League leaders Arsenal welcome Hull City on Wednesday night hoping to continue their blistering start to the season which has seen them accumulate 31 points from 13 games and sit four points clear at the top of the table. Hull will be incredibly pleased with their position so far, sitting 10th in the league and having picked up 17 points, they are 7 points clear of the bottom three places. With their main priority to stave off relegation, they will hope to continue performing as they have done, especially against the teams around them who they likelier to produce results against.
Arsenal go into the match in fantastic form, winning 5 out of their last 6 matches and only dropping 8 points so far in the 13 matches they’ve played. Their last result was an impressive 3-0 win away to Cardiff. Many people assumed this was a game where Arsenal could struggle as Cardiff have done well at home so far this season becoming up results against both Manchester clubs so far. However, Aaron Ramsey came back to haunt his former club by scoring two goals, which takes his tally to 8 in a season where he has been nothing short of remarkable.
Hull City will also be in joyous mood having just pulled off one of the surprise results of the season so far with a 3-1 home win against Liverpool. Not many people would have given them a chance in this game but they defied the odds in what was a deserved result for a dogged and assured display against what was a very below par Liverpool performance to say the least.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo are expected to be back until after the New Year whilst Podolski will be aiming to return sometime this month but will not be fit enough for this game. Arsenal will be delighted to have Walcott fit and available after returning from injury against Cardiff as a substitute and will to provide extra support for Giroud. This may be an ideal game to bring in Walcott and a few key players like Ramsey and Arteta with games coming thick and fast but Arsene Wenger may decide to use him from the bench again as he maybe lacking match fitness.
Curtis Davies will be suspended for the game after picking up his fifth yellow card against Liverpool which will be a blow to Hull as he is one of their main defenders. Aluko and McShane are long term absentees but apart from that Steve Bruce should have most of his players fit for the trip to the Emirates.
Possible Team Line-Ups
- Hull have won only one game out of six previous trips to Arsenal.
- Hull have also won just one of their last 30 Barclays Premier League away games, drawing 7 times and losing 22 times.
- The Gunners have kept five clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions, conceding just one goal in the other match (0-1 at Man Utd).
- Wojciech Szczesny has the best saves to shots ratio (81%) in the Premier League this season (min 16 shots on target faced).
- Özil has provided the most assists in the Premier League this season (6).
Arsenal: Per Mertesacker
The German giant has been a rock in defence so far this season for Arsenal and has been one of the main reasons for Arsenal’s excellent defensive performances. He has missed 2 games out of 13 this season for Arsenal one of which they lost to Man United 1-0 and it his ability to read the opposition’s attacking movements which has made him such an important figure in the Gunners line-up this season. Although it took him a while to adapt to the Premier League, he has worked on various attributes and now what he lacks in pace, he makes up for in knowledge of movement and positioning and has been able to keep former caption Thomas Vermaelan. Tackling has been one of his stronger assets this season with an 85% tackle success rate as well as wining 69% of his 26 ground duels he has been involved in. It will be hard for Hull City to keep possession against Arsenal but will be hoping that set-pieces will be a good way to score. However they are likely to find this tough with Mertesacker’s height and Arsenal’s shrewd defending.
Hull City: Robert Brady
The Republic of Ireland international is Hull’s top scorer so far this season with 3 goals and 1 assist and has been one of their standout performers this season. Brady adds a much need extra attacking edge as well as having a shot accuracy of 80% so he will try to have an attempt at goal whenever given the chance. Passing has also been a strong asset for Brady with 82% out of 251 of his passes being accurate. He has also been good at taking his chances scoring 3 goals out of 10 shots on target. He will definitely be one to watch out for as he can score and provide goals as well. The 21 year-old is one of the most attacking minded and creative players that Hull City posses in terms of his runs and the types of balls he plays when getting into the oppositions half so he’ll be one to watch out for from Arsenal’s point of view.
Hull City will take a huge amount of confidence from the win against Liverpool and will be looking for a similar upset when they travel to the Emirates. However Hull’s away record is poor and will have to improve on recent away performances if they are to trouble Arsenal. The Gunner’s will want to just carry on with the way they have been performing of late with a star-studded midfield providing silky play as well as end-results. If the likes of Ozil, Giroud and Ramsey are performing, I don’t think they’re will be an upset like the one against Liverpool