CONTROVERSY abounded in north London as Hull City slipped to defeat.
Alex Sanchez broke the deadlock in an entertaining contest but the Arsenal striker’s final touch was clearly with his hand.
It was rough luck on the Tigers, who had further reason to feel hard done to when referee Mark Clattenberg failed to dismiss Kieran Gibbs when he pulled down Lazar Markovic as the last man.
Clattenberg chose to show the left back just a yellow card to cap a calamitous afternoon for the official, who sent off Sam Clucas in stoppage time for handball. Sanchez fired in the resulting penalty.
Despite the defeat, Marco Silva will have been encouraged once again by his side’s efforts.
Oumar Niasse spurned three good opportunities for the visitors as plenty of questions were asked of the Arsenal backline by the enterprising Yorkshire outfit.
Niasse’s first opening came early on via a Kamil Grosicki cross that the striker headed powerfully goalwards but Petr Cech pulled off a fine save. It came moments after Markovic had done brilliantly to dispossess Alex Iwobi before dashing down the right flank and drilling a low cross that just evaded Niasse in the six-yard box.
At the other end, Sanchez drilled a low shot just wide and Hector Bellerin spurned an inviting opportunity with a wild shot.
Mesut Ozil also volleyed over before the pivotal moment of the afternoon arrived 11 minutes before half-time.
After an incisive break down the City right flank, the ball fell to Gibbs. He thundered a shot that Andrew Robertson blocked only for the ball to ping around the six yard box before Sanchez turned the ball in with his hand.
Hull had the better opportunities after the break but could not make the breakthrough, as Cech saved from Niasse and Adama Diomande headed over from an Evandrio corner.
Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, a swift Arsenal counter-attack ended with Lucas’ header being handled on the line by Sam Clucas.
The Tigers mdifielder was sent off and Sanchez duly capitalised from 12 yards.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez. Subs: Gabriel, Lucas Perez, Giroud, Ospina, Monreal, Welbeck,
Hull: Jakupovic, Elabdellaoui, Ranocchia, Maguire, Robertson, Huddlestone, N’Diaye, Markovic, Grosicki, Clucas, Niasse. Subs: Meyler, Maloney, Diomande, Marshall, Elmohamady, Tymon, Evandro.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)