so, last year I took a brief moment out of focusing on my life and my hobby to take a look at the upcoming FA Cup final between arsenal a Hull City, which you can read here.
As you’ll see, I anticipated a lineup of
Sagna mertesacker koscielny Gibbs
I was wrong on a couple of counts, firstly in goal. At the time there had been uncertainty about the starter due to Fabianskis performances previously but as he was leaving it seemed odd to potentially disrupt the confidence of Sczeszny- but Wenger opted for Fabianski anyway.
I also expected to see Flamini in to help with the anticipated ‘roughing up’ from Hull (this isn’t to detract from the,, I merely felt as the underdogs they’d be organised and try to disrupt our play). Wenger opted for Podolski instead, which I found odd given his indifferent form over the season.
The match itself did not go to plan, as Hull hit hard and fast (almost like the arsenal of old) and were 2-0 up very quickly, leaving arsenal on the ropes- I’m almost certain there was call for a third too. Arsenal then recovered- or rather started the match- and came up against the anticipated stubborn defence of Hull, only a fantastic Cazorla free kick giving us hope at 1-2 at half time.
As play resumed arsenal had clearly had a bollocking from Wenger and kept the pressure on Hull, however as penalty appeals were denied and chances missed it felt as though it was too little too late, until Yaya Sanogo (On for the anonymous Podolski) hooked the ball out and the referee
mistakenly ruled for a corner. Up rose Koscielny and thumped the ball into the net. Typically, with Hull seemingly some we missed chances to end the game and we reached time at 2-2
After a short break it was down to extra time, and as an arsenal fan this worried me, we have this terrible habit of pushing and pushing before being caught by a single goal, and with tired legs and time short this seemed a distinct possibility.
As time dragged on and Giroud and Ramsey missed chances Wenger went for the more direct approach, taking of Ozil and Cazorla for Rosicky and Wilshire. Finally a break through was made as Ramsey got his goal and put us ahead midway through the second half of extra time, meaning we just had to hold on for a bit longer. Typically it wasn’t without drama as Mertesacker (solid most of the game) slipped and we suffered flashback of Birmingham in the League cup final, making matters worse Fabianski came flying out of the box leaving the goal open for the hull player- in a stroke of luck he hit it wide, his legs probably gone.
The final chance of the game again went to Hull as Fabianski redeemed himself for charging out by saving the shot in the last moment of the game. Arsenal had won- not on the style of have liked but still a win is a win.
Another strang r,one that occurred as ‘club captain’ Thomas Vermaelen lifted the trophy despite spending the season warming the bench, whilst it was a nice touch it wasn’t necessary.
Within days Vermaelen, Sagna and Fabianski were gone.
In the next post I’ll look ahead to this years final Arsenal vs Aston Villa