Arsenal 0 Hull City 0

If the FA Cup holders’ ambitions extend to retaining their trophy, Arsenal will have to go to Hull and successfully return back with a win after the Tigers held out for a valiant 0-0 draw at the Emirates stadium in Saturday’s lunch time FA Cup 5th round kick off. A succession of saves from reserve keeper Eldin Jakupovic denied the Gunners what would have been a deserved win, the second half progressing as a near parade of red and white onslaughts. However, the visitors’ Swiss keeper was not to be beaten. One thwarted Joel Campbell free kick and a Danny Welbeck swerving shot in particular summed up the quality of save and resilience of Jakupovic. Arsene Wenger looked on in disbelief, and his pre-match assertion for the keeping of FA Cup tie replays will now be tested with a replay at the KC stadium one week from Tuesday or Wednesday which Arsenal could have done well without.

In his 100th FA Cup fixture, Wenger would have wanted to have celebrated with another win, but Hull who met the Gunners for the
third year in a row, the 2014 FA Cup final, last season’s 3rd round encounter and this fifth round tie, achieved something other than the two losses in that thus far sequence.

Wenger made nine changes from the side which dramatically won against Leicester City, with only Per Mertersacker and Laurent Koscielny featuring from that game. Mohamed Elneny slotted into the midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini, with the latter the deeper lying of the two. Elneny showed touches of confidence and was soon spraying passes and throwing himself well into his additional tackling role.

With seven minutes on the clock, Elneny saw a shot clearly hit the arm of Alex Bruce. Only Elneny seemed to appeal what looked to be a clear penalty, but referee Mike Dean waved play on as Bruce cleared the danger.

Four minutes later and the Egyptian fed Theo Walcott to cross for Danny Welbeck. His low shot was true, but straight into Jakupovic’s arms.

Welbeck demonstrated an air of class, and following on from his Premier League injury time winner against the Foxes, seems intent on making up for the near year his knee injury kept him out of the game. Welbeck fed Walcott but again Jakupovic held firm. To the annoyance of the home support, this would become the theme of the afternoon.

Now Elneney, found Calum Chambers who placed the ball for Welbeck. The England man whipped his low shot to test Jakupovic. The impressive and energetic Alex Iwobi then saw his effort curl just wide of the target.

Walcott and Welbeck were switching from the left attacking role and the central positon and the attacks were continuous. Walcott chested to gain possession and control to shoot to force another save from the Hull keeper.

Welbeck’s twisting, turning run, saw him get clipped in the area, but again no penalty was the decision, as the half finished goalless.

Straight after the restart, Iwobi played in Kieran Gibbs. The left back teed up Walcott, but Jakupovic saved well from the England man.

Another penalty shout and this time Chambers charge, was halted when his heels were clipped, but again no penalty was the decision. The ball remained in play however and Elneney set up Iwobi, who saw his effort deflected wide for a corner.

Hull were defending for their FA Cup lives as the Gunners continued to be frustrated. Now Welbeck was clipped, and a free-kick was the decision. Campbell took the free kick and with the save of the match, Jakupovic stretched low to his right to tip the ball away for a corner.

David Ospina was as much a spectator as the on looking suited Petr Cech. His only cause for concern was a first half Koscielny header which could have gone anywhere as the Columbian came to punch out, but not getting a shout, Koscielny intercepted the ball and it went for a corner.

Perhaps, the Gunners best move of the game should have seen them take the lead. Ospina cleared out, Walcott then flicked the ball into the patch of Iwobi. He fed the galloping Welbeck, to unleash a fierce shot, forcing an excellent clawing save from Jakupovic.

Wenger sent on the reinforcements. Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on for Campbell, Welbeck and Iwobi respectively.

Straight away Giroud’s strength both aerial and ground made a difference as he won the ball away from his marker. The France striker let fly with a shot which Jakupovic saved.

Oxlade-Chamberlain then fired a shot downwards and wide after Hull substitute Aluko saw two earlier efforts on goal ruled offside for the visitors. Deep in time added one last Arsenal chance saw Alexis strike a free-kick, which saw Jakupovic parry the ball out for corner, and the game finished at 0-0.

Arsenal will have to be sharper in their finishing in the replay at a raucous KC stadium, a replay adding congestion to a already demanding Gunners fixture schedule, and one which they must not slip up at.