Arsenal 2 Hull City 0
( Mertersacker 20, Sanchez 82 )

Arsenal secured safe page into the FA Cup fourth round with a comfortable win over Hull City at the Emirates stadium. In a repeat of last season’s final at Wembley, the two sides were drawn together in this season’s 3rd round draw, and as in that dramatic final last May, the Gunners emerged victorious. This time however, there was to be no initial drama and early capitulation, only an Arsenal goal in either half. Per Mertrsacker headed in from Alexis Sanchez’s corner, and the the Chile striker himself was on hand eight minutes from time to curl wide of and beyond the dive of Steve Harper. Hull looked lively at times, but rarely threatened David Ospina’s goal. Mention must be made of Francis Coquelin and his strong defensive midfield showing, which surely makes him a strong candidate to start more games.

Sanchez was once again the difference in this changed starting line up which saw Joel Campbell, Hector Bellerin, and the lively Tomas Rosicky all start. After a year on the sidelines, the Gunners were also boosted with the welcome return of Theo Walcott, who made a solid return lasting 75 minutes. since sustaining cruciate knee ligament damage against Spurs.

After four minutes, the Gunners’ intent became evident when Campbell worked an opening with a neat Sanchez return, but the Costa Rica striker shot too close to Steve Harper who saved with his legs. It was the beginning of the Sanchez show, which would last for all but seven minutes of the game when he was replaced by Chuba Akpom.

When Coquelin’s excellent ball from the deep found, Walcott, the pace of the ball proved too much for the Gunners’ number 14 who couldn’t connect. After 13 minutes, Sanchez chased back and won the ball back from the Hull defender. Cazorla picked up and fed Walcott, with Sanchez then lobbing his effort just over Harper and the bar.

Hull’s first response came when Tom Ince struck wide after his run at Nacho Monreal. With their possession and neat approach play however, it wasn’t any surprise when Arsenal took the lead.

Sanchez swung in a corner, and Mertersacker nodded in for the opener after 20 minutes. It was a clever right sided cross from Bellerin and follow up defensive clearance which earned the corner.

Arsenal were energised and should’ve doubled their lead moments later.

Sanchez ran onto Rosicky’s pass, and his shot beat Harper but last defender Paul McShane saved Hull by clearing off the line. The pressure was on the Hull back line and now Monreal saw his header hit off Sagbo, but then saved by Harper.

Columbian keeper, Ospina had been confident in claiming the ball and the fans took to him, chanted his name every time he took a goal kick. When Harry Maguire headed dangerously from Stephen Quinn’s corner however, Ospina produced a fine save low down.

Three minutes after the break, Rosicky played in Alexis, but his shot was too close to Harper who saved. Campbell was finding matters challenging, but his experience of the tough English game will hold him in good stead moving forwards. He showed flashes of brilliance but dragged one second half shot wide.

Cazorla has been showing more of the brilliance, and consistently over the festive period. He found Walcott, with a defence splitting pass, but as Harper came out, Walcott slipped his shot wide of post. That ring rustiness will clear.

Sanchez was purring all over the pitch, and when the ball didn’t sit right for him, Harper denied the Arsenal number 17, but that wasn’t to last. Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injected pace, but found Sanchez’s pass just behind him from the left.

Eight minutes from time however and Sanchez produced another stunner. Cazorla’s fizzing run and reverse pass fell perfectly for The Gunners’ striker. He let fly with a shot which curled beyond Harper’s outstretched arm to notch his sixteenth goal of the season and one which sent Arsenal into the the hat for the FA Cup fourth round draw.