Last May, Arsenal went down 2-0 to Hull in the first eight minutes of the FA Cup, setting the stage for one of the more dramatic comebacks in Arsenal history. Today's FA Cup rematch between the two teams held considerably less drama.
Arsenal won 2-0 on the strength of a 20th minute header -- off one of six Arsenal corner kicks on the day -- from captain Per Mertesacker, and an 82nd minute strike from a ridiculously active Alexis Sanchez.
The real story, though, came in between the two goals. Despite dominating in possession and in attacks throughout the first half, Arsenal could only go up 1-0 at halftime. Near goals included an Alexis shot blocked by a sliding Paul McShane, and an attempted 1-2 involving Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott ending with Walcott directing a shot straight at Hull keeper Steve Harper.
Arsenal resumed their attack in the second half -- despite the occasional chances from Hull, including a notably pretty but ultimately too high-and-wide shot from substitute Abel Hernandez, most of the second half attacking momentum came from Arsenal. Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell, who both gave way to subs late in the match, each had stellar chances that were badly hooked to the right, and Tomas Rosicky nearly got on the scoresheet as well.
But in the 82nd minute, the inevitable happened. Alexis, on a lovely ball from Cazorla, set himself up with a terrific pivot move and finessed a shot into the corner of the goal past a diving Harper, and Hull thusly deflated.
All in all, it was a solid 3rd round win against a Premier League side. Goalie David Ospina kept a clean sheet, Walcott got a start and hung in there for 75 minutes, and assuming that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's late game knock was minor, the team left the stadium healthy and intact.
Most of the Premier League teams in competition today -- save for QPR, who lost 3-0 to Sheffield United, and Southampton, who tied Ipswich Town of the 2015 January transfer window 1-1 -- advanced with victories over decidedly lesser competitions, and all the teams will learn their fates on Monday (11:30 am PT, 12:30 pm MT, 1:30 pm CT, 2:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm GMT) with the FA Cup 4th Round draw. American TV viewers can watch the draw live on Fox Sports 1, and Arsenal fans can expect the news on The Short Fuse and on the Short Fuse's Twitter Account, @theshortfuse.
Given the 17 shots, this seems appropriate: