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Published: 14:11 | 20/2/16

Arsenal held by Hull in FA Cup


Both managers are left facing a fixture pile-up, as holders Arsenal and Hull City played out a goalless draw in the FA Cup fifth round tie at the Emirates.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Hull boss Steve Bruce both suggested before the match that a draw and a subsequent replay would be the worst result for their sides, with the Gunners chasing both the Premier League title and the Champions League, and the Tigers leading the Championship.

Bruce even joked that he would send his goalkeeper up to chase an injury-time goal should the match be goalless at 90 minutes, and, in truth, if Eldin Jakupovic had gone on to snatch a late winner, no-one in the 59,830 strong crowd would have been that surprised.

For the Bosnia-born Swiss goalkeeper, deputising for the rested Allan McGregor, had already put in a man-of-the-match performance to keep his side in the tie with a series of stunning saves to deny Arsenal a 15th straight win in the competition in Wenger's 100th FA Cup tie in charge of the Gunners.

The impish Danny Welbeck, making his first start for 10 months following his stunning goalscoring cameo from the bench against Leicester last Sunday, had the first chance of the match for the Gunners on 12 minutes.

However, the England striker could only head Theo Walcott's floated cross from the right straight at Jakupovic.

Hull were on the back foot as Arsenal dominated the first half, and Hull were reliant on their goalkeeper for another sharp stop to deny Walcott from the right channel just before the half-hour mark.

The second half mirrored the first, with Jakupovic making another save from Walcott two minutes after the break, but the former FC Thun, Grasshoppers and Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper saved his best for a Joel Campbell free-kick from the edge of the area on 53 minutes.

At first glance, the Costa Rica forward's set-piece seemed to thunder directly against the post, but replays, and Jakupovic's proud body language, showed that the 31-year-old had got a crucial fingertip on the ball.

The final ten minutes saw the game open up, with both managers desperate to avoid a second match, and substitute Alexis Sanchez almost struck a winner in the final minute with a free-kick, but Jakupovic, perhaps playing for the cameras now, dived full length to beat out the set-piece.

2014 and 2015 winners Arsenal are now unbeaten in the competition for three years, but their chances of becoming the first club since Blackburn Rovers between 1884 and 1886 to win the cup three times in a row have taken a real blow.

The Gunners will need to fit in a replay into a full schedule which includes a home round of 16 Champions League tie against Barcelona on Tuesday, a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday 28 February, a home match against Swansea on Wednesday 2 March and a North London derby against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday 5 March.

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