LONDON, England 4th December – A goal early in each half from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil allowed Arsenal to maintain their four-point advantage at the top of the Premier League table by beating Hull City 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
The hosts made five changes from the side that had won 3-0 at Cardiff City on Saturday, with Carl Jenkinson replacing the injured Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Flamini and Bendtner allowing Mikel Arteta, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud to rest on the bench.
Hull, 2-1 winners at the Emirates in September 2008, made two alterations to the side that beat Liverpool 3-1 on Sunday — the East Yorkshire club’s first win over the Merseysiders in their history — with James Chester and Danny Graham coming in for the suspended Curtis Davies and Robert Koren, who dropped to the bench.
Bendtner had not started an Arsenal game in the Premier League since March 2011 but needed just 90 seconds to open the scoring.
Aaron Ramsey’s pass allowed Jenkinson to launch a pacy cross from the right and the Denmark forward timed his run perfectly to head it past Allan McGregor in the Hull goal.
McGregor soon had to save a close-range shot from Laurent Koscielny as Arsenal dominated and Bendtner almost doubled the lead when the Scotland goalkeeper could not hold on to Germany playmaker Ozil’s shot. Bendtner was first to the loose ball but was too clumsy trying to take it past McGregor and ended up putting it wide.
Yannick Sagbo failed to connect with a decent ball to the back post as Hull retaliated for the first time but Arsenal were soon back in control, with Koscielny scooping over from a corner and Aaron Ramsey too high with a drive from outside the box.
McGregor did well to tip a better Ramsey effort round a post but Hull began to enjoy some possession and a dangerous cross from Tom Huddlestone flashed across the Arsenal box before Chester headed wide from a corner.
The last chance of the half was Arsenal’s, with Ozil heading a Bendtner cross wide, but he doubled the scoring within two second-half minutes.
Monreal only just kept the ball in play in the build up but Ramsey’s reverse pass gave Ozil just enough goal to aim at and he slipped the ball effortlessly past McGregor.
The goalkeeper again did well to deny Ramsey and Bendtner’s header from the corner was headed off the line by Robbie Brady.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was hurt when Sagbo slid in and caught his head but he was soon able to continue and the Pole saved a shot from Jake Livermore shortly afterwards.
With the game all but won Arsenal sent on Theo Walcott and Wilshere for the final 17 minutes, with Bendtner receiving plenty of applause as he trotted off.