The potential chink in Arsenal's armour that Hull can attack
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Despite the odds being heavily stacked in Arsenal's favour, Hull's successive wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool using a 3-5-2 formation suggest that the Gunners' weakness in the full-back position could be exploited.
Always blessed with technically immaculate footballers, Arsenal's most prominent flaw in recent years has been a tactical imbalance, deficiencies in overall strength and lack of goalscorer. Now that Olivier Giroud has come of age, Aaron Ramsey is offering a more thoughtful approach and Francis Coquelin has been re-introduced to the team, Arsene Wenger's side have been reborn.
The only remaining flaw is at full-back, where Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal reside. These two have been directly responsible for the last four goals Arsenal have conceded, with opposition attackers beating them on the outside on each occasion. Hull's rejuvenated 3-5-2, with wing-backs tearing forward from deep, might cause the duo a few problems.
One of the main focuses of a 3-5-2 is the positional trickery of the wing-back who, neither pushing on as a winger nor needing to hold their run like a full-back, occupies a space between the lines.
In the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, the opening goal resulted from Robbie Brady charging forward from left wing-back and collecting a pass deep inside the penalty area – Martin Kelly and Wilfried Zaha assumed that the other was responsible for tracking him. Similarly, on Tuesday night Ahmed Elmohamady crossed freely for the decisive goal because neither Glen Johnson nor Raheem Sterling closed him down.
Hull constantly move the ball to their wing-backs, who launch crosses into the box whenever possible.
Bellerin and Monreal tend to hold high positions when their team-mates are dominating possession, and as such are vulnerable to breaks from Brady and Elmohamady. Wenger must impart his defensive instructions carefully; any confusion or indecision could be punished by a Hull team whose tails are up.