If Chelsea completely outplayed the Gunners in the last game, their next fixture will be trickier. A rejuvenated Hull side will definitely keep them on their toes when they face off early on Saturday. Here are the 3 key areas where the game will be won or lost.
Alexis Sanchez vs Andrea Ranocchia
Apart from the disastrous display against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week, the Chilean has been nothing short of phenomenal for Arsenal so far. He is the joint top scorer in the Premier League with Chelsea’s Diego Costa with 15 goals. Problems have arisen as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been quite undecided about his concrete position yet.
With the return of Olivier Giroud who was in hot form, Sanchez has been pushed to the left flank and he has seen less of the ball there. A constant pursuer of the ball, Sanchez never ceases to chase defenders, forcing them to make mistakes. His off the ball work-rate is his secret to success and Hull will be wary of his tenacity in the attacking third. With him around, one cannot afford to take it easy.
He will find a tough opponent in Hull’s new recruit Andrea Ranocchia. The Inter Milan loanee has been impressive from the start and has already registered an assist from the back Hull’s last game against Liverpool. The 28-year-old centre-half has had experience at top level football and has been a level up for Hull’s backline.
Mesut Ozil vs Alfred N’Diaye
Ozil is the heartbeat of Arsenal’s attack. The Gunners have scored the highest number of goals in the Premier League this season along with Liverpool and the German playmaker has played a significant role in it. While assist was his strongest attribute until last season, he has found a knack for scoring now. His ability to hold the ball and find a perfect pass in the attacking third makes him one of the best number 10s in Europe and Hull will be more than aware of it.
Özil has completed 1138 passes this season with a pass accuracy of 87%, of which 65% have been forward passes. He will be up against N’Diaye. The Villarreal loanee has started his Premier League career with a bang. He has already netted once, against Liverpool in the last game, and was pretty dominant in the midfield.
Theo Walcott vs Andrew Robertson
The England forward has been quite clinical this season for a change. Despite the injuries stalling him, Walcott has managed to score 14 goals so far in all competitions and can be a big threat for Hull.
He will be up against the prized prospect Andrew Robertson. Despite his young age, the side-back was in huge demand in the January transfer window and Hull boss had to work hard to retain him. Walcott will in no way have it easy.
Stats via Squawka.com