the visitors with a number of fine saves.
Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Koscielny, Mertesacker (C), Gibbs, Campbell, Flamini, Elneny, Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott
Hull City: Jakupovic, Maguire, Davies, Bruce, Tymon, Taylor, Meyler (C), Maloney, Elmohamady, Powell, Diomande
This was the third time in as many years that the Gunners were facing off against Hull City in the FA Cup. Arsenal came out on top on the previous two occasions – the 2014 FA Cup final and the third round game last season.
It was also a landmark game for Arsene Wenger. The fifth round clash was his 100th game in the competition – a trophy he has won six times in his career with the north London side. Danny Welbeck also made his first start after more than 300 days on the sidelines. He had a dream return when he came on as a substitute and scored the winner against Premier League leaders Leicester City.
The Gunners started with Theo Walcott leading the attack with Alex Iwobi behind him. Danny Welbeck started the game on the left while Joel Campbell started on the right. Mohamed Elneny was paired with Mathieu Flamini in midfield. Predictably, the home side dominated possession even though it was a second string side.
Elneny, playing his second FA Cup game, started brightly in the opening stages of the game. The midfielder first provided a neat through ball inside the box to find Flamini whose shot from an acute angle was turned away for a corner. The Egyptian midfielder had a shot from the subsequent set-piece and was denied a penalty for a handball from defender Alex Bruce.
Walcott was then set through by Elneny and he managed to get a cross into the box. Welbeck rose above the rest to head it on target but the header went straight at Jakupovic who managed to hold on to it with ease. Walcott himself had a shot on goal moments later, but couldn’t get enough force or curl on it to beat the goalkeeper.
It was all Arsenal even after 15 minutes with Chambers first releasing Welbeck through on goal only to see his shot blocked. A number of passes around the box then set up Iwobi who tried to curl it into the far corner but failed to get the shot on target.
At the other end, Hull City thought they had a penalty when Maguire went down in the box under pressure from Campbell. But referee Mike Dean had blown the whistle only to give Maguire a yellow card for simulation. Manager Steve Bruce was off his seat and protesting the decision but replays showed there was barely any contact to warrant his fall to ground.
Frustration got the better of the visitors as Maloney then went into the book for a foul on Walcott who was breaking through the centre with the ball. 19-year-old Iwobi then made a superb run through the Hull defence and got into the box but was eventually denied by Jakupovic as he ran out of space and options to pass.
Hull only managed to put some pressure on David Ospina and the Arsenal defence towards the end of the half. A couple of corner kicks were dealt with by the defence but one counter-attack saw Laurent Koscielny receive a yellow card for bringing down Adama Diomande. However, they managed to keep the Gunners at bay for the first 45 minutes
Half-Time: Arsenal 0-0 Hull City
Arsenal started the second period brightly and almost took the lead two minutes in. A sweeping move saw Kieran Gibbs set up Walcott but his shot from near the penalty spot was dealt with by Jakupovic. Minutes later, Chambers was brought down in the box with no penalty given. The Gunners recovered the ball and Iwobi was able to take a shot on goal, only for it to be deflected wide off a defender.
Campbell almost opened the scoring when Arsenal received a free-kick on the right when Welbeck was fouled. His curling effort first saw Jakupovic go the wrong way before he recovered and dived to his right. His outstretched arm just about managed to make contact with the ball but that was enough to deflect the shot on to the far post and away.
Welbeck also went close in the 63rd minute with a shot from the edge of the box. It took a slight deflection and looked destined to go into the top corner before Jakupovic came to the rescue again with a fine save.
Wenger then rang in the changes with a little over 20 minutes to go and brought on the cavalry to find a goal. Campbell and Welbeck made way for Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez. The French striker almost made an immediate impact and forced Jakupovic into making his eighth save of the match. Iwobi then made way for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Arsenal used their final substitution.
While Giroud managed to make a nuisance of himself in the box, the same was not the case with Alexis. The Chilean forward seemed to have an off-day as he first skied an effort well wide and then failed to release Walcott down the right, conceding possession.
Tom Huddlestone had the visitors’ best chance of the game when Hull countered but his free shot on goal was hit straight at Ospina, who blocked the shot and gathered the ball. Oxlade-Chamberlain then freed himself for a shot in the box but the effort was well wide.
Alexis had a chance to score with a free-kick in the 90th minute after he was fouled outside the box but Jakupovic was up to the task again. Four minutes of stoppage time were added and despite Arsenal’s best efforts to score a goal, Hull City’s second-choice goalkeeper held on to the ball even in the last play of the game and forced a replay.