Bendtner personifies Gunners' title desire

Hull City 1 Arsenal 2

If titles were awarded for mental strength, unbreakable spirit and dramatic victories, the Premier League trophy would be handed over to Arsène Wenger and his Arsenal players now. Sadly for Wenger it isn't, but this doesn't mean his long wait for more silverware won't come to an end in a few weeks' time as Arsenal's remarkable refusal to abandon hope of pipping Manchester United and Chelsea to the most coveted domestic crown continues.

It seems no matter what tactics, by foul mean or fair, opponents use to try and halt Arsenal's charge, Wenger's side still manage to come up with the answers. Arsenal's fifth straight league victory was secured by Nicklas Bendtner's fourth goal in two games and his side's fifth in stoppage time in the last four games.

Brave Hull City had been reduced to 10 men before the interval when George Boateng poked Bendtner in the eye to earn his first booking, then promptly hacked down Bacary Sagna with the sort of challenge deserving of a red card in itself and one Wenger continues to have nightmares about.

Yet Hull, who had seen Jimmy Bullard's first-half penalty cancel out Andrei Arshavin's 13th-minute opener, defended like their lives depended on it until the dying moments, when Bo Myhill parried Denilson's speculative drive into the path of Bendtner.

Arsenal might be bearing the physical scars of the title race, but Bendtner and Wenger insist the club's inner spirit remains untouched. Bendtner said: "I always believe right until the last minute that we can do it because I've seen it so many times. People think it's over and then we score a goal out of nothing. We know it's important to keep going right to the end."

Wenger concurred: "When I see them on the pitch, I know they will not give up. These kind of wins strengthen our belief, but I think it is more a consequence of our spot-on attitude. For such a young team to have that is something special. It comes from the desire to win something.

"This team hasn't won anything yet. We started to build this team three or four years ago, the age is around 22 and now people are saying, 'yes, but what did you win'? That desire to win something is certainly evident. We haven't won anything yet and as long as you have not won anything it will play on your mind. But we have built a good squad with exceptional spirit."

Bendtnar called on the authorities to stamp out once and for all the number of dangerous tackles creeping back into the game and admitted Boateng's lunge at Sagna could have seen a repeat of the horror inflicted on Aaron Ramsey at Stoke last month.

"You don't poke someone in the eye on the pitch when the ref isn't looking. For me, that's not fair. I said that to him [Boateng] and he got a bit upset. He took it out on Bacary and rightly got a red card. It was a poor challenge. You can see Bacary's knee and it's got stud marks [on it]."

One win in three months suggests Hull are doomed and the problems are mounting. The dressing room remains a fractious place following the fall-out between Bullard and Nick Barmby, while midfielder Tom Cairney had to be left out of the squad in the wake of the club's row with his unlicensed agent over a new contract.

Brown, whose side travel to Portsmouth next weekend, said: "Against the bigger sides, we show that grit and determination. We didn't against Everton last week but Portsmouth is a big test. We have to bring that fight to the party. But it's not about one or two individuals, it's about the team, and they took a lot of pride from this game."

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Mendy, Zayatte (Cooper, 56) Mouyokolo, Dawson; Fagan, Boateng, Bullard, Marney; Hesselink (Garcia, 73), Altidore (Kilbane, 83). Substitutes not used: Barmby, Duke, Zaki, Olofinjana.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Almunia; Sagna, Vermaelen, Campbell, Clichy; Denilson, Diaby; Eboué (Walcott, 66), Nasri (Eduardo, 75), Arshavin; Bendtner. Substitutes not used: Fabianski, Silvestre, Traoré, Merida, Eastmond.

Referee: Andre Marriner (Birmingham).

Booked: Hull Dawson, Boateng. Arsenal Campbell, Bendtner.

Sent-off: Hull Boateng.

Man of the match: Vermaelen.

Attendance: 25,023.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
News
Scientists believe Mercury is coated in billions of years’ worth of carbon dust, after being ‘dumped on’ by passing comets
science
News
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'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
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
and  

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