FA Cup Final Match Review: We Are The Champions!
** Please note: not Szczesny but Fabianski in goal
Arsenal vs Hull City at Wembley. The FA Cup final. It was for me, personally, the first final I have witnessed since becoming a Gooner, and I missed it! I was forced to go to a college graduation over an hour away from my house, taking place at the same time as the final! So naturally I went dark from the internet and my phone to avoid spoilers and waited until I got home. After getting home, my Arsenal loving mother and I watched the game on recording, with no knowledge of the result, the score, or anything.
The atmosphere looked incredible. There seemed to be far more Arsenal fans than Hull fans and I really thought we were going to win comfortably. However, it was just the 3rd minute when Hull scored the opener. A corner was swung into the box, volleyed towards goal by Huddlestone, and deflected in by Chester. Fabianski was wrong-footed and could only watch as the ball rolled agonizingly by his fingers and into the side netting. A shock-lead for the underdogs, early on.
After that goal, Arsenal looked a little shell-shocked, but the comeback still looked possible. However, just a few minutes later another cross was swung in. It was headed towards goal, Fabianski palmed it wide, but Davies was on hand to drive it home. Replays show that Davies looked offside, but the referee (who had a bit of a howler on the day) allowed the goal and, eight minutes into the FA Cup final, Arsenal were two goals down.
My mother and I sat there with tears in our eyes. But it was a unique experience as we were all alone. No internet to calm us down, no one on Bergkampesque to talk to. And I must admit, even though I am usually the most optimistic of Gooners, I turned to my mom and said that we were going to lose. I just had a terrible feeling, but after that we improved. And in the 17th minute, our miracle arrived. The Spanish magician Santi Cazorla stepped over a free kick and rifled it into the far corner, perfectly over McGregor’s head. It was an incredible free kick perfect for the occasion.
After that, we never looked like losing. Countless chances went begging and we had four penalty calls ignored. Two were debatable and I could’ve accepted they weren’t called if not for the referee’s horrible game, but two were clear and should have been called and it was embarrassing that they weren’t.
Surprisingly, in the 61st minute, Wenger did exactly what I wanted him to do, switch to a two striker system with Yaya Sanogo coming in. And he did it early! After that, the whole game changed. Sanogo’s physical presence and his pace brought new life into the game. He drove forward, made trouble for the Hull defenders, and swung the momentum strongly in our favour. He was definitely one of the best players on the field. From then on we fought and fought and finally the breakthrough came. The first three goals all came from set pieces and this one would be no different. A corner was swung in by Santi and deflected between a few players on both teams before falling to Koscielny, who hit the ball through McGregor’s legs and was then felled by the Hull goalie. The injury looked bad, but he was able to continue, and more importantly, we were level in the 72nd minute!
After that we looked like we might win it in the 90 minutes. We had many chances with the partnership of Yaya and Ollie getting many shots off. Finally with just a few minutes to go Sanogo picked out a free Gibbs at the far post seven yards from goal, but he blazed it over the bar! I worried for Gibbs after that, as I know from my own playing experience that a miss like that can really shake a player badly, but he seemed to pick himself up really well. We got on with the game and I thought we’d won it when Giroud volleyed the ball at goal, but McGregor pushed it wide and it went into extra time. It was very painful to watch, especially alone.
In extra time we were the only side that looked like scoring. We pushed forward the whole first period, missing just wide multiple times, with Rambo firing everywhere except the back of the net. After the first period of extra time Rosicky and Wilshere were introduced to put some pace back into our game, and it worked. In the 109th minute a wonderful interchange between Sanogo and Giroud left Giroud running away from goal with the ball, Ramsey ran into the space Giroud had opened up, Giroud flicked the ball behind him with his heel, and Ramsey coolly finished the ball into the near post with the outside of his foot before the Hull keeper could even react.
After that Hull had nothing to lose. They pushed far forward and we probably should have had one more on the break. At one point, we looked in trouble, as Per slipped and Fabianski made a horrid mistake by coming miles off his line to chase down the ball, and he slid right by Aluko who shot the ball towards goal from a tight angle; Gibbs was on the line ready to clear it, but the ball rolled just wide anyway. After that we held on and when the whistle finally blew it was magical.
The players collapsed exhausted and unbelieving. It was wonderful to watch us win this major come back, and the first trophy I have ever seen. This team fully deserved to win and it was fantastic to watch my team run around the field in celebration. Ramsey was deservedly the hero after his amazing season. Finally, after an eternity, all our players had their medals and the trophy was ready to be lifted. It was great to watch as captain Verm and Wenger lifted the trophy.
The parade was also lovely to watch Sunday morning, and after winning a trophy and having this wonderful atmosphere around them, it will be interesting to see what happens with Fabianski and Sagna and their expiring contracts. Sagna gave an interview after the final saying that he will see if he can “find a solution” to this contract issue. I would love to see him stay. But on another note, it was an incredible feeling for us to win this trophy and this will be a spring board to future success. We now have a team full of trophy winners and the Emirates trophy curse is broken. Players will be even more attracted to us this summer and I can’t wait to see what next season brings.
Overall, the team played well after the Cazorla free kick and there were stand out performances from Koscielny, Sanogo, and of course Rambo.
So for the final review of the seasons, some questions:
- Who was your man of the match?
- What is your opinion of Sanogo?
- How does it feel to win a cup at last?
- Will this be a spring board for future trophies?
Thanks for reading and happy celebrations to you all! 😀
Written By: Dylan.