8 Years, 11 months and 25 days.
That’s how long the Arsenal faithful have been waiting since their last trophy. Too long in the opinion of many fans. Not long enough in the opinion of their rivals.
Without a doubt this is the best chance Arsene Wenger’s side have had to lift a trophy in recent years after a poor start to 2014 saw their title hopes de-materialise as Manchester City closed out for their second EPL title. Hull manager Steve Bruce has already claimed he side are “Rank Outsiders” for the final and many agree, with both fans and pundits alike looking back at a season where Arsenal have already put 5 goals past Hull without reply.
Of course results from the EPL are no indication of how the teams will fare in a cup competition, let alone a final. Arsenal have struggled to get themselves over the line in the previous three finals they have been involved in. Of course one of those was the Champions league final against Barcelona which is a slightly different prospect than that of facing Hull. Wembley is expected to be close to capacity today for what is one of the biggest days in the English soccer calendar, and both teams will have a lot of support. Arsenal may have a slight advantage on how many fans will be there due to the club being based in London, but Hull fans will know that cup finals involving their teams are tough to come by so they will definitely make themselves heard today.
– Aaron Ramsey is set to start at Wembley after his solid performance against Norwich last week. Arsenal’s drop in form coincided with the loss of the Welsh midfielder and I think the Arsenal side looks a lot stronger with him involved.
– Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thomas Vermaelen will face late fitness tests to assess whether they can take any part at all in the final clash.
– Arsenal’s chances of keeping Hull at bay are drastically improved by the fact both Hull strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are cup tied and can play no part in the final.
– Hull have not scored against Arsenal this season after losing 2-0 at the Emirates and more recently suffering a 3-0 defeat at the KC Stadium
– This will be Arsenal’s 11th FA Cup final, but Hull’s first.
– Arsenal are bidding to equal Manchester United as the FA Cup’s most successful team, a win today will equal United’s record of 6 wins from 11 finals.
There’s a lot in Arsenal’s favour today, but the magic of the cup will surely have something to say about the outcome of the match. Fans around the would will be praying that they don’t have to go one more year without success, a trophy win here will surely be a boost for all at Arsenal who some fear have “forgotten how to win”.