Daily Archives: May 18, 2014
Arsenal: Cazorla 17′, Koscielny 71′, Ramsey 109′
Hull: Chester 3′, Davies 9′
The stage was set for the most important game in the careers of everyone concerned with Arsenal football club. With the exception of Mathieu Flamini, no one, I repeat, no one in the team had ever relished the experience of winning a trophy with the club. Arsene Wenger was blessed with a fully fit squad to choose from and he opted for his strongest squad, with the obvious exception of Theo Walcott that was still nursing his knee injury.
After the pre-match pleasantries, it was time to do the talking on the pitch and Hull screamed really loud with basically their first attack of the game. Ahmed El Mohammady was allowed to have a go at Kieran Gibbs and a blocked cross yielded a corner kick. A training routine was executed superbly as the floated ball was drilled back into the danger area by Tom Huddlestone. Chester was on hand to lash at the ball and it beat Lukasz Fabianski on his far post.
A bad start for Arsenal even became worse when a goalmouth scramble resulted in a headed effort which was parried by Fabianski but the ball went straight to the path of Curtis Davies that wasted no time in slamming the ball home. Nine minutes gone, Hull two goals to the good. A familiar feeling for the Gunners in their away exploits at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
If we thought going two goals down that early was embarrassing enough, Hull almost made it three when a goal-bound looping header was nodded over the bar by Gibbs. Had Mikel Arteta stayed on the far post early on, Chester ball wouldn’t have crept in. The Gunners looked bereft of confidence and needed inspiration from somewhere. Up stepped Santi Cazorla to rifle in a free kick that sent the Arsenal faithful into raptures.
That goal set the wind to Arsenal’s sails and from there onwards, it was only a question of when the equalizer was going to come. Olivier Giroud dropped deep to swing a lovely pass for Lukas Podolski who in turn looked up and delivered a carefully-threaded cutback to Mesut Ozil’s path only to see his German teammate fire an air shot Yaya Sanogo would have been proud of.
At some point, it turned into target practice as Giroud fired Ramsey’s pass on a defender’s body before Podolski released a thunderbolt that was blocked by a Hull defender as well. Giroud then showed off his amazing work rate in winning the ball off a Hull defender but his teammates weren’t in the same wavelength with him as his cutback sailed across the six yard box with no Gunner in sight to apply the killer finishing touch.
The second half had a somewhat dull affair at the start and this was epitomized by Huddlestone’s hooliganism in the middle of the park. After a couple of cynical challenges, he finally found himself in the ref’s book, a place he deserved to be all game long. Wenger withdrew the ineffectual Podolski for
Wilshere Rosicky Sanogo, yes Sanogo. The French forward connected well to pick up a lovely pass from Giroud but his shot was lashed wide.
Arsenal’s breakthrough finally arrived from yet another set piece but this time it was Laurent Koscielny that reacted quickly to put the ball beyond an onrushing McGregor who clattered the French defender in the aftermath of the goal.
Koscielny looked as if he wasn’t going to continue the game but he probably showed that he shares the same DNA with Chuck Norris and he was up and running moments later like nothing had happened to him. Okay, I’m kidding.
Late on, Arsenal fans thought that the golden moment had arrived when Sanogo’s hard work saw him lay a cushioned pass to Gibbs but a rush of blood to the head made the full back fire what looked more like a goal kick rather than a shot at goal.
Extra time beckoned and the Arsenal onslaught continued. Giroud had a volley that was saved, Sanogo kept huffing and puffing and narrowly fired a shot wide. In extra time, Ramsey chipped a lovely ball that was met by Giroud’s head but the woodwork came to Hull’s rescue. It was really looking like one of those days.
The injection of Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere to lay more siege to an already tired Hull defense was a stroke of genius by Wenger. Both players showed off their reserves of energy and it aided their team’s cause.
Then the moment of glory arrived…
A lovely ball was given to Giroud in the box and it was glaring that he wasn’t going to use his weaker right foot to fire a shot with defenders lurking. Instead, Giroud probably used his side mirror to see Ramsey on the prowl and he executed an inch-perfect backheeled pass that was stabbed home by Ramsey. One word… Delirium. And yeah, Bobby Agulanna cried!
From two goals down, Arsene Wenger’s men dug deep and showed off yjeor character, resilience and mental strength to score three goals. As in, three goals in a FA Cup final. The biggest stages of them all. At that point in time, the folks at Since Arsenal Won a Trophy were getting ready to reset their clock that was at eight years, 11 months, 27 days, … You get my drift.
Just when we thought that the game was done and dusted, Per Mertesacker slipped at a crucial moment and his error allowed Sone Aluko a chance to bear down on goal. Just like the FA Cup semifinal match against Chelsea in 2009, Fabianski jetted off his line and was left for dead by the Nigerian. With a gaping and unguarded goal to aim at, the winger played the ball towards the net but Gibbs reacted swiftly to clear it off the line.
At the sound of the ref’s whistle it was party time in Wembley and Bheerhugs Cafe, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria and like Wojciech Szczesny, I, @dkingpin, @wheelsindk, @K_Sturna, @radio_activist and @faithhitler decided to have our very own Gooner selfie.
Then of course, the wild celebrations began and there was time for Wenger to give Bacary Sagna his blessing…
I’ve always said that you can’t get addicted to smoking till you’ve had your first cigarettes. These Gooners have finally smoked some FA Cup cigarettes. I hope they decide to go on a pot fest in the years to come.
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