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

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn