The Tigers suffered a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime as Alexis Sanchez scored twice to give his side the win.
Sanchez scored a controversial opener 12 minutes before half time when he appeared to send the ball into the net with his hand, before adding a second from the penalty spot deep into added time at the end of the game after Sam Clucas had been sent off for his own handball on the line.
In between, the Tigers certainly gave as good as they got and could feel justifiably aggrieved that Arsenal hadn’t been reduced to ten men themselves after Kieran Gibbs had taken down Lazar Markovic as the last defender between the attacker and Petr Cech’s goal. The big decisions didn’t go the Tigers’ way, and the home side took all three points.
Marco Silva made two changes to his side following last weekend’s win against Liverpool. Abel Hernandez missed out through injury and was replaced by Oumar Niasse, while Evandro dropped to the bench with Markovic coming in.
Arsenal were almost gifted the first chance of the afternoon when Clucas inadvertently passed to Sanchez inside the Tigers’ box, but the defence were in place to eventually crowd the Arsenal man out.
Sanchez had another lucky break a few minutes later, but this time he poked a shot straight into the hands of Eldin Jakupovic.
Markovic almost set up the Tigers’ first chance of the afternoon with nine minutes on the clock. After stealing possession from Alex Iwobi inside his own half of the field, Markovic was soon sprinting down the right before crossing low into the six-yard box where Niasse was inches away from applying the finishing touch.
Some lovely attacking play then brought another chance the Tigers’ way. Alfred N’Diaye’s lovely cross-field ball picked out Kamil Grosicki in space on the left and when his cross with the outside of his right foot found the head of Niasse, his header was well kept out by Cech.
From the resulting corner, Arsenal broke away quickly and created a shooting chance for Hector Bellerin who could only find the side-netting.
Sanchez had a much better opportunity seconds later, but he dragged a low shot wide when well placed inside the box.
Mesut Ozil sent a decent chance over the bar when he met Sanchez’s cross with a powerful volley ten yards out before Clucas had to make an important block to deny Theo Walcott.
With Arsenal starting to apply more and more pressure, the opening goal arrived on 33 minutes. The Tigers looked to have done well to block the danger in their own six-yard box after the ball had come in from the home side’s left wing, but a fortunate rebound fell to Sanchez and he managed to bundle the ball into the net although replays appeared to show the final touch was with his hand.
It was harsh on the Tigers who had looked to play some attractive football in Arsenal territory during the opening 45 minutes, but they trailed at half time.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired wide seconds after the restart but the Tigers were soon threatening to level. The pace of Markovic carried him deep into the Arsenal half and when he crossed, Niasse controlled well before seeing a decent shot beaten away by Cech.
Walcott was booked for dissent after he complained about not being awarded a free kick before Gibbs was also booked, although he may well have been lucky to stay on the field after taking Markovic down as the last Arsenal defender between the Tigers’ winger and the Cech’s goal.
A first change came on the hour as Evandro replaced Grosicki and he would have had visions of making an instant impact when he saw Andy Robertson looking to pick him out inside the box, but the pass was far too heavy.
Ahmed Elmohamady made his return to club action as a 66th-minute replacement for Omar Elabdellaoui before Andrea Ranocchia was booked for a foul on Sanchez.
Niasse found the side-netting from Evandro’s near-post corner as the game entered the final ten minutes, but the big chance to equalise came four minutes from time. Again Evandro was the man delivering the corner, this time to the far post where substitute Adama Diomande, on in place of Tom Huddlestone, sent a header over the bar when he maybe should have done better.
Still pushing men forward, the Tigers were eventually caught on the counter-attack in added time. With Jakupovic out of position having been beaten to a long ball by Sanchez, a cross was sent to the far post where Lucas Perez headed the ball goalward. Clucas blocked on the line, but the assistant spotted that he’d used his arm and a penalty was awarded. Clucas was sent off, and Sanchez sent the spot kick into the bottom corner to put the result beyond doubt.
It had been another fine effort from Silva’s men against another of the Premier League’s ‘big guns’, but there was to be no reward on this occasion.
Arsenal: Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lucas Perez 82), Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott (Mohamed Elneny 68), Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi (Danny Welbeck 82), Alexis Sanchez.
Subs Not Used: David Ospina, Nacho Monreal, Gabriel, Olivier Giroud.
Hull City: Eldin Jakupovic, Andy Robertson, Harry Maguire, Tom Huddlestone (Adama Diomande 78), Alfred N’Diaye, Sam Clucas, Andrea Ranocchia, Omar Elabdellaoui (Ahmed Elmohamady 66), Kamil Grosicki (Evandro 60), Oumar Niasse, Lazar Markovic.
Subs Not Used: David Marshall, David Meyler, Shaun Maloney, Josh Tymon.
Referee: Mr M. Clattenburg.