Gunners too good for Tigers
Arsenal have moved to within two points of Manchester United after getting the better of Hull City 3-0.
Last Updated: 19/12/09 8:03pm
Arsenal have moved to within two points of second-placed Manchester United with a game in hand after getting the better of Hull City with a 3-0 Emirates success.
Arsene Wenger's side took the lead just before half-time when Denilson stroked home a delightful free-kick after Abou Diaby was deemed to have been brought down by George Boateng.
The visitors had the perfect chance to equalise after the interval, but Geovanni saw his spot-kick saved by Manuel Almunia after Mikael Silvestre needlessly hauled down Craig Fagan.
The Gunners made Hull pay by doubling their lead almost immediately when a fine passing move resulted in Diaby playing a low touchline cross that Eduardo converted from close-range.
The home side added the icing on the cake late on when Andrey Arshavin fed a delightful through-ball to the impressive Diaby and he took a touch before blasting home from six yards out.
Hull had enjoyed much of the possession in the early skirmishes but they had little reward in attack.
Arsenal finally shook off their lethargy in the 23rd minute when Eduardo tried to curl the ball beyond Myhill and into the corner of the net. But the Arsenal striker's effort was a yard wide of the target.
Wenger's side, without a string of first-choice players, found it difficult to break down stubborn Hull, who gave their hosts little time to settle on the ball.
A cross from Stephen Hunt in the 39th minute almost reached Fagan but Almunia collected the ball before the City striker could pounce.
Arsenal had found little rhythm in their play and Myhill, apart from a couple of long shots, had been relatively untroubled.
But the contest erupted shortly before the break when Nasri trod on the ankle of Richard Garcia as Arsenal prepared to take a free-kick.
Hunt then clashed with Nasri and a mass confrontation took place in front of referee Steve Bennett with Arsenal goalkeeper Almunia sprinting 100 yards to get involved.
Fagan tried to drag Hunt away from the incident as players from both sides became embroiled in ugly scenes. Bennett eventually booked both Hunt and Nasri when the fracas subsided.
Arsenal rubbed salt into Hull's wounds seconds later when Denilson scored from a free-kick after Boateng had fouled Diaby 25 yards from goal.
Players from both sides appeared to continue their first-half spat in the tunnel as they left the pitch at the interval.
There was already plenty of bad blood between the two clubs stemming from last season when Fabregas was accused of spitting at City's assistant Brian Horton.
Hull replaced Nick Barmby at half-time with Seyi Olofinjana but nearly went two behind straight after the re-start.
Eduardo worked an opening for himself from Arshavin's pass, but the Croatia striker put his shot wide with just Myhill to beat.
There was more controversy in the 55th minute when referee Bennett awarded Hull a penalty after Mikael Silvestre had been adjudged to have pulled the shirt of Fagan.
But Almunia saved a poor Geovanni spot-kick and then Hunt headed the rebound wide of the target.
Worse was to come for Phil Brown's side in the 59th minute when Diaby broke into the penalty area and pulled the ball back for Eduardo to tap home.
Arsenal wrapped up the points in the 80th minute when Diaby played a one-two with Arshavin and fired past Myhill.
Hunt almost scored a consolation goal for the visitors with three minutes remaining but Almunia saved his volley.The Arsenal goalkeeper's clearance then put substitute Theo Walcott in the clear at the opposite end but the England youngster put his lob just wide.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Hull City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|11||Shots off Target||4|