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?
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine