Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hull City v Arsenal: Wenger calls on spirit to end winless run

SoccerNews in English Premier League 6 Mar 2016


Arsene Wenger wants to see more evidence of the battling qualities that secured a 2-2 derby draw against Tottenham when Arsenal travel to Hull City for an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Tuesday.

Wenger is likely to field a much-changed XI from the side that earned a share of the spoils at White Hart Lane in the Premier League, despite falling behind on the back of Francis Coquelin’s red card early in the second half.

But there is a need to taste victory once more at the earliest possible opportunity, with the goalless draw at Emirates Stadium in the initial tie beginning an ongoing five-match winless run for Arsenal.

“We’ve shown an outstanding performance, attitude and resolute spirit,” Wenger told Arsenal Player, reflecting on Alexis Sanchez’s 76th-minute equaliser. 

“Our spirit was questioned, our attitude was questioned and I think we gave the right response, which was not easy.

“The team needs to take encouragement and reproduce that kind of attitude in every single game.”

Sanchez was on target in the previous round of the cup against Burnley, but his Tottenham strike was the Chile international’s first in the Premier League since October.

Wenger could look to encourage a scoring run from Sanchez, although Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell were all on the bench on Saturday and may return in a reworked forward line.

The options in midfield are not as plentiful for the Frenchman, with Coquelin required to serve his ban and Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla remaining long-term absentees.

Experienced holding player Mathieu Flamini could feature alongside Mohamed Elneny, with the latter fresh from an impressive full Premier League debut, while teenage Alex Iwobi will be hopeful of maintaining his 100 per cent appearance record in this season’s FA Cup for the holders.

Hull City are also coming into the match following a setback in their own title ambitions at Championship level.

Steve Bruce’s men are without a win or a goal in their past two outings, with a 0-0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday followed by a 1-0 defeat at Birmingham City.

“We’ll pick ourselves up from the result at Birmingham and get ready to go again,” said captain Michael Dawson on Hull’s official website.

“There are still plenty of games to be played and plenty of points to play for. There will be ups and downs along the way, as we’ve seen with results elsewhere. 

“We’ve got a big FA Cup game against Arsenal to look forward to now and we’ll see where we are when we come back to playing in the league.” 

Bruce has a fully fit squad to choose from but, as at the Emirates Stadium, he is expected to turn to his back-up players as a return to the top flight at the first time of asking remains Hull’s priority.


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