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Hull row all forgotten now as Tigers head for the Emirates

PUBLISHED: 17:23 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:37 07 September 2010

LONDON - MARCH 17:  Cesc Fabregas comes onto the pitch after the the FA Cup Sponsored by E.on sixth round match between Arsenal and Hull City at Emirates Stadium on March 17, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

LONDON - MARCH 17: Cesc Fabregas comes onto the pitch after the the FA Cup Sponsored by E.on sixth round match between Arsenal and Hull City at Emirates Stadium on March 17, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

2009 Getty Images

Terry Neill believes any past animosity between Arsenal and Hull City will have disappeared when the two teams lock horns on Saturday teatime. Hull boss Phil Brown said this week he hopes to extend the hand of peace after two eventful visits last season.

Terry Neill believes any past animosity between Arsenal and Hull City will have disappeared when the two teams lock horns on Saturday teatime.

Hull boss Phil Brown said this week he hopes to extend the hand of peace after two eventful visits last season.

He led the newly-promoted east Yorkshire side to a shock 2-1 win in the opening weeks of their first ever season in top flight football, but returned for a bad tempered FA Cup clash in March.

After the Gunners' 2-1 win the increasingly erratic Brown accused Arsene Wenger of not shaking his hand.

Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas, who did not play on the night but went on the pitch at the end to celebrate the win with his teammates, was then at the centre of allegations he spat at Hull assistant coach Brian Horton.

"For their club captain Cesc Fabregas to spit at my assistant at the end of the game shows you what this club is all about," he ranted afterwards.

But he was lacking hard evidence. A subsequent FA inquiry cleared Fabregas of any wrongdoing while Arsenal were left privately fuming at Brown's unfounded claims.

"Arsene Wenger and Phil Brown are two grown-ups - I'm sure they'll get along just fine this weekend," said Neill, the only man to have managed both clubs.

"It is I'm sure, to use a cliché, water under the bridge. Both sides need to concentrate on getting points for very different reasons. That is their priority.

"I'm just delighted Hull have picked up in recent weeks. Brown knows it is a results business and he has managed to get some vital wins after everybody was writing him off.

"They still have a way to go in the league, but the present team has a good chance of staying up if it maintains the form it has discovered in the past month or so."

Brown appears to have mellowed after several high profile spats.

When asked this week by the Humberside media if he would shake hands with Wenger after last season' acrimony, Brown said: "It is definitely in the past tense. It's definitely on the way behind where I am concerned. I will shake hands with Arsene Wenger, of course."

"I'm there at the end of the game and I will shake hands with every manager this year.

"I look forward to every game because of the varying tactical battle. At Arsenal, it will be all about the technical ability of both sides."

Despite only three wins in their final 23 games last season, Hull managed to retain their Premier League status, prompting Brown to memorably lead some celebratory karaoke singing on the pitch last May.

This term they are entrenched in another relegation battle after just four wins in 17 league games.

That said, they have hit their best form since those heady days when they briefly topped the table after that famous Emirates win in September 2008.

After last weekend's goalless home draw with Blackburn, Hull have lost just once in six Premier League games, although they have picked up just two points out of a possible 24 on the road with draws at Wolves in August (1-1) and recently, and most impressively, at Manchester City (1-1).

But they have been dealt a blow after their scorer at Eastlands, the ebullient Jimmy Bullard, was ruled out until the New Year with a knee injury. "We miss his energy," observed Brown this week.

On matters Arsenal, Wenger has stated the title is back on for the Gunners.

Prior to last night's tough trip to Burnley, he repeated his belief they can go all the way in the most open race for years - a statement that would have seemed outlandish in the days following that dispiriting 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea at the end of last month.

"Nobody looks like they will run away with the title early this season," he said. "Instead of four teams you have six, seven or eight teams who can create a surprise any weekend and that is why, certainly since I have been here, it is the most open it has ever been.

"I've been deeply convinced since the beginning of the season we could win the title," he added.

"I said that after the Chelsea game, it is down to how well we improve as a group and how we are ready for a fight in every game and how much we can improve from September to May.

"I think the message we have given out is that we are ready for a fight and haven't given up.

"Things change very quickly... two weeks ago Chelsea were running away with it and now it has changed.


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