Welbeck strikes late as Arsenal deny Hull


A stoppage-time Danny Welbeck goal denied Hull victory and ensured Arsenal avoided equalling their worst start to a league season under Arsene Wenger.

Alexis Sanchez’s fierce low shot gave the hosts an early lead. But a disputed Mohamed Diame strike – the midfielder seemed to foul Mathieu Flamini – and an Abel Hernandez header put Steve Bruce’s side ahead.

However, Welbeck guided in a clever Sanchez pass in the first minute of stoppage time to rescue a point.

Until then, Wenger’s side looked as if they would equal their tally of 10 points from their opening eight league matches in 2011-12.

But England striker Welbeck’s fifth goal in seven appearances since signing from Manchester United averted the ignominious loss of Arsenal’s 21-game unbeaten home league record.

Still, the draw means Arsenal have won just one of their past seven league matches and lose more ground on leaders Chelsea.

The bad news did not end there, either, with another injury to midfielder Jack Wilshere – this time to a knee – cancelling out Aaron Ramsey’s return.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Hull, too.

Bruce’s side maintained their record of scoring in every league game this term, but had a famous victory snatched from their grasp.

That said, even a point looked beyond them when Arsenal franked their early superiority with the opening goal. Sanchez duped Curtis Davies on the right before advancing and lashing a low shot across the helpless Steve Harper.

By that stage, though, Arsenal’s makeshift defence – with teenager Hector Bellerin making his first Premier League appearance at right-back and Nacho Monreal at centre-back – had not been examined.

But the first time it was, it collapsed under scrutiny.

Diame bullocked past Monreal 30 yards from goal then appeared to tug back Flamini. The Arsenal defenders stopped, protesting, but the Hull midfielder burst blithely into the box and casually clipped the ball over Wojciech Szczesny.

The Polish goalkeeper would be beaten again one minute into the second half, and this time there was no grounds for complaint.

Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore combined and, when the latter flashed a cross into the area, Hernandez scudded a header into the net.

Hernandez had only been called into the Hull XI when Nikica Jelavic injured a knee in the warm-up, which was not the only misfortune to befall Bruce’s side.

Harper had to be replaced by third-choice Eldin Jakupovic just before the interval after tearing a muscle in his left arm in innocuous circumstances.

Yet the 30-year-old Bosnian was not tested until the final few moments, when he thwarted first Sanchez, then Kieran Gibbs.

But he could not deny Welbeck as an underwhelming Arsenal came from behind to rescue a point.

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