Big big game this one. Both teams know what’s at stake. Every Arsenal supporter will be on the verge of ecstasy…or complete rage depending on how this one ends up. I’m a nervous wreck, and I have been ever since we knocked Wigan out in the Semi. I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself, especially after our last cup final heartbreak (not to mention the Chelsea 06/07 League Cup and the 05/06 Champions League final). We have won our last 3 FA Cup finals so fingers crossed. I really hope we don’t take Hull too lightly and we are ready for battle. Podolski’s comment of “Who is he?” when asked about a Hull City player doesn’t comfort me. Then again he’s as frank as they come.
Let’s get in to it, shall we:
Missing in Action:
Arsenal: Vermaelen (knee) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (Groin) both face fitness tests. Both are likely to make the bench. Walcott (knee) and Gnabry (knee) will miss this one.
Hull City: Pretty much have a full squad to choose from. Strikers Long and Jelavic are cup tied leaving them a touch short up front (pardon the pun). I’m glad Long isn’t playing, he’s a bit of a menace, plus he just has one of those faces that makes you want to punch him. People probably say the same about me but I don’t deliver cheap shots on the pitch like he does. Plus he makes a lot of money so he couldn’t give a shit. Long, if you’re reading this and want to sort me out, my name is Prince and I live in Sydney. I can be found at any local entertainment store purchasing a TV (sent a remote through my last 12) or at any worksite with my Hampton nailed to the floor. Chester will miss with a Hamstring injury.
Some pretty big question marks over who starts, perhaps none bigger than which pole starts in goal? Fabianski deserves it because he got us to the final. However, it is more beneficial for the team if Szczesny starts. My reasoning is: Szczesny will be with us next season…Fabianski will not (unfortunately). The experience Szczesny would gain from such a big match would be very beneficial in the future. I also think Szczesny is a better keeper over all. Szczesny was rested against Norwich, so does that mean he’s finished off the season early? Or does Arsene want him fresh as a daisy for the final? Was Fabianski starting the final fixture his chance to dust off the cobwebs? I have no bloody clue, Martinez could start and I wouldn’t be that surprised given Arsene’s record in big matches (Sanogo – Bayern. Coquelin, Szczesney and Song – United). Vermaelen and the Ox face fitness tests, but I don’t think either will start. Santi or Rosicky is another. Both deserve to start but Santi will most likely get the gig. My preference would be Rosicky. Arteta, Ozil and the Welsh Jesus will man the midfield.
Hull City v Arsenal 0-3
The Ramsey-Podolski show! A double by German gun Podolski and a tidy finish from Ramsey was enough to dismantle Hull. Ramsey showed just how much we had missed him as he played a part in all 3 goals. The home crowd moaned after the second goal but Jelavic clearly flopped on the ground looking for contact. It amazes me that so many supporters whinge about players diving on the pitch, yet when one of their own isn’t rewarded it’s the biggest injustice in the history of time.
You can see the highlights below:
Arsenal v Hull City 2-0
Goals from ‘The Greatest Player to Have EVER lived’ and Ozil were enough to keep Arsenal on top of the table. That cross from Corporal Jenks was delicious. You can see the highlights below:
Form Guide: Arsenal: : WWWWW Hull: LLLDL
We’ve finished the season well after a bumpy run. The team was in danger of losing 4th place to a determined Everton outfit. Fortunately for us Arsenal has faced these pressures before and the team rallied. Arsenal should be in a confident mood for this one, but the players and Arsene will be under immense pressure. The pole in goal and Koscielny will remember what transpired last time. It’s time to get this monkey off our back.
Road to the final:
Arsenal vs Wigan 1-1 (4-2 on penalties)
Arsenal vs Everton 4-1
Arsenal vs Liverpool 2-1
Arsenal vs Coventry 4-0
Arsenal vs Tottenham…Not sure. Can you help us out Theo?
Thanks Theo. See you soon mate.
Can’t say we didn’t earn our spot in the final. A very tough lot of fixtures.
Not the sort of form Hull would have liked going in to a final but form is largely irrelevant in this one. Anything can happen in a final…something we know well.
