Bendtner grabs rare goal as Arsenal overcome Hull
PUBLISHED: 21:38 04 December 2013 | UPDATED: 07:41 05 December 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0
Nicklas Bendtner netted his first league goal for Arsenal in three years as they comfortably saw off Hull to remain four points clear.
The big Dane – who made a rare start as Arsene Wenger rested some of his first-choice players – headed in the opener after just 90 seconds before Mesut Ozil doubled the Gunners’ lead early in the second half.
Wenger made five changes to the starting line-up, but his reshuffled side made a dream start, with Bendtner heading home after Carl Jenkinson ran on to Aaron Ramsey’s defence-splitting pass and whipped over the cross.
It looked as if that might trigger an avalanche of goals, with the home side setting up camp in the Hull half for most of the first half hour and peppering Allan McGregor with shots.
The Tigers goalkeeper did well to parry Laurent Koscielny’s header and then fumbled a drive from Ozil, with Bendtner reaching the loose ball but not quite managing to turn it in.,
Santi Cazorla went close twice, as did the effervescent Ramsey, who also drilled a low, swerving effort that McGregor did well to tip behind on 32 minutes.
Bendtner supplied a cross for Ozil, whose glancing header flew just wide, although the Humbersiders belatedly found their feet towards the end of the first period without creating any clear opportunities.
But Arsenal began the second half just as they had the first – with a goal inside two minutes of the whistle, and Ramsey was the provider again, evading two men before teeing up Ozil to slot casually past McGregor.
Soon afterwards, the German returned the favour with a through ball for Ramsey, but McGregor forced the shot behind and, from the corner, Bendtner’s header was nodded off the line by Robbie Brady.
Hull’s on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore had a chance to pull a goal back when he seized a stray pass from Koscielny, but could only thump the ball straight at Wojciech Szczesny.
Tigers’ substitute George Boyd also flashed a header wide, but that was about as close as the visitors came to breaching Arsenal’s defence, who have now recorded four clean sheets in a row.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey (Arteta 80), Flamini; Rosicky (Wilshere 73), Ozil, Cazorla; Bendtner (Walcott 73).