4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 3-2 FA Cup Win Over Hull

By on May 18, 2014

Arsenal ended their nine-year wait for silverware on Saturday as they beat Hull City 3-2 in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 talking points from the game.

So it all came down to this. Arsenal’s season hinged on the pinnacle of English football- the FA Cup final. Wenger’s side arrived at Wembley desperate to undo the misery of the past nine trophy-less years, locking horns with a Hull side who had not even reached a cup final in their history.

Team news was sparse leading up to the clash but, when revealed, there were few surprises in the line-up. Fabianski remained in goal for his last Arsenal appearance, given his end-of-season contract expiry. Meanwhile, Arteta and Ramsey were in holding midfield, Giroud started up-top and Oxlade-Chamberlain missed out altogether due to injury.

Should the Gunners have been victorious come the end of the game, they would equal Manchester United’s record of 11 FA Cup titles, but Hull’s early consolidation of possession was making this difficult and it was in fact a former Red Devil who drew first blood.

First set-piece of the game arising at Arsenal’s end, Hull earned a corner. The floated ball was met by Tom Huddlestone’s boot on the edge of the area, the shot being diverted towards the bottom corner by James Chester’s reaction effort. The ball trickled past the full-stretched Fabianski and the Tigers had pounced early on to go 1-0 in the opening stages.

Arsenal looked to respond but Hull earned another set-piece and the cross met Fryatt’s header which was palmed off the line by Fabianski, but Curtis Davies was on hand to fire home the rebound to incredibly put Hull City 2-0 up inside eight minutes. Complaints later emerged that City had played the set-piece eight yards ahead of where the foul had been committed, but the goal stood none-the-less. It was always going to be tough, but now Arsenal faced a mammoth task.

Gooner fans around Wembley were at ‘head-in-hands’ point from here and could have seen their side go 3 behind, if it was not for Gibbs’ goal-line clearance from Alex Bruce’s looping header. Hull barely had time to regroup after coming inches from securing an unassailable lead, this time Arsenal rewarded the free-kick. To resurrect the FA Cup ambition, Arsenal needed to create some threat from this opportunity and it was Cazorla’s spectacular strike which did just that. From 30-yards out, the Spaniard fired a beauty into  the far corner of McGregor’s net.

Arsenal continued to have the lions share of possession in the second half and our appeals for a penalty were waved away by Lee Probert after Huddlestone clearly flung a hand at Giroud’s neck in the box. Regardless of any other factors, it was a blatant showing of petulance by the former-Tottenham player, which wrongfully went unpunished.

Lukas Podolski’s menial contribution to the game called for his substitution, Yaya Sanogo the man on in his place and it took little tine for the Frenchman  to make an impact. The young-Gun’s great movement setting himself up from a corner, but the header drifted on wide of the post.

The Gunners’ constant pressure told for Hull and the London club had another penalty shout mid-way through the second half. This one even more clear-cut, as Ramsey played the ball to Santi Cazorla, who was chopped down by Curtis Davies’ poor challenge. Nothing given and it was clear Arsenal were going to have to really work for a win, with the referee Lee Probert letting most Hull challenge’s slip.

As pressure grew, so did momentum and the desperately awaited Arsenal response from Gooners everywhere came to fruition. Probert’s earlier decisions against Arsenal rectified by his rewarding of an undeserved corner. Sagna rose highest from the set-piece, his header deflected off Matty Fryatt and dropped to Koscielny on the edge of the six-yard box. The Frenchman scrambling in Arsenal’s second to unleash a chorus of roars from the travelling Arsenal fans, as the tie was level for the first time since the opening four minutes.

Hull seemed eager to get to extra-time from here and this risky tactic was nearly punished, only for Kieran Gibbs to miss an absolute howler on the edge of the six-yard box. A simple finish was required, but the Englishman could only blaze over the bar from close range.

Yet another penalty call for the Gunners was dismissed by the match official once again, with Cazorla being bundled over by David Meyler. It was all Arsenal now as Hull’s tiring legs were beginning to show. Full time and an additional thirty minutes would be needed to separate the two teams.

Giroud rattled the bar with a thunderous header, highlighting the Frenchman’s lack of fortune in the final third exhibited all afternoon. Elmohamady was lively again in Hull’s response, his drilled cross collected by Fabianski.

Ramsey’s required a double stop by McGregor, moments before the Welshman proved he was not shot-shy with a wide effort being hit just after. Hull were looking more and more fatigued and in devastation for them, it was punished. Three minutes in to the final fifteen and the Tigers could cling-on no longer. Fourth time luck from Welshman Aaron Ramsey.

A cliché flowing move from the Arsenal, with Olivier Giroud’s back-heel setting Ramary up in a good position. Time stood stationary as the midfielder placed his effort in the bottom corner to beat McGregor and send Arsenal fans and players a-like into complete euphoria.

Rosicky had a late attempt cleared off if the line by Paul McShane, but Lee Probert unearthed the whistle’s sound to confirm Arsenal’s first piece of silverware since 2005. Arsene Wenger emerged onto the pitch, as the curse had been finally broken.

Here I will now analyse four talking points from the game:

1) Exceptional Effort – Digging Deep

Since conceding in the very early stages, we never gave up and remained calm even when 2-0 down. If we dare to compare this with the devastating final defeat to Birmingham three years ago, one main factor stands out, the effort yesterday was remarkable.

We may not have been at our free-flowing best at times going forward, but all the players worked their socks off, even when we didn’t have the ball. We pressed them all over the pitch and in the end, our superior quality counted.

2) Sanogo Saviour

The young Frenchman’s arrival was greatly welcomed given Podolski’s inability to to get started in the game. The German has enjoyed some good form in recetn weeks,  but Sanogo injected more pace and desire into our attacking group and his substation looked a turning point in the game.

He gave our midfield an extra target up-top to aim for and although he looked poor with the ball at his feet, he flustered Hull’s back three with his runs behind and supplied Ramsey with a bit of extra space to convert the winner. Playing two up top is something Wenger has rarely done in recent years but yesterday showed it still has a role to play as our ‘plan B’.

3) Fitness First

Curtis Davies summed it up delightfully in his post match thoughts by claiming “they [Arsenal] had quality, even when they were tired,” and this was clear in the dying stages if the game. Hull were sluggish in their approaches, whilst Arsenal still looked reasonably fresh and our quality stood out.

Physical fitness will always dip when you go into extra time, but the team that can gain an advantage on the mental front has the potential to go all the way. Despite playing for nearly two hours, Rambo had the awareness to find the space and concert a masterclass finish, this highlighted our dominant fitness and drive, even towards the latter stages.

4) Why So Long?

The curse lifted, Arsenal are champions again. Truly a remarkable showing after the horror-show start which, on another day, would have come at the other end of the game and lost us the cup.

It probably helped us that Hull started so well as it gave us something to respond to and we were able to take it slowly but steadily in order to recover. Our performances all campaign have been up and down and we ironically portrayed the nature of the campaign in 120 minutes of football.

The main difference yesterday was the belief we had, coupled with that extra quality shown. Overall, this is just too sensational to sum up in words and the celebratory tone around North-London will hopefully last long enough for us to kick-start next campaign in similar fashion.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

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One Comment

  1. hottspring

    May 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    as much as arsenal fans are rooting for big summer signings for various positions let’s take caution(FFP). the finishing sector only needs one signing to replace Bentner. get Campbell back if Vela is available let’s get him. sanogo is good player but needs experience. give him on loan to PL team where he can get it.
    By the way this team is formidable if every player is available.
    if wenger will still be managing our team let him address the injury crisis that keeps rocking us season after season.

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