The wait is over. Arsenal have ended a trophy drought dating back to 2005 with a hard fought 3-2 win over Hull at Wembley, claimed with a 109 minute goal from Welsh star Aaron Ramsey. However it could have been very different on another day.
The Gunners were 2-0 down after 8 minutes and the mind of many an Arsenal fan had already turned to despair. Two set pieces had allowed Hull players to make a mockery of Arsenal’s zonal marking and had well and truly torn up the script that Arsene Wenger had in mind for this final.
Arsenal immediately set about chasing the game and a fine freekick from Santi Cazorla settled the nerves and reduced the deficit to just the one goal. The rest of the first half was intensely nervy and Hull had enough about them to see it through to half time with a 2-1 win, not something many people were predicting before the match kicked off.
The second half started the way the first half had left off, Arsenal always on top but never seemingly in control. Nerves were evident throughout the entire Arsenal side but Aaron Ramsey seemed the most calm man on the pitch as he continued to orchestrate the attacks for the London side. His fine through ball allowed Santi Cazorla time in the box only for him to go down under a strong Hull challenge only for Lee Probert to wave play on.
It wasn’t until the 71st minute that another set piece allowed Laurent Koscielny to get himself between a Yaya Sanogo knock down and Hull goalkeeper McGregor to steer in to draw Arsenal level. Arsenal kept on pressing and came close to takign the lead through Kieran Gibbs, only for the left back to blaze over the bar from 7 yards. Santi Cazorla had another penalty shout turned down after a barge from behind from David Meyler, this one greeted by the loudest appeal of them all. Once again the appeal fell on deaf ears. Extra time beckoned.
The first half of extra time was more Arsenal dominated than any other period of the match, but no breakthrough was found with Giroud’s header that rattled the bar the closest either side came. At the beginning of the second half of extra time came the breakthrough. Arsenal’s breakthrough player of the season Aaron Ramsey steered expertly into the bottom corner of the net after some neat play in the Hull penalty area.
A tense finish ensued but Arsenal hung on, despite a huge slip from Per Mertesacker that almost presented Hull with a chance to equalise and force the game into penalties.
Arsene Wenger will now hope look to strengthen his squad over the summer as he seeks to ensure there is not another 9 year wait for the Arsenal faithful.