Arsenal held by Hull in FA Cup stalemate
PUBLISHED: 14:38 20 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:38 20 February 2016
Arsenal 0 Hull City 0
FA Cup holders Arsenal will have to travel to Humberside for a replay after being shut out by Hull in Saturday’s scoreless fifth round tie.
The Gunners – who made nine changes to their line-up – dominated in a repeat of the 2014 final, but they were unable to find a way past Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
It means Arsene Wenger’s side must renew battle with the Championship promotion favourites for a second time, on a date yet to be arranged at the KC Stadium.
Aside from an early Tigers break, when left-back Josh Tymon stabbed a hopeful attempt into the side netting, it was one-way traffic for most of the first half.
Arsenal might have had a penalty when Mohamed Elneny’s close-range effort struck the outstretched hand of Alex Bruce, while Alex Iwobi twice went close to opening the scoring.
Jakupovic was soon called into action, spreading himself to foil the lively Danny Welbeck after Calum Chambers’ through ball had pierced the Hull defence.
Chambers created another good opportunity with a quick-thinking cross to find Theo Walcott, who turned his marker and drilled a low shot that Jakupovic blocked with his ankle.
The visitors did occasionally threaten at set-pieces, with Harry Maguire heading over from a corner and Curtis Davies having an effort charged down after Laurent Koscielny gave away a free-kick.
Although the scoresheet remained blank at half-time, Arsenal were back on the attack straight after the restart, with Kieran Gibbs cutting the ball back for Walcott, who sidefooted it straight at the keeper.
Elneny set up Iwobi, whose drive was deflected wide, and Joel Campbell came closest of all with a low free-kick that was destined for the net until the diving Jakupovic clawed it onto the post.
The keeper came to his side’s rescue again soon afterwards with another superb stop, adjusting his position in mid-air after Welbeck unleashed a shot that took a deflection.
Unsurprisingly, Arsenal turned to the substitutes’ bench in an attempt to snap the stalemate, with Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez both entering the fray for the final quarter of the game.
There were opportunities for both of the new arrivals, but neither made the most of them – while the third Gunners substitute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also scuffed a chance wide late on.
And the scene seemed set for a repeat of the previous week’s drama when Sanchez was felled on the edge of the penalty area in added time – but the Chilean’s free-kick was parried by Jakupovic to ensure a replay.
Arsenal: Ospina; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Elneny, Flamini; Campbell (Giroud 67), Iwobi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 73), Welbeck (Sanchez 67); Walcott.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.