Arsenal started their defense of the FA Cup on a successful note, beating Hull City in a rematch of last year’s final and moving on to the 4th round.
After the loss to Southampton in their first game of the year, Arsene Wenger made quite a few changes to his team, bringing in David Ospina in goal, and giving Debuchy, Koscielny and Gibbs a rest. Instead, he went with Bellerin, Chambers and Monreal, with Mertesacker continuing as captain for the day.
Theo Walcott got his first start after a long time, as did Joel Campbell, with Alexis Sanchez leading the line. Contrary to the Southampton game, Arsenal were much more in control of the game, with Hull unable to exert any pressure with themselves suffering from losing players to injury and fatigue.
Arsenal knocked on the door with some well crafted moves, but were unable to find the breakthrough, with Joel Campbell missing a great opportunity to score in the first half. It finally came from a Sanchez corner, with Per Mertesacker making use of his height to score a well directed header.
The second half saw a bit more of Hull, but they never really troubled Ospina, barring a scare or two. Arsenal continued searching for the second goal, and it eventually came from Alexis Sanchez whose shot to the bottom corner was too much to handle for the Hull goalkeeper.
After the match Arsene was all praise for Alexis Sanchez, and he talked about not resting him.
The manager said, “I was tempted [to rest him]. Giroud was still suspended today and I knew that it was an important game for us. In the end, he always feels ready.
“I hope [he can keep his energy up for the rest of the season]. There’s no reason. You look at the players who have that confidence – you’re torn between the fact that when the player’s confident and keeping him playing, and giving him a rest.
“I feel that when the players are confident it’s important to keep them going, especially when they have that physical potential. He recovers very quickly and we’ll see. At the moment he doesn’t look in our tests like he has any fatigue problem.”
Arsene also praised Alexis Sanchez’s influence on the game. He said, “He always looked dangerous. He took the corner, he scored a goal and he gave a good chance to Oxlade-Chamberlain. He’s lively and always dangerous with his change of direction, his incisiveness and how penetrative he is.
“He’s interesting to watch because he has a good fighting spirit. He has a good combination of what you want to see from top players – that means that he is ready for a fight and also has talent.”
Arsenal will know whom they face in the 4th round as they get back to bringing their Premier League campaign on track.