Arsenal came from behind to beat Hull 2-1 and book a semi-final meeting with Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Nicky Barmby fired the visitors into the lead in the first half but Arsenal stormed back with goals from Robin van Persie and a controversial winner for William Gallas.

Hull could take encouragement from their Premier League victory at Emirates Stadium earlier in the season and once again were not going to be caught in the headlights of Arsenal’s total football ethic, but this all changed after the interval.

Manucho brushed aside Johan Djourou on the right but instead of driving onwards he elected to turn and play the ball away from goal, which looked a weak decision when there was space for the Angolan to run into.

He needed to take lessons from a veteran and this was indeed the case when Andy Dawson lobbed the ball forward and Barmby did not hesitate to run forward and shoot on the volley, which took a substantial deflection off Djourou before sailing over Lukasz Fabianski into the far corner of the net in the 13th- minute.

Geovanni loves the spectacular and he tried his luck from 20 yards with a swirling shot which cleared the crossbar but was threatening enough for the Arsenal goalkeeper to make a fully committed dive.

The finer arts of football - which Arsenal had demonstrated to Blackburn at the weekend - were not flowing against a dogged Hull side who were quick to shut down their opponents at every given opportunity.

Robin van Persie produced some inswinging corners but Hull were equal to these and the Dutchman also witnessed the visitors’ rearguard blocking his attempted net buster from inside the penalty box.

Arsenal were taking a sharp intake of breath again when firstly Geovanni’s curling free-kick was repelled excellently by Fabianski, albeit from a harsh decision against William Gallas for a foul on Peter Halmosi, and from the subsequent corner, Dawson’s shot was steered into the net by the irrepressible Barmby only for the assistant referee to have an option of four players to rule offside.

Arsenal were stung into action with Andrei Arshavin racing clear before fashioning a shot destined for the far corner of the goal but Anthony Gardner intervened to concede a corner. Sam Ricketts then stepped up to the plate for The Tigers making a fine diving block from the Russian’s shot later in the first half.

A goalkeeping error leading to a second Hull goal would not have been tolerated by Arsene Wenger and this was averted by Hull’s Kamil Zayette heading over the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box after Fabianski showing a lack of authority with a feeble attempt to punch.

Arshavin saved his best for just before the interval with the striker unleashing a volley which bent away from the far post but demonstrated once again what a good signing he promises to be.

Hull were forced into a change for the second half with captain Ian Ashbee suffering from a hamstring strain which meant an introduction for Bryan Hughes and this substitution proved seamless to dovetail nicely with Hull’s game plan in North London.

This plan could always be ruined and Arsenal did their utmost to oblige with Abou Diaby missing the target with a close range header.

The onslaught continued with Djourou’s header cleared off the line by Dawson and Alexandre Song then turned and shot wide of the far post as Hull breathed again.

Wenger did not waste time in forging a front five with Song and Carlos Vela making way for Sami Nasri and Nicklas Bendtner.

This attacking line included van Persie who was holding his head in his hands following a crunching header against the middle of the crossbar following a corner.

It proved to be double Dutch for van Persie when Bendtner bluffed his way to the byline before crossing the ball which fell to Arshavin on the opposite side of the goal before squaring for van Persie to drive the ball home in the 74th-minute.

Hull looked to be a boxer ready to buckle but they produced a dangerous reminder of their threat when Djourou was ineffective against Geovanni and the Brazilian shot into the side-netting.

A sign of Hull’s desperation was demonstrated by the booking of Manucho, the fifth visiting player to go into Mike Riley’s book.

Arsenal should have taken the lead through Bedtner but he managed to fire the ball high above the crossbar. It mattered little though because they did score in the 84th-minute when Djourou’s headed flick on fell to Gallas to fire home but the centre half looked to be offside in the six-yard box.

Arsenal kept the momentum going in the five minutes of stoppage-time and at the final whistle Wenger declined to shake the hand of his opposite number Phil Brown with tempers running high. 

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