Road to the final:
Hull vs Sheffield United 5-3
Hull vs Sunderland 3-0
Hull vs Brighton 2-1 (replay after 1-1 draw)
Southend vs Hull 0-2
Middlesbrough vs Hull 0-2
This week I’ve dipped into the Arsenal Archive and pulled out this video clip. It’s the 1970-71 FA Cup final against Liverpool. The colours could be something of a good omen. Enjoy
Ramsey and Ozil vs the Fat ex-spud Huddlestone
On the outer at Spurs, Huddlestone moved over to Hull in search of more minutes. A move that has certainly payed off for both Hull and Huddlestone. Not only has he been a rock in their midfield this season, but he’s also offered them plenty going forward. He has a good range of passing, an eye for a goal and he’s not too bad with a dead ball. Expect him to play out of his skin in this one as I’m sure he’d love nothing more than to give his spud friends something to cheer about on Saturday. There is another spud out their too…he goes by the name of Livermore. Like rats the spuds appear to pop up everywhere.
Ramsey and Ozil…oh what could have been eh? Ramsey was on his way to winning player of the year until his injury. While the rest of us can sit here thinking “could we have won the title if he stayed fit?” Unfortunately we will never know. I’m just very happy for the kid. What a turn around. Many labelled him as deadwood. Now he’s the second coming. I know I can sit here smugly and say “yep. I had the faith and never bagged him once”. For shame the rest of you! If he and Ozil gel together…this one is in the bag!
This week’s finger goes to every bloody media outlet and opposition supporter. Yes, we haven’t won a trophy in a while. Yes, we know you like to rub it in our faces every bloody day. Hopefully a win in this one will result in you finding some new material…not likely but a man can dream. Up yours!
Pre-Match pat on the back:
This week’s pat on the back is going to Arsene Wenger and all the players that have been involved in this campaign. It has been another long season with many ups and downs. We’ve seen glimpses of what we have threatened to deliver for quite some time. On the other hand we’ve also witnessed some truly shocking moments (the Liverpool first half will haunt me for years to come). I guess upon reflection it’s been a typical Arsenal season. We were decimated by injury. We had good victories. We had bad losses. We even sat on top of the table for quite some time. However, it’s all in the past and now we have a chance to end the season on a high. Well done to the players for getting us this far.
‘Ask the opposition’ returns again this week. It is designed to get some friendly banter from our opposition fans and get their insight for the match ahead. This week the answers were kindly provided by SM. A top notch Hull supporter from Oz. Let’s see what he’s written for us this week:
1)What got Hull this far in the FA Cup?
What got us this far was sheer determination. A couple of times now we’ve looked down and out and the players have dragged us across the line. And not just the regular starting players, but fringe players like Yannick Sagbo and Matty Fryatt.
2) What would winning the Cup do for Hull?
Winning the Cup would literally be the biggest moment in this club’s history. It would eclipse the first ever promotion to the Premier League, and the achievement of staying in the Premier League. Winning the Cup would etch forever this Hull City team into the city’s consciousness. It’s hard to explain in Aussie sporting terms, because there is no comparable situation. The closest is the 05 Swans team, and even that club had won a flag 72 years prior.
3) What player/position is your weakest?
The left side is definitely our weakest, with Figueroa horribly out of form and Brady injured. Rosenior is decent cover, but we’re still not strong in that position.
4) What tactics is Hull likely to employ against Arsenal
I would hope to see us play quite cagey early on, and try and keep the score 0-0 until about the half hour mark. If we can do so I think Arsenal supporters will get on the players’ backs, and it will work to our advantage, and we’ll then look to make pacey attacks on the counter.
5) Which Arsenal player would you like and why?
I think my most valuable Arsenal player would have to be Cazorla. Ozil has a great range of passing, but we have that with Huddlestone. Cazorla is that dynamic attacking threat from midfield that we don’t quite have; that links your strikers with your midfielders.
6) Which player/ position do you feel is Arsenal’s weakness?
I think your weakest position is your strikers, and if we can exploit that by giving our defence license to roam, then we may be able to exploit you on the counter.
7) What is your prediction for the match?
Honestly I keep to-ing and fro-ing about the match. I’ll have to say a gutsy 3-1 loss for us if I go with my head, because Arsenal will be too determined, but it would be the match of my lifetime if we were to get up.
It will be a nervous start. How could it not be after the Birmingham final etched in the players’ minds? After some early jitters we will settle in to our groove and prove too strong for a determined Hull outfit. I don’t think they have enough fire power up front to worry us. I predict a FA Cup 3-0victory to the good guys.If we lose…we’ll I can’t bear the thought of it. The world may implode!
What is your prediction?
Szczesny or Fabianski? (BJ…you don’t have to answer this one mate 🙂 )
What team line-up would you go with?
Who will be our best player on the day?
Will victory be enough to propel the team to a new era?
Enjoy the game Arsenal fans. Wherever you are around the world be sure to savour every moment of it.
Written by: Oz Gunner