Arsenal need Hull win to prove title mettle

LONDON • Arsene Wenger will expect his Arsenal side to offer more convincing signs of their ability to compete for the Premier League title when they visit Hull today after a testing week in Europe.

A 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain ensured the Gunners avoided defeat in their opening Champions League outing, although the performance was hardly impressive.

That result followed last Saturday's narrow win over Southampton, with Santi Cazorla's stoppage-time penalty keeping the north London side within five points of leaders Manchester City.

Arsenal have yet to hit top form this season, and recent signings Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez are still bedding in. Failure to collect three points at Hull will see the Gunners lose more ground to the revitalised Manchester pair of City and United.

However, Mustafi has already seen enough of Alexis Sanchez to believe the Chile forward gives Arsenal an added attacking edge.

"I think in modern football, it is not as static as it was and that's what makes the game so quick and so difficult," said the German.

"If you are a defender, you have to run all over the pitch to chase your striker and it is always difficult. We all know Alexis has qualities and he knows where to stand to give the opponent a difficult game."

Hull remain in takeover talks, with the club's prospective new owners said to be keen to appoint caretaker Mike Phelan as manager on a permanent basis.

Chinese-American businessman Chien Lee is in advanced discussions over a proposed buyout worth around £100 million (S$180 million) which would end the turbulent near six-year reign of Assem Allam and his son, Ehab.

Lee, co-owner of Ligue 1 club Nice and the founder of private equity firm NewCity Capital, has been on Humberside to visit Hull's facilities.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Arsenal need Hull win to prove title mettle'. Print Edition | Subscribe