Daily Archives: May 17, 2014

Hull Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

A shot of the FA Cup on May 5, 2012

After the frantic wait that seemed to last forever, the Gunners finally have a chance of ending their long-standing trophy drought with a crucial clash against Hull City, a team they dispatched with consummate ease both home and away this season. When both clubs met at the Emirates, goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil sealed the tie and when the Gunners visited the KC Stadium, Aaron Ramsey took center stage to score a goal and create two assists for Lukas Podolski.

Ramsey celebrating the match opener against Hull

Since his return from injury, Ramsey has continued his fine form and he would justly be proud about his 15-goal haul this season, which is definitely a career best for the Welsh lad. His composure in front of goal this season has been exemplary and his teammates would be hoping that he brings his scoring boots to Wembley.

Arsene Wenger has also shared his thoughts on the game and has stressed that the performance of his players is more important than the final outcome of the game,

“No matter what the result will be, this club – and this is always most important – can deal with the consequences of any game.

“What is important is that we come out of the game and have the feeling that we gave absolutely our best, our total energy to play at our best and then you always accept the consequences.

“No matter how much we talk about it, you can win and lose but you want to come out of the game feeling you have done the maximum to win and that is what we want to achieve.”

The club’s official site deemed it fit to release a video showing the team’s exploits from the FA Cup third round all the way to the final. German playmaker, Mesut Ozil, has spoken about his excitement in making his Wembley debut while Santi Cazorla claims that he prefers the FA Cup to the Spanish Copa del Rey.

To injuries, it’s worth noting that Hull would be without James Chester as well as the striking duo of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long that have been cup-tied (can I hear a Hallelujah somewhere!). Allan McGregor, Paul McShane and Sone Aluko, have recovered just in time to be involved. At Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would face late fitness tests, but I don’t see them getting involved today.

Since Arsenal’s victory over Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final, there have been a plethora of near misses, what ifs and the whole nine yards. There was the Champions League final heartbreak against Barcelona in 2006, the Carling Cup final loss to Chelsea in 2007, the unfortunate Premier League campaign in the 2007/08 season, getting to the Champions League semifinals in 2009, and of course, the most painful of them all, losing the 2011 Carling Cup final to a relegation-bound Birmingham City.

The list of near misses goes on, but could soon be at an end if Arsenal handles the weight of expectation this time round. An opportunity is just in front of the lads today and we can only hope they grab it with both arms. As Ramsey recently stated in an interview, these players need to start winning trophies which would signal the start of an era for the club.

You can’t get addicted to smoking if you haven’t had your first cigarette.

While everyone seems to be entirely focused on Arsenal and their famous trophy drought, people also tend to forget that the club’s only trophy came in 1966 when it won England’s third-tier title and its best run in a cup competition came back in 1930 when the team reached the FA Cup semifinals. Not like we actually care? -___-

Hull midfielder, David Meyler, shared his thoughts on the daunting task in front of his team,

“Nobody expects us to win it and obviously they haven’t won a trophy in nine years and they’ve got their posters up in London about their parade next week and credit to them. “I’d rather be the underdog. People are delighted when the underdog wins – I don’t think many people want Arsenal to win.”

Hull celebrating their victory over Sheffield

Irrespective of today’s result, Hull is assured of a place in next season’s Europa League, which is a very demanding competition, bearing in mind that the team would face fatigue issues arising from playing on Thursday which is swiftly followed by a match during the weekend. Swansea didn’t have a deep enough squad to face the rigors of the competition and it took its toll on the player’s performances, which ultimately led to the sacking of Michael Laudrup.

To team news, I envisage that playing Lukasz Fabianski ahead of Wojciech Szczensy hinted that the manager wanted to play the younger Pole today but then again, you can never know goes on his head. In defense, I expect to see the regular back fantastic four with Ramsey and Arteta protecting the back line. In midfield, Lukas Podolski would hope to continue his fine form which would mean that Santi Cazorla would start from the right wing with Giroud spearheading the attack.

It will be hard for them without Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long (who are both cup tied) because they’re the ones that give them a bit extra. Matty Fryatt is a good goalscorer – probably a better goalscorer than the other two – but he hasn’t got the pace and he isn’t going to run away from anybody. They will have to give him good service.

Arsenal would have to approach this game with the mindset that as last year’s final – when Wigan shocked Manchester City – proved, nothing can be taken for granted in this competition.

Here’s to a trophy


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