We all knew how massive yesterday’s FA Cup final was in the history of Arsenal Football Club.
Ever since the move to The Emirates, we’ve been restricted financially and over the last 8 seasons have had to sell our best players. World class talents such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Ashley Cole and Samir Nasri have all left and won trophies elsewhere – and very good players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Alex Song have all departed and had mixed success at their new clubs but have still managed to add medals to their personal collection.
So this was a defining moment in Arsenal’s history. Winning the FA Cup would in a small way justify Arsene Wenger’s approach and ethos which has seen us trophy-less for the last 8 seasons, but seen us consistently “win” the other trophy which is 4th place in the Premier League.
We managed to successfully book our place in next years Champions League (providing we successfully negotiate a qualifier) so it was all on yesterday’s final. And in true Arsenal fashion, we could not have made things harder for ourselves.
Arsenal were clearly nervous in the first few minutes and obviously decided that on such a massive occasion as yesterday, the best approach would be to feel their way into the game and let our overall quality shine through over the 90 minutes. Unfortunately, Hull City had other ideas and they came out of the block flying. A combination of their determination and our lacklustre start, Hull City found themselves 2-0 up inside the first 8 minutes.
The millions of Arsenal fans watching couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Not even in their worst nightmares could they have imagined something like this. Some could probably have seen us concede the first goal, but not to be 2-0 down within 10 minutes of kick off.
The only real consolation was that Hull City scored their goals early and with a lead like that, against opposition like Arsenal they got deeper and deeper, happy to get us on the break or score from set-pieces. And don’t take that as any kind of criticism – for me Hull City almost executed the perfect game plan yesterday and they deserve a huge amount of credit, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for them yesterday. In the end there can only be one winner but Hull City couldn’t have pushed us any further.
With the goals coming early we had 80 minutes to get our act together, but at 2-0 Hull City had a headed chance cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs who stopped a Alex Bruce header from going into the top corner. If that goes in, it’s thank you and goodnight.
We rode our luck and on 17 minutes Arsenal scored. Santi Cazorla stepped up after being fouled (I don’t care what you say, it was a clear foul) and rifled in a stunning freekick into the top corner. You could say McGregor should have saved it but take nothing away from Santi’s strike – to score at that time does not even describe the magnitude of the importance. If that doesn’t go in and we go in at half time 2 goals down, who knows how the day might have ended.
We fashioned a few chances and in the second half it was much of the same. For me, there were 2 blatant penalties which weren’t awarded and 1 other incident where I’ve definitely seen penalties given. At 2-1 down, you just thought that the curse was never going to be broken but on 71 minutes we found the break through and it was Laurent Koscielny that almost broke his leg.
From an Arsenal corner, the ball bounced to Koscielny who did well to swivel round and clip the ball in between the goalkeepers legs and into the net. During the goal however, McGregor flew out and caught Koscielny in a bad challenge. It looked like the defenders leg took the weight of the goalkeeper as he jumped into him but fortunately The Boss was okay enough to continue after some treatment.
Then at 2-2 you’re at that strange place where you don’t know whether to stick or twist. If you attack too much you might get caught on the break but you can also nick the game and win the cup. Kieran Gibbs had a glorious chance to score in the final moments and Olivier Giroud hit the bar in extra time (I think, it’s all still a bit of a blur!).
9 times out of 10 (don’t quote me on the accuracy of that statistic) when it goes into extra time you usually expect both teams to consolidate and the game generally goes to penalties. But Arsenal didn’t want that and kept pressing for the winning goal – and it came on 109 minutes.
The ball was played into Yaya Sanogo from Jack Wilshere and the ball bounced into the path of Olivier Giroud, who skilfully back heeled the ball into the path of Rambo. There is no-one else on the pitch you would rather the ball fall to into that position and Arsenal’s player of the season by some way managed to cutely finish into the bottom corner with his right foot.
At that stage, every Arsenal fan watching went into raptures and that was the moment Arsenal made history. The first major trophy in 9 years was finally coming to The Emirates and I cannot describe how happy I am. To me, the FA Cup victory represents so much more than a major trophy. It represents the future and hopefully buries those barren years that we’ve all had to endure over the last few seasons.
You could tell the players were over the moon, and Arsene Wenger just looked relieve more than anything. Maybe perhaps the FA Cup win means he can stay at Arsenal now?
Hopefully this means we can kick on and win more trophies over the next few seasons. Of course, Arsenal fans more than other football supporters know that you can’t take anything for granted in this game but today is about enjoying the absolute hell out of this and having a wonderful summer.
I definitely have a happier outlook now Arsenal have won the FA Cup and I’m sure that goes for all Arsenal fans across the world. I’ll still be enjoying this going into next season! Arsenal Football Club, FA Cup Winners 2014. It has a nice ring to it!
I can’t really describe how emotional I am right now. The first trophy for 9 seasons. It has been a long time coming and I don’t care if people think I’m over celebrating this!
Enjoy it, savour it and #COYG!