Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal v Hull - managers' focus

Arsene Wenger and Marco Silva were pitted against each another on Saturday lunchtime as Arsenal defeated Hull 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger served the last game of his four-match touchline ban as the Gunners returned to winning ways following last weekend's damaging defeat at Premier League leaders Chelsea, while relegation-battling Hull were looking to build on their 2-0 win over Liverpool.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how Wenger and Silva fared.

TEAM SELECTION

Hector Bellerin was a surprise inclusion in the Arsenal starting XI after suffering concussion Stamford Bridge, with Wenger making one change as Nacho Monreal dropped to the bench with Kieran Gibbs asked to stifle the threat of Hull midfielder Kamil Grosicki. Silva made two changes to the side which beat the Reds with Oumar Niasse, who scored after coming off the bench last week, and Lazar Markovic replacing Abel Hernandez and Evandro Goebel.

TACTICS

The visitors set out with a five-man midfield in an attempt negate Arsenal's fluid passing play through the middle of the park. And, w ith Bellerin recovering from a nasty collision with Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, the Tigers seemingly looked to target the Spanish right-back, who looked shaky in the opening exchanges. Arsenal have looked bereft of ideas of late and, with a lack of movement from their starting front three of Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, the hosts offered little going forward.

CHANGES

An ineffective Walcott went off midway through the second half, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain moving from the centre to the right wing. But he looked out of sorts out wide and Hull defender Harry Maguire was on hand to prevent the Arsenal midfielder from having an impact. The visitors rarely threatened going forward, with Niasse left up front on his own. Surprisingly, Silva did not make any significant tactical adjustments to try to grab a point after Sanchez had given Arsenal a 34th-minute lead.

OUTCOME

Overall, it turned out to be a comfortable victory for Wenger's side. Hull held an early advantage in possession as the hosts took a while to settle, but Silva's tactics and lack of attacking changes suggested his side had been looking to sneak a point. Wenger, despite being in the stands, will have been pleased to see his team pick up three points, but their performance was still below the standard demanded by many Arsenal fans. Hull, meanwhile, still have it all to do in their bid to remain in the top flight.

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