PGL: Good morning insiders. It’s another late Saturday kick off, man I hate these games! I think we’ll see an unchanged side with Nasri in the middle again. There is definitely an added edge today… are players have been talking revenge for the game at the Emirates. I’d love to see us open up and play more flowing footy than we did against Bolton but 3 points are the most important thing so I expect us to go for the controlled patient approach we saw last week. I’ve been talking to Rick from about this weeks game.
PGL: So what’s been going on at Hull since we last met?
Rick: Initially, more glory. We won at Tottenham (stop cheering!) and West Brom, beat West Ham at home to make it “London 0 Hull 4” and then ran Manchester United close at OT. Since then, we’ve only won 1 from 11 in the league, but did get a good point at Anfield.
PGL: Were Tigers fans sad to see Windass go out on loan? Should he have been given more game time?
Rick: No, not really. It was obvious after promotion that he probably wouldn’t have the legs to play at the top level though we all wanted to see him try. In the end, there isn’t a lot of room for sentiment in football. if he could keep his mouth shut, he’d have been a good squad member but he’s desperate to play.
PGL: You currently sit in 8th place with 27 points. Do feel comfortable or is there a worry you could still be dragged in the relegation battle?
Rick: I think our form is a worry so we have to be looking over our shoulders. We have plenty of games that we can compete in so there is a good opportunity for us to get the remaining points. We’ll only have ourselves to blame if we blow it from this point. I heard someone say that we were “only” 7 points clear of relegation. Considering we were going to struggle to beat Derby’s record low tally according to some, that isn’t bad going.
PGL: You’s signed Kevin Kilbane do you think that sort of experience is what’s been missing over the last few weeks at Hull?
Rick: We could certainly do with an injection of quality. Not just good footballers but players who won’t get down about every result and won’t fear anyone. I personally think we need more quality in the middle of the pitch. We’ve got good forward players but we aren’t feeding them well enough at the moment.
PGL: How much did the “surprise factor” contribute to your great start to the season?
Rick: I’d imagine some teams underestimated us. I certainly don’t think anyone did their homework on Geovanni and they certainly never realised what a good partnership Turner and Zayatte were. I think the main thing was that we brought in some quality players. We’ve suffered a little because some of the guys who were playing above themselves have run out of steam a little but we still have quality. That injection of 3 or 4 good players should see us right.
PGL: What did Hull fans think about Phil Brown giving his half time talk on the pitch when you played City?
Rick: A mixed reaction, I’d say. It’s quite a northern attitude to suggest they were getting too big for their boots and needed some home truths. Others, like me, think it can be pretty damaging to a team with fragile confidence at the moment. time will tell, but the reaction has been good in 3 of the 4 games since.
PGL: I don’t think many of us will have been to the KC Stadium. What can Gooners expect on Saturday?
Rick: I think you’ll like it, it’s an easy walk from the train station, there’s a terrific chippy on the way. The ground is lovely, no bad views, plenty of room, a real ground for supporters. It was the best ground I’d been in watching football until I went to the Emirates in October.
PGL: Do you expect Brown to go all out for the 3 points?
Rick: Not this time, no. We’re not as fearless as we were at the Emirates because we’ve had a few lessons lately in top flight football. I think it’ll be a case of us trying to stop you playing in midfield and trying to get forward quickly on the break.
PGL: Robin Van Persie is looks to have found his best form again. Is he the man you need to stop?
Rick: I think we need to stop the ball coming through. Fabregas was terrific at the last game so his absence is a bonus. You don’t have anyone with his ability to cut us open so if we can play a high pressure game and get you one the back foot in midfield, that will be our best chance. it might be our only chance because our defence is decimated at centre back. Zayatte is suspended, Gardner’s injured (big shock there), McShane has been recalled from loan and Wayne Brown did not impress in his last game (the 0-5 vs. Wigan). Even a possible back-up solution of moving Ashbee to centre half looks unlikely because Boateng got injured at Newcastle.
PGL: And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
Rick: We’ll have a good go but realistically, I think Arsenal will win by 2, either 2-0 or 3-1.
PGL: We are way over due to give somebody a spanking, that said I’m not sure today’s the day for that. I’m going for a 0-2 with RVP continuing his fine form and Vela will hopefully break his league duck and bag the other.