Gallas gains lucky escape after Arsenal stare into Tigers' jaws

Arsenal 2 Hull City 1

Accused of spitting at the opposition, rowing in the tunnel and refusing to shake hands at the end: the magic of the FA Cup is alive and well at Arsenal. No-one could accuse Arsène Wenger of not taking the old pot seriously – it is just the style in which his side are doing it that raises questions.

This was a cracker of an FA Cup tie contested between two managers who evidently despise each other and between two sides from different ends of the Premier League food chain that was decided by an offside goal from William Gallas. Cesc Fabregas is not even due back in action for another two weeks but he managed to upstage his team-mates by allegedly spitting at the feet of Brian Horton, Phil Brown's assistant, and sparking the mother of all rows.

It was not quite what the founding fathers of association football had in mind when they created this venerable competition in 1871. The clash of personalities between Wenger and Brown was intriguing, the latter having clearly inherited from his mentor Sam Allardyce the distrust of the Arsenal coach. Nowhere else but English football could one manager accuse another of cheating and then complain when he does not shake his hand.

By 11.30pm, when Arsenal circulated Fabregas' response denying the spitting allegations levelled at him by Brown, all decorum had been lost. In the cold light of this morning Brown may well acknowledge that he got carried away in the aftermath of the match, accusing Wenger, Fabregas and referee Mike Riley in a scattergun attack that will surely land him in trouble with the Football Association and detract from what was a fine Hull City performance.

Until Robin Van Persie's equaliser on 74 minutes Arsenal's season looked as if it hinged on what is the fairly unlikely prospect of them winning the Champions League. Thirteen points off the pace in the Premier League title race they were going out the FA Cup to a Hull team who had dug in for what would have been their second win at the Emirates in one season. Arsenal got lucky with their disputed winner from Gallas.

Gallas' goal on 84 minutes was bitterly disputed by Brown who effectively accused Riley and his linesman Andy Garratt of cheating Hull out of at least a draw. It came from a long free-kick from substitute Samir Nasri which goalkeeper Boaz Myhill came to punch but which appeared to flick off the head of Johan Djourou before falling to Gallas, who was clearly offside. He shrugged off Andy Dawson and headed in.

In his post-match rage, Brown cried foul. Wenger, somewhat calmer, said the ball came off the fist of Myhill and therefore Gallas' goal was legitimate. The Arsenal manager even attempted a joke, although it is unlikely that Brown will be laughing. "It's not offside I'm sorry to say because the ball was deflected off the fist of the goalkeeper and because it came off an opponent it's a normal goal. Then it was a foul on Gallas. Penalty. We should have got two goals."

For periods of this game, especially the first half, Arsenal looked lightweight and unfocussed and Hull seized their chance. Then in the second half, as they laid siege to the Hull goal in search of an equaliser, Arsenal came to life with an excellent performance from Andrei Arshavin who played with seven stitches in one foot. It was the Russian who, along with Van Persie, carried the fight to Hull.

For 74 minutes of the game it had looked like a goal from the 35-year-old Barmby would carry Hull through to an FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea. He took a ball over the top from Dawson on 13 minutes and hit it on the half-volley. The shot flicked off Djourou which was enough to take it over Lukasz Fabianski and in.

There was the hint of booing at half-time and Wenger was becoming increasingly distressed at his team's inability to score. Brown had lost his influential captain Ian Ashbee to injury at half-time, which he later said would be decisive. Wenger brought on Nicklas Bendtner and Nasri out of desperation and it was the former who made Van Persie's equaliser. The Dane cut the ball back to Arshavin who teed up Van Persie for the equaliser. Arsenal were back in the game. Gallas scored with six minutes remaining, a goal which was clearly offside.

"I'm proud of my players," Brown said. "If they bring that fighting spirit to the next nine games we'll be okay in the Premier League." Hull had indeed put in a performance that matched their heroics in the same stadium in September but unfortunately for them that will not be what is remembered from this game. What will be recalled will be their manager's extraordinary attack on Arsenal and the recriminations that will surely run and run.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Fabianski; Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Gibbs; Walcott (Eboué, 81), Diaby, Song (Bendtner, 64), Arshavin; Vela (Nasri, 64), Van Persie. Substitutes not used: Mannone (gk), Touré, Denilson, Silvestre.

Hull City (4-1-4-1): Myhill; Ricketts, Zayatte, Gardner, Dawson; Ashbee (Hughes, h-t); Fagan, Barmby (France, 76), Geovanni, Halmosi (Mendy, 67); Manucho. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Garcia, Folan, Featherstone.

Referee: M Riley (Yorkshire).

FA Cup semi-finals: Revised draw

Saturday 18 April Arsenal v Chelsea (5.15) Live on Setanta Sports

Sunday 19 April Manchester Utd v Everton (4.0) Live on ITV 1

Both ties at Wembley Stadium

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor