FA Cup Final: Can Arsene Tame The Tigers?

Published: May 16, 2014 19:42pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 16, 2014 @ 07:42pm EDT

 

This weekend, kicking off at 5pm local time, midday on our east coast, the final domestic trophy of the English League season will be contested. Starting in 1871 the FA Cup is the oldest, and probably most coveted trophy for the majority of English clubs. 

Only a hand full of clubs nowadays can seriously challenge for the title, but the FA Cup can pit potentially two sides from any league, and any position, together. The last ten seasons we have seen sides like Millwall, West Ham, Cardiff, Stoke, Everton, Wigan and Portsmouth on two occasions have made in to the Final. It wasn’t that long ago Portsmouth won the trophy and of course we all remember last season when it was the turn of Wigan Athletic.

This time it is the chance for Arsenal to win their first silverware since lifting this exact trophy in 2005. On that occasion they beat Manchester United, this time it will be much harder.
Hull City have had some off field problems this season with the proposed name change but Steve Bruce has managed to galvanize his squad and, although the end of the league season was disappointing, but you have to think no matter tomorrow’s result it would have been a good season.             

For Hull City this represents the first time they have made it to the FA Cup final in their 110 year history. In fact the closest they ever came before was back in 1930 when they were eliminated at the Semi Final stage. It was at the hands of Arsenal when their FA Cup was ended eighty four years ago and Arsenal may very well win again on Saturday. 

The difference this time around is, win or lose, Hull City will wake up Sunday morning having participated in their first Cup Final and knowing that next season will include European football. No matter what the result, because Arsenal finished fourth and will be in the Champions League, it means Hull City will go into the Europa League.

That defeat in 1930 signaled the Gunners first success in this competition and they have raised the trophy a total of ten times up until today, and are second only to Manchester United with the most wins. In fact if they were to lift the trophy tomorrow they would equal the United record, which is something else to add to the United fans misery this season! 

They have the experience and I think if you were to travel anywhere outside of the Hull City Center to find someone who seriously think that Arsenal will not win. That is the beauty of this game though, at the end of the day it is eleven guys against another eleven and whoever clicks on the day, gets it. I doubt you would have found anyone who would have thought Wigan would lift the trophy last season, or Portsmouth in 2008 and that is how this competition is. 
Wimbledon did it against the odds in 1988 and Coventry the year before, so there is a good tradition of Cup Final upsets to be found. 

So how can Hull City cause an upset at Wembley against Arsenal, considering the 3-0 spanking handed out on their own ground only last month? Simple, the weight of expectation and restlessness of the Arsenal support could certainly be your friend the longer the game goes on. Lets face it, no one expects Hull City to win and so they go in with no pressure, probably being told to go enjoy the day, knowing they will be in Europe and still in the Premiership next season and that they are doing something new in the history of the club. 

On the other side you have Arsenal who fell out of Europe, were top of the Premier League for the most number of days in the season only to just barely scrape into fourth place and the years without a trophy being talked about with more frequency each year that passes. Imagine taking all that baggage into Wembley and reaching half time, sixty minutes or similar, goalless, or worse conceding a goal.     

Statistics wise Arsenal have nothing to worry about, they have the better players, they have more experience and they have the head to head statistics on their side. In all eighteen meetings in all competitions between the two clubs Hull have only won three times, Arsenal have won twelve. They have scored more than double against Hull than Hull have against them and Arsenal were last defeated by Hull back in September 2008. However, if you just take the FA Cup performances between the two and things are much more balanced. In the five meetings, Hull lost two, drawn two and won one. Their FA Cup Semi Final, as mentioned earlier, saw Arsenal win 1-0 after the initial 2-2 draw had forced a replay. 1908 was a similar story only his time Hull won the replay 4-1 after the initial 0-0 draw but the latest meeting in this competition was in 2009 when Arsenal dispatched Hull 2-1.

For the managers this is also pressure on one, while the other can almost relax and enjoy the day. Arsene Wenger has been rumored to be on his way out of Arsenal and this possibly could be his last game in charge of the club, certainly a win or defeat could make any decision that much easier possibly. For Steve Bruce winning the trophy and depending on next seasons progression in the Europa League he may might well find his name moving up the list for the next potential England Manager as one of the most successful English managers currently employed in the League. 


 

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Jason Bardwell
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