4th May, 2015; 20.00 BST
Chelsea are crowned champions of Premier League and they will be honoured at Anfield next week, but that does not stop other English clubs from fighting for their goals a Champions League spot and even more decorated seventeenth spot. In one such decisive fixture, Arsene Wenger takes his side to Hull City with a view of catching up with the second-placed Manchester City, who scraped through the Tottenham Hotspur test on Sunday afternoon, while Steve Bruce will look to haul maximum points from this game to keep his head above the drop zone.
Tactical Brief & Team News
Arsene Wenger revealed earlier this week that he would not have Mathieu Debuchy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta for selection, but their absence would not catalyze anything (except for the shockwave when Abou Diaby walks around in an Arsenal shirt on the turf) for the Gunners boast a squad full of players in forms of their lives. Aaron Ramsey can be expected to keep his spot in the starting eleven while Jack Wilshere will partner compatriot Theo Walcott in the dugout given the consistency of his line-up foe Santi Cazorla.
From being linked with Barcelona to making French international Mathieu Debuchy his understudy, this has been a dream run for the 20-year-old and he ought to restrain Robbie Brady while also offering the attacking edge that he usually does. There are not much that the Arsenal defense could not do against an attack comprising the likes of Nikica Jelavic and Dame Na Doye, but the latter could be expected to impose some threat.
Aaron Ramsey has been an Aaron Ramsey since his return from injury upsetting on one day and getting away with the MOTM champagne the next and his role could be the key as his distribution to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will likely decide the game.
Victory over Hull City, though frequent, has never been a bed of roses for the London side given the untiring efforts of Ahmed Elmohamady and Robbie Brady to tantalize the Arsenal fullbacks and the centre-back duo will have to ensure they dona t let they dona t offer room for the opposition forward to capitalize.
Predicted Arsenal XI: David Ospina; Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla; Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez; Olivier Giroud
Hull City were believed to face the drop before they brought down Dame Na Doye in winter and the Senegalese has played a crucial role in their retribution and even Arsenal manager, despite playing in them in a few hoursa time, believes he could catapult them to safety. If he could meet up with crosses from his wingers, David Ospina may have to pull off magic tricks to prevent the ball from hitting the net.
Mohamed Diame, who has been the midfield anchor for his English manager, still remains unavailable, but they may be able to call upon top scorer Nikica Jelavic to reinforce the in-form Dame Na Doye. David Meyler is back from suspension while defender Andy Robertson returns from an ankle problem.
Michael Dawson has been their outstanding player this season and he will be assigned the trickiest task of subduing the Arsenal attackers including Alexis Sanchez and the likes. Stopping the Chilean would be the primary focus of the defenders in black and amber as he has the ability to alter the result of the game with two or three simple moves.
Predicted Hull XI: Steve Harper; James Chester, Michael Dawson, Paul McShane; Ahmed Elmohamady, Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Quinn, Robbie Brady; Nikica Jelavic, Dame N’Doye
- Having lost at the Emirates Stadium in 2008, the Gunners are unbeaten in their last ten games against the Tigers, including a 3-2 FA Cup triumph.
- In the twenty meetings between the two sides, Hull City have only ever won twice and have lost five out of six at home.
- Despite having the best defensive record in the bottom half of the table, Hull City are very much still in the relegation scrap.
- Steve Bruce has the second worst home scoring record outside of the bottom three this season.
- Arsenals are yet to lose to a team outside of the top ten this season.
Player To Watch Out For
Olivier Giroud has been imperious in attack since returning from injury in late November, having netted seventeen goals for the Emirates Stadium outfit and he could be pivotal in deciding the result on Monday evening. Currently goal-less for 180 Premier League minutes, the Frenchman could be touted to put an end to his goal drought at KC Stadium later tonight. If Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez manage to feed him, we would be endued with one of his impeccable tap-ins from close range.
Arsenal have faced Steve Brucea s men five times in the last twelve months registering a win in four, leaving the former Manchester United defender nothing but a 2-2 draw to brag about. The Tigers come into this fixture after a morale-boosting victory over Champions League chasing Liverpool and their goal-keeper has managed two clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Liverpool before testing himself against Alexis Sanchez and the likes tonight. Despite them being in their form of the season, Arsenal can be expected to win hands down, if they could contain Ahmed Elmohamady, who is reputed to cause troubles to the Arsenal back four.