Arsenal Win FA Cup, trophy drought ends against Hull City

IMAGE, ARSENAL.COM

By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

A black cloud hung over Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. The Gunners hadn’t won a trophy for nine seasons, perennially finishing with their toes just short of the champions line.

However, that all changed against Hull City in extra time of the FA Cup. Aaron Ramsey, who has been the club’s player of the season despite missing time through injury, found the winner in the 109th minute, tipping the balance in a 3-2 victory.

Olivier Giroud‘s back-heel went into Ramsey’s path who finished to give Arsenal the advantage. While that goal brought loud roars from the Arsenal faithful everywhere, it was a match the Gunners struggled in, and at times, nearly saw the FA Cup trophy in Hull’s fingertips.

The Tigers surprised everyone with a one-two punch with less than 10 minutes into the game. Stephen Quinn‘s corner went outside the top of the box, where Tom Huddlestone was waiting. His attempt was directed on goal by James Chester and passed Lukasz Fabianski in the fourth minute.

Curtis Davies then added a second just five minutes later. Although Arsenal shouted for offside, Davies fired in a rebound at the far post.

Arsenal’s lackadaisical beginning to games has been seen several times over the course of the season. In true Arsenal fashion, they couldn’t make anything easy.

However, with Arsenal being heavy favorites, one goal seemed poise to shift the game in the Gunners favor.

Santi Cazorla‘s free-kick in the 17th minute did bring much better play from Arsenal. On the goal, some fingers may be pointed at Hull’s goalkeeper Allan McGregor. He took a step towards his right, possibly reading the flight of the ball incorrectly. He tried to get back to his left, but only got fingertips to help Cazorla’s free-kick into the net.

Although Arsenal’s confidence grew, Hull continued to frustrate with a gritty performance. As time continued to tick off the clock, Arsenal continued to attack with numbers.

It was a substitution that changed the face of the match. Although Yaya Sanogo has yet to score for the club, he was thrown on in the 61st minute. While he still has a zero in the goals column, his presence lifted the Gunners. Sanogo continued to get himself in good positions and troubled the Hull backline.

An equalizer for Arsenal continued to look forthcoming and finally found the breakthrough in the 71st minute. Laurent Koscielny was able to pounce in the box to beat McGregor and was lucky to not be seriously injured on the play as well.

Despite a heap of pressure, Arsenal couldn’t find a winner in normal time.

Hull would have hoped for a penalty shootout, clinging on with tired legs. While the Tigers were fading in the extra time, Arsenal looked to find another gear. Hull struggled to find a way to hold onto the ball and eventually the Gunners, through Ramsey found their deserved winner.

For Hull, they can be incredibly proud of their performance. While they will look at it as a trophy slipping out of their hands after going up 2-0, they certainly gave their all on the pitch. They took their goals well and pressed Arsenal all over the pitch. The latter may ultimately have been there downfall as legs tired.

Arsenal’s quality did shine through at the end. It’s a trophy that Arsenal can now clear a little dust from their cabinet to make a place for their newest silverware. It may have taken nine years, but it will be a victory that won’t be forgotten by many for a long time.

The question now is, how far can this Arsenal team go?

If the club just needed to get that one trophy to begin to find similar success under Wenger in his early reign, then it could be an exciting time for the club over the next few years.

Here are the match highlights: