Arsenal player ratings v Hull City

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Arsenal got the defence of their FA Cup up and running with a 2-0 win over the team they beat in last year's final, Hull City in the third round at the Emirates Stadium.

The holders dominated the opening exchanges and should have been out of sight by the time the whistle had gone on 45 minutes. A number of chances went begging for the Gunners but only one came to anything.

Per Mertesacker, wearing the armband in the absence of Mikel Arteta, opened the scoring in the 20th minute after latching onto to a good corner delivery from Alexis Sanchez.

Changing tide

Soon after Alexis Sanchez found himself one-on-one with Hull City goalkeeper Steve Harper only to see the shot cleared off the line with a terrific block from Paul McShane.

The second half started very differently with Hull City coming out of the  block a lot quicker. The changing tide was more down to Arsenal's overindulgence on the ball. Soon the Gunners started to carve chances out for themselves.

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Walcott's return

Theo Walcott, starting his first game since tearing his cruciate ligament a year earlier, was put through by Santi Cazorla, who pulled stings in midfield the way many playmakers wish they could, but missed a clear chance to put Arsenal 2-0 up.

It would be his last significant contribution as the England international made way for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on 76 minutes. It looks as though it will be a long way back for Walcott in his bid to recover from the serious injury.

Nervous victory

With the game moving into the last ten minutes, Arsenal were in a compromising position with just a one goal lead. It is a time where Arsene Wenger will be thanking his lucky stars for having a player like Sanchez.

Cazorla fed him the ball 20 yards out after a good move and Sanchez effortlessly curled it into the bottom corner to give what would turn out to be an unassailable lead. The relief around the Emirates was almost tangible.

The ratings

David Ospina - Commanding on crosses; otherwise untroubled - 7

Hector Bellerin - Solid defensively; wasteful going forward -  6

Calum Chambers - Solid at the back; looks better in a central position - 6

Per Mertesacker - Showed determination to win the ball for the goal - 7

Nacho Monreal - Energetic and troublesome in attack and defence - 7

Rosicky - Incredible energy for a 34-year-old midfielder - 7

Coquelin - Won the ball back well, but could have been sent off late on - 6

Walcott - Clearly rusty and wasted very good chances - 6

Cazorla* - Superb in midfield in the absence of Aaron Ramsey & Mesut Ozil - 8

Campbell - Does not play the Arsenal way; looked out of sorts at times - 5

Sanchez - Constantly threatening and scored a decisive goal at a crucial time - 8


Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6

Akpom - N/A

Maitland-Niles - N/A

*Man of the Match

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