FA Cup final: More than a trophy for Wenger

FA Cup final: More than a trophy for Wenger

ARSENAL 3 (Santi Cazorla 17, Laurent Koscielny 71, Aaron Ramsey 109)

HULL CITY 2 (James Chester 4, Curtis Davies 9)

After extra-time, 2-2 after 90 min

 

Arsenal's trophy drought is over.

After nine years of frustration, it ended with a scrappy performance that could so easily have delivered nothing more than enduring misery and yet you could scour the planet and you would not find an Arsenal fan who cares.

All that mattered yesterday morning (Singapore time) was winning.

Win by being good, win by being bad, win by falling over and having the ball bounce in off your bottom if that's what it takes, but win. Just win.

Arsene Wenger has won 12 major trophies in his career, but none of them have had as visible an effect as this.

Usually so composed and detached, he raced onto the Wembley turf at the final whistle, his long, skinny limbs spiralling in the air like some kind of monstrous, frenzied insect.

He knew what this meant, he knew that this was no ordinary cup final. This was perhaps the final test of his suitability as manager of the club he has transformed over almost two decades.

Had Hull City held onto the two-goal lead they claimed inside the first nine minutes, perhaps Wenger would have been forced to reassess his future. Perhaps the contract he has long claimed was awaiting his signature would have been left unsigned.

"It is a relief and (I'm very) happy," said Wenger after the final whistle.

"We were under severe pressure, we didn't start well. We made a demonstration of how to respond to being 0-2 down, but also a demonstration of how not to start a cup final."

The portents of doom were certainly there if you looked for them.

In the build-up to the game, Lukas Podolski remarked that he had never even heard of Hull's striker Matty Fryatt.

MOCKING TWEET

An hour before kick-off, Yaya Sanogo released a mocking tweet directed at Jose Mourinho, asking "how many trophies" he had won. After nine minutes of play, it appeared that Wenger and Mourinho would end the season with much of a muchness. While Arsenal loitered without intent, Hull went for their throat.

"They showed an incredible amount of courage to go and take the game to them," said Steve Bruce of his players.

"On another day, we might just have won the FA Cup, but it just wasn't to be. I thought it was going to be our day."

It took only four minutes for Hull to make their mark. Stephen Quinn's corner found Tom Huddlestone lurking at the back of the penalty area and his powerful volley was directed into the net by James Chester.

Five minutes later, the advantage was doubled.

Arsenal failed to deal with a free-kick, the ball was pumped back into the box and Alex Bruce's header clanged off Lukasz Fabianski's post.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Curtis Davies was there to rifle home from a narrow angle.

Arsenal looked lost, as they have in so many important games this season.

But they were given a helping hand on 17 minutes when Alex Bruce fouled Santi Cazorla and the Spaniard fired the free-kick straight into the top corner of Allan McGregor's net.

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