Sanchez gives Wenger a hand

Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic is unable to prevent Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez from opening accounts at the Emirates Stadium. The goal was given despite the ball going in off the Chilean forward's right hand.
Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic is unable to prevent Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez from opening accounts at the Emirates Stadium. The goal was given despite the ball going in off the Chilean forward's right hand.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

1st goal a hand-ball and 2nd a penalty resulting from one as double eases pressure on manager

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Arsenal 2

Hull City 0

LONDON • Two goals from Alexis Sanchez, one of which was scored with his hand, earned Arsenal a 2-0 win over Hull City at the Emirates Stadium yesterday which halted their run of two straight English Premier League defeats.

It was the break that Arsenal and under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger badly needed.

Sanchez's opening goal was the result of a clear hand-ball, which went unnoticed by referee Mark Clattenburg and his assistants, and it helped to earn the win for his team and end the losing streak that had led to the latest outbreak of angst in these parts.

HONEST REF

It was hand-ball. At half-time the referee apologised to us. He said he wasn't 100 per cent sure. I think he argued if he wasn't unsure he had to give the goal. Not many referees can admit they're wrong.

ANDREW ROBERTSON, Hull defender, on the Gunners' opening goal.

Yet the victory was a long way from being a command performance from Arsenal and there was the sense that they were hanging on in the second half against a Hull team who have been rejuvenated under Marco Silva - at least until Sanchez scored his second from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

It was the result of another hand- ball and, this time, it was spotted.

Sanchez had surged forward and taken the ball around goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, who had unwisely bolted from his line, before crossing for the substitute Lucas Perez.

His header was blocked on the line by Sam Clucas with his upper arm and, to compound the Hull midfielder's pain, he was sent off.

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Sanchez then drilled home the penalty and Wenger, who was up in the stands as he continued to serve his touchline ban, could exhale.

It was not pretty and Hull had the chances to have taken something from the game - mainly through Oumar Niasse - but, in the end, the result was all-important to Arsenal and could possibly have saved the Frenchman's job.

"The referee admitted he was wrong," said Hull defender Andrew Robertson of the opening goal after the match.

"It was hand-ball. At half-time the referee apologised to us. He said he wasn't 100 per cent sure. I think he argued if he wasn't unsure he had to give the goal.

"Not many referees can admit they're wrong."

With a Champions League tie at Bayern Munich to come on Wednesday, Wenger will be pleased to have chalked up a timely victory.

When asked if he felt that his team had received some good fortune for the first goal, he said: "Maybe. Sorry for that.

"But I cannot influence that and I didn't see it as well from the stands."

The Frenchman added that despite his side's recent struggles, he had never lost faith in them.

"I believe in the players, our job is not to listen to too much of what is said and to focus on what we are responsible for on the pitch," Wenger said.

"Of course when we do not win we feel bad. That's why it's so dangerous to lose two games on the trot."

Hull's Portuguese manager Silva, who took over just last month, felt that his team should have had a better result.

"We didn't deserve this," he said.

"The result is not good for us but our team showed for me again what we prepared in the week.

"The players understand better what I want from my team. I am sure we will improve in our performances."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 12, 2017, with the headline 'Sanchez gives Wenger a hand'. Print Edition | Subscribe