Preview for Arsenal

Last updated : 24 September 2008 By Andy Beill

It's been a good start to life in the Premier league for Hull City. How have your fans enjoyed it so far?
There's plenty not to like about the Premier League - the Sky Sports News culture, the takeovers, and the money side of things. The increased interest from our own supporters has also caused some issues with things like tickets. However, the matches themselves have been really enjoyable and we appreciate the quality of football being played - and that's what the game's really about.

Have you noticed an obvious step up in class?
Certainly, but we've made a lot of signings and noticed a huge improvement in our own team. When we were missing a few of our new players we got stuffed by Wigan, but we have since reinforced so we shouldn't have to call on inadequete replacements too often.

Is there a feeling you could have got even more from your first 5 games?
With a full strength team and better performances from some of those who did play, we would have done much better against Wigan. Drawing with Everton after being two-up was disappointing, though not a bad result in truth. I wouldn't say we've been lucky at all to get 8 points from 5 games, it's a fair return.

It's so difficult to get out of the Championship and several teams have been up and down the last few seasons, is Phil Brown the man to keep you in the Premiership?
We were 2nd bottom of the Championship when he took over, and less than two years later we're 7th in the Premier League. Of course there has been the odd iffy result during his time in charge, but nobody could really have achieved more than he has. Just about every single signing he's made since becoming manager has been a good one too. If he can't keep us up, I doubt anyone can.

Are you looking forward to playing one of the so called 'Big Four' this weekend?
We've momentarily dropped out of the top four again so it's a bit of a six-pointer... In seriousness, this will surely be our hardest game yet. Fans going to the game are really looking forward to seeing the stadium. I just hope the lads do themselves justice because I believe they are capable of doing better than getting thrashed (although that is a possible outcome).

You've just signed Stelios Giannakopoulos, a player Arsenal fans know all about from his days at Bolton, but who else should we keep an eye on on Saturday?
I wouldn't expect Stelios to play. Phil Brown has set very high fitness levels at the club so he probably won't feature until after the international break next month. Our front two, Daniel Cousin and Marlon King, gave Everton a lot of problems last week. Geovanni, on his day, is a match-winner. Other key players - Michael Turner, Ian Ashbee, Dean Marney - came up the leagues with us and have performed incredibly well so far this season.

Brown has said he's hoping to have Anthony Gardner back for the game. How important is he for Hull City? He'll probably get quite a bit of grief from the Gooner faithful!
He missed the Wigan game through injury and our only alternative at the time, Wayne Brown, really struggled. He's still working his way back to fitness now and won't play in the Arsenal game, but we signed Kamil Zayette on deadline day and he did well against Everton. We've liked what we've seen of Gardner so far but Turner's the main man at the back.

Plenty of teams come and put 10 men behind the ball at the Emirates, what type of football can we expect to see from your side?
I really hope we don't do that. After we went 2-0 up against Everton we stopped playing and they pulled it back. I dread to think what Arsenal would do to us if we spend the game without the ball! It's hard to say what to expect as we've got the squad to play a few different ways. We've got midfielders capable of keeping things tight, but we've also got attacking options - big centre forwards like King and Cousin and creative players like Geovanni and Nick Barmby. It's a big decision for Phil Brown to get right!

Which Arsenal players do you see causing Hull's defense problems?
I've got a feeling our left-back Andy Dawson could be "found out" by Theo Walcott. As long as we limit chances we won't do too badly, but the longer Arsenal attack the goals will eventually come.

And finally Andy, what's your prediction for the game?
As long as we compete and manage to cause some problems for Arsenal, I'll be happy with that and the scoreline should be fairly close. If we don't and we let Arsenal play their game it could be quite a big home win.

Written for Arsenal Insider, the interactive Arsenal blog