Arsenal 3-2 Hull | At last! Time to kick on now Wenger

Arsenal finally delivered a proper trophy to their fans with an entertaining, albeit nervy win over Hull City.

Highly fancied before kick off, Arsenal did their best to make a complete cock up of it by going 2-0 down within eight minutes. In the pre-match press conference Wenger had promised the team was focused and motivated, but they looked anything but as Hull took a stranglