Arsenal have won their first trophy since 2005 by beating Hull City 3-2 in extra time. Hull City went 2-0 up within 10 minutes, but Arsenal came back to win their 11th ever FA Cup. Hull enjoyed a brilliant start to the game when James Chester put them 1-0 up inside the first four minutes.
In the fourth minute, Chester pounced on Tom Huddlestone’s deflected shot, and slotted it past the Arsenal keeper, Lukasz Fabianksi. Wembley was rocking and within four minutes, Hull added a second, when Curtis Davies scored in the eighth minute. Hull have scored a lot of their goals from corners this season, and it was fitting that they should score two against Arsenal, who have looked weak on set-pieces. Hull could have had a third, in the 11th minute, but Kieran Gibbs cleared Alex Bruce’s header off the line and Arsenal started to grow into the game. The clearance was definitely a turning point in the game.
In the 17th minute, just six minutes after Hull were denied a third goal, Santi Cazorla scored a beautiful free-kick and Arsenal were back in the game. From the moment Arsenal scored, they asserted their dominance over possession and had the majority of the chances. They looked just a fraction off because they had many chances that they were just inches away from converting. Arsenal went into half-time 2-1 down, but it seemed a matter of time before they scored an equalizer.
Arsenal dominated possession in the second-half, but they were unable to make that possession count in the first 15 minutes of the second-half. Arsene Wenger cut a dejected figure on the sideline, but he must be credited for his tactical changes. In the 61st minute, Wenger brought on French striker, Yaya Sanogo, for the anonymous Lukas Podolski. Sanogo is not a lethal striker, but he is hard-working and put the Hull defense under a lot of pressure. In the 71st minute, Arsenal’s pressure told, and center-back, Laurent Koscielny found the net from a corner. Hull keeper, Alan McGregor, could possibly have done better, and Arsenal were suddenly level. Arsenal looked the more likely to score, but neither side could find a breakthrough, so the game went to extra-time.
Hull set out to play for penalties in the first-half of extra-time. They looked to frustrate Arsenal, and they succeeded in that task, bar one chance, where Olivier Giroud hit the bar. Creative players, like Mesut Ozil, who struggled through the game, were unable to break down the Hull defense, and Arsenal needed to make a change. Wenger was decisive, he brought on Jack Wilshere, and Tomas Rosicky, and those changes made the difference in the second-half of extra-time.
Hull were tiring, and by bringing on two fresh, creative players, Wenger made sure his side took advantage of this. It didn’t take long, as Aaron Ramsey capped a brilliant move with a tidy finish in the 109th minute. Again, McGregor could have done better, but the move was beautiful, and a fitting winner. Despite Hull manager, Steve Bruce’s, attempts to motivate his squad, they had tired themselves out defending their lead in normal time, and were unable to muster any real attacking threat. There were a couple shots from outside the box, but Arsenal looked comfortable.
Arsenal can count themselves a bit lucky. They were expected to win comfortably, yet they required extra-time to beat a resilient Hull side. Had Hull scored the third goal, then I think the result would have been completely different, and could have been extremely embarrassing for Arsenal. Wenger deserves a lot of credit for the win, all of his changes paid off, and Arsenal are now tied with Manchester United for most FA Cup wins.