FA Cup: Arsenal comfortably beat Hull City 4-0 in replay but lose key players to injury
Arsenal beat Hull City 4-0 in the FA Cup replay at the KC Stadium on Tuesday night to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition. Two goals apiece from Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott were enough for the Gunners to see off Steve Bruce’s side who have had an impeccable record at home in recent months. However, Arsene Wenger will be sweating over injuries to Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsey, all three of whom had to be substituted.
Hull City: Jakupovic, Bruce, Maguire, Davies, Odubajo, Elmohamady, Meyler, Huddlestone, Diame, Powell, Diomande
Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Flamini, Elneny, Walcott, Iwobi, Campbell, Giroud
Arsene Wenger made a number of changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby. Calum Chambers came in at right-back while Kieran Gibbs played at left-back.
Mathieu Flamini and Alex Iwobi were deployed in midfield with Mohamed Elneny while the attacking trio comprised of Olivier Giroud leading the line with Koel Campbell on the right and Theo Walcott on the left.
First Half: Giroud ends goal drought
Arsenal almost took the lead as early as the third minute when Theo Walcott put the ball in the back of the net after a lob over the defence found him near the six-yard box. But he was in an offside position when he received the ball and the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
Joel Campbell also had a chance soon after when he was through on goal and rode a tackle to set himself up for a shot in the box, but it did not have enough curl on it to find the target.
The match was stopped for a while soon after when Mertesacker and Powell clashed heads while going up for an aerial duel. Both players needed treatment on the pitch and it was the German defender who came off worse in spite of Powell suffering a worse cut. Though both players managed to get back on their feet and continue playing, Mertesacker soon gave way to Nacho Monreal, unable to continue with a possible concussion.
The home side had a great chance to open the scoring when a free-kick from the left flank was sent in and, after the ball pinballed inside the box, Ospina was forced into two reaction saves before the linesman raised his flag for offside.
However, it was the Gunners who took the lead after some shoddy decision-making saw David Meyler try to pass the ball back to goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. The ball fell to an alert Olivier Giroud and he pounced on the opportunity to score past a hapless Jakupovic to make it 1-0 and end a drought of 12 games without a goal.
Second Half: Injury crisis worsens for Arsenal
The second-half saw Arsenal lose a second centre-back to injury as Gabriel Paulista suffered a muscular injury and had to be hauled off. Aaron Ramsey was quickly forced into action and a rearrangement at the back saw Mathieu Flamini move to right-back and Calum Chambers move to central defence to team up with Nacho Monreal. Seeing a make-shift defence, Steve Bruce brought on Sone Aluko for David Meyler as they looked for an equaliser.
But it was Olivier Giroud who managed to score a second after a Theo Walcott cross was deflected into his path. The French striker was unmarked and scored from the edge of the six-yard box to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Wenger’s headache was only compunded when Ramsey had to come off with a shoulder problem and he went straight down the tunnel after they made their third and final substitution with young Jeff Reine-Adelaide coming on.
But any hopes of a Hull comeback were put to bed when Theo Walcott made it 3-0 in the 77th minute. A sublime through-ball from Joel Campbell found Walcott on the left and he opened up his body to shoot towards the far post.
He made it 4-0 with two minutes of normal time to go, this time from the right side. A vicious shot on goal was deflected into the back of the net as it squeezed through Jakupovic and the near post. That was enough for Arsenal to seal a place in the quarter-final against Watford but at a steep price of injuries to three players.