Arsenal Spotlight: Bendtner and Özil score in win over Hull City
Caleb Alexander played collegiate soccer at UNC-Asheville before joining the Rapids front office, first as a tickets sales executive and recently a Service Specialist. He’s also a life-long Arsenal fan and will be keeping Rapids fans updated on the Gunners throughout the 2013-2014 season.
Arsenal ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Hull City at the Emirate's Stadium Wednesday night to maintain their four point lead on top of the Premier League.
With major tests against Everton, Napoli, and Manchester City right around the corner, Arsene Wenger decided to rest some of his first choice players. Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, and Jack Wilshere were all rotated to the bench, while Bacary Sagna was kept out of the team with injury. In their place Wenger started Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson, Tomas Rosicky, Mathieu Flamini, and Nicklas Bendtner.
The start for Danish striker, Nicklas Bendtner, was his first since March 2011 after two less than successful loans to Sunderland and Juventus - and he came through quickly, scoring the opening goal inside the first two minutes. In a deadly move down the right side, Jenkinson received the ball after a series of passes between himself, Rosicky, and Aaron Ramsey, before swerving an immaculate cross into the six-yard box. Bendtner's header between two defenders found the bottom corner of the net to give the Gunners the lead.
With the confidence from the early goal, Arsenal enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in which they could have scored their second multiple times. The best opportunity of that spell came when a rebound from Mesut Özil's shot fell to Bendtner. Were it not for his heavy touch, Bendtner's dream start would have continued with his second goal of the night, but instead the ball ended up just wide of the post and out for a goal kick.
In th beginning of the second half - after some solid play to keep the ball in bounds by Nacho Monreal - Aaron Ramsey's splendid cutting pass found Özil's run through the box. Özil made it look simple from there by passing it inside the near post for his third goal of the season and a two goal Arsenal lead.
As we've seen against Southampton, Marseille, and Cardiff City since Arsenal Spotlight began, once Arsenal went two goals up the game was essentially over. Hull City never looked like getting back into the game, and to be fair, did very well just to keep the score line down.
Arsenal has now only given up 10 goals in their 14 Premier League matches this season, which is 3 less than the next best team. The defensive foundation formed by Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, and Wojciech Szczesny has truly been something to behold this season.
Arsenal are back at it again this Sunday, when they host Everton at the Emirate's Stadium. Everton are coming off their first win over Manchester United at Old Trafford since 1992 and sit in fifth place in the table, having only lost one game all season. On-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has already scored eight times in the Premier League this season, and will be the man expected to finally break through Arsenal's defense. Everton themselves, don't give up many goals, so this will likely be a tight game with the first goal being very important. Tune in to watch on Sunday at 9:00am MT on NBC Sports.