There were wholesale changes from both Arsenal and Hull City for this 5th round match in the FA cup, with the visitors beating Wenger´s nine changes by one, so it was clear that neither side saw this competition as a priority. Both still wanted to win the match though and the players that did start knew it was a good chance to showcase their abilities.
So right from the start there was plenty of energy and application, although the quality of the final ball was sometimes lacking. What was more surprising, though, was that our previous nemesis Mike Dean seemed determined to referee the game fairly, turning down the chance to give Hull a penalty and booking their player for diving instead.
The fact that he had missed a handball for an Arsenal penalty earlier I will put down to caution and let him off as it was a close call. We had most of the attacking play in the first half but only managed a few shots on goal which the Hull keeper managed to deal with.
They looked a threat from set pieces and nearly made a couple of counter attacks count, so it was level at the break and all to play for although it did look as though Arsenal would make the breakthrough count eventually.
But as the second half was marked by a string of top class saves from Jakupovic, at the feet of Walcott, tipping a fantastic Campbell free kick onto the post and then stopping a wickedly deflected Welbeck shot, it began to look like it would be another one of those frustrating games for the Gunners.
Wenger turned to Alexis Sanchez, Giroud and the Ox but to no avail as the keeper produced a final vital save from an injury time free kick and now we have to squeeze the replay into an already congested fixture list. How costly will that be?