MANCHESTER, England — Arsenal was held to a 0-0 draw by second-tier Hull in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, forcing the titleholder to squeeze a replay into its congested upcoming fixture schedule.
Fielding a weakened team ahead of a Champions League last-16 match against Barcelona on Tuesday, Arsenal created a slew of chances but was denied by a mixture of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Eldin Jakupovic. Arsenal had 24 shots and Jakupovic saved 11 of them, including a tip onto the post from Joel Campbell's shot.
It was the third straight year that the teams have met in the competition. Arsenal won in the final in 2014 and also in the third round last season on its way to winning the trophy for a record 12th time.
Scrapping replays in the FA Cup is among measures being considered to trim the fixture list in English soccer although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Friday that he wanted them to stay.
However, Arsenal — and Hull — will be struggling to fit the replay into the schedule before the quarterfinals on the March 12-13 weekend.
"It's a replay neither team particularly wanted with our fixtures coming up," Hull defender Curtis Davies said. Added Hull manager Steve Bruce: "I don't know when we are going to play it!"
Arsenal is bidding to become the first team since Blackburn in 1886 to win the FA Cup three years in a row.
There are three more last-16 matches Saturday: Reading vs. West Bromwich Albion, Watford vs. Leeds; and Bournemouth vs. Everton.
Steve Douglas, The Associated Press