In a preview of the FA Cup final Arsenal kept control of the destiny of the fourth and final Champions League spot as Lukas Podolski scored twice in an easy Premier League win at Hull. Arsenal stay a point clear of Everton – who beat Manchester United – but nearly conceded to a Shane Long effort. The Gunners took control as Santi Cazorla set up Aaron Ramsey to fire in and Podolski buried a half-volley. Podolski turned in a loose ball after the break and Hull never threatened to peg back their FA Cup final opponents. The two teams will meet again at Wembley on 17 May and Hull’s fans began the afternoon by reminding their opponents of their 100% record at the venue, having won the 2008 Championship play-off final, and the recent FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.
The Tigers will have to perform a lot better if they are to stifle a rejuvenated Arsenal in next month’s encounter, though, and still have a faint threat of relegation hanging over them. Steve Bruce’s side are six points above the drop zone but have three away games – at Fulham, Aston Villa and Manchester United – before finishing their league campaign at home to Champions League-chasing Everton. Arsenal will hope to finish their own season by not only securing fourth spot but repeating this victory to clinch their first silverware in nine years. Achieving those aims might be enough to persuade manager Arsene Wenger to extend a contract that expires at the end of the season.
Played in blustery conditions which caused an early hold-up in play as advertising hoardings were blown across the pitch, and against opponents committed to pressing high and hard, this match had the potential to be a tough one for the Gunners. But apart from a couple of early opportunities for Hull, most notably when Long cleared the bar from a tight angle and Jake Livermore drilled against the post from distance, Arsenal looked secure. Arsenal sit at 4th after 35 games played and 70 points.