Nicklas Bendtner made the most of his first Premier League start for Arsenal since March 2011 with a goal inside two minutes to send his side on their way to a comfortable victory over Hull City. Mesut Ozil scored another, similarly early in the second half, to effectively seal the win and maintain Arsenal’s four point advantage at the top of the Premier League.
Heading into the contest at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger talked up his side’s ability to handle the pressure of leading the league and with people beginning to seriously discuss the prospect of the club ending their long trophy drought. That was certainly in evidence on Wednesday with Arsenal putting in an impressive display to claim their third-straight league win, all without conceding a goal.
Wenger had also spoken in his pre-match press conference about the need to rotate players, especially in this busy month of fixtures. He did that on this occasion, with five changes made, of which only one -- through an injury to Bacary Sagna -- was forced upon him.
Undoubtedly the biggest surprise was the decision to rest Olivier Giroud a hand a start to Bendtner. While the Danish striker has earned much scorn, some of it justified, when motivated he has plenty of ability with which to show. And he enjoyed a dream start in front of his skeptical fans. After a nice move involving Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey to setup Carl Jenkinson for a crossing opportunity, the full-back’s fine delivery was headed in by Bendtner from six yards out.
Against a Hull side that came into the match on a high following their 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday, Arsenal remained on top, but it would not be until the 47th minute that they added to their lead. When they did, though, it was a goal that embodied an Arsenal side full of ability and confidence. Some more quick one-touch passing on the left led to the in-form Ramsey playing a sublime reverse pass to catch out the Hull defense and put Ozil through to coolly wrong-foot Allan McGregor in the Hull goal.