Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger shrugged off supporter unrest after a section of the Gunners’ travelling fanbase urged the Frenchman to consider his position during his side's FA Cup fifth round replay victory at Hull.
Forward Olivier Giroud ended his 11-match goal-drought with a double strike while Theo Walcott also netted twice as Arsenal eased past the Championship high-flyers and set up a last-eight showdown with Watford on Sunday.
Frustration has been building on the terraces at Emirates Stadium in recent weeks after a downturn in form has seen the club’s title challenge falter. Arsenal have slipped to third in the league, eight points behind leaders Leicester.
Arsenal do, however, remain on course for a third successive FA Cup crown, although that failed to prevent the unfurling of a banner at the KC Stadium which read ‘Arsene, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye’.
“We judge the season after the season and I’m quite amazed that so many people want to judge so early,” said Wenger.
“Assess the season at the end of the season but we have not given up anywhere and you will see that in the coming weeks. I believe that this club has been in a much worse position than it is today.”
Arsenal’s victory was tainted by a succession of injuries as defensive duo Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista as well as midfielder Aaron Ramsey were all forced off.
“Mertesacker is just a cut on his eye and looks to be very short [a time until he can play again],” added Wenger. “Gabriel is a hamstring and Ramsey a thigh problem. To me, the most serious looks to be Ramsey.”
Arsenal have never lost an FA Cup match against lower-league opposition under Wenger but were indebted to stand-in goalkeeper David Ospina, whose one-handed save denied Hull skipper David Meyler shortly before the half hour mark.
The Gunners then lost centre-half Mertesacker following an earlier clash of heads but were ahead four minutes before half time as a direct consequence of a calamitous blunder from Meyler.
After tracking back, former Sunderland midfielder Meyler played a blind pass across his own penalty area, presenting Giroud with a glorious chance which he duly swept under goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
Defender Gabriel limped off early in the second half, while his replacement Ramsey followed suit but not before Giroud’s side-footed volley from a Theo Walcott cross in the 71st minute doubled Arsenal’s lead.
A scything Joel Campbell pass carved open Hull once more for Walcott to slot past Jakupovic for his first FA Cup goal since last year’s final against Aston Villa, while the England winger’s low shot sealed victory with two minutes remaining.