FA Cup: Arsenal v Hull Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups + Predicted Score
Arsenal will be looking to end a nine-year trophy drought when they take on Hull City in the final of the FA Cup on Saturday evening. Here’s a preview.
Arsenal will be looking to end a nine-year trophy drought when they take on Hull City in the final of the FA Cup on Saturday evening.
As you will all no doubt remember, as the media seem to love reminding us of it at any given opportunity, the last time we won a piece of silverware was back in 2005 when Patrick Vieira lifted the FA Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United.
Since then, we’ve lost two League Cup finals to Chelsea and Birmingham and a Champions League final to Barcelona in 2006, so you can’t say we haven’t come close to getting our hands on further trophies in recent years, but this game offers us an excellent opportunity to end the barren run and bring that winning feeling back to the club.
While some rival fans will try and down play the achievement, if we do win tomorrow, by saying it was ‘only Hull’ we beat in the final. We’ve actually had an extremely difficult run to this stage having to see-off Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton before facing last years winners, Wigan, in the semi final. So nobody can say we won’t have earned this cup win.
However, this game is by no means going to be a walk in the park and we only have to look at last years final to prove that. Wigan were the huge under dogs against Manchester City yet held out for a famous 1-0 win, and we should keep this in mind tomorrow.
We’ve already beaten Hull twice this season with a 2-0 victory at the Emirates in December followed by a 3-0 win at the KC Stadium last month, but that will count for nothing on Saturday. Steve Bruce is going to have his side well organised and they will be fighting for every ball, so we’re going to have to be on top form to get the win.
Thankfully we have no fresh injury worries to contend with but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thomas Vermaelen will be given late fitness checks before their availability is determined.
The Ox has been out with a groin injury in recent weeks and has only played 20 minutes since the semi final so even if he’s passed fit, the best he can hope for is a place among the subs.
Vermaelen has needed stitches in a cut knee but I expect he’ll be passed fit and will take his place next to Chamberlain on the bench as Arsene Wenger is highly likely to stick with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the back.
The boss has a big decision to make over who starts in goal, though. Lukasz Fabianski has started in all the previous rounds and I suspect he’ll be given the nod again tomorrow in what will be his last appearance for the club.
Yaya Sanogo has also played in the previous rounds of the cup but I think we’ll see Olivier Giroud start up front with the youngster kept in reserve.
Hull have several fitness doubts heading into the game and Steve Bruce has vowed not to take any risks with anybody who’s not 100% ready.
That means the likes of Paul McShane, James Chester, Robbie Brady and Sone Aluko are all likely to miss out on starting spots.
Allan McGregor returned from injury last week and is expected to continue in goal but Nikica Jelovic and Shane Long are both cup-tied.
Betting & Predicted Score
Cup finals are never easy games to predict as literally anything can happen. It’s a one off game, form goes out the window and average players can have the game of their lives.
In terms of FA Cup betting tips, you have to either back Arsenal but try and find some value, or go with Hull and hope for a shock. Arsenal head into the game in fine form, winning their last four games, while the Tigers haven’t picked up a win since the semi final, losing four and drawing one, so it’s easy to see why the Gunners are the clear favourites with bookmakers offering odds of just 2/7 for us to win the game.
Arsenal to win 2-0 at 11/2 is probably going to be a popular bet but if you throw in Aaron Ramsey to be first goal-scorer the odds shoot up to a very tempting 22/1. Those Gooners feeling positive could fancy us to win 4-0 at 16/1 but I think it’s going to be a lot closer than that and I’d predict a nervy 2-0 win.
What team would you go with and what’s your predicted score? Share your views below.
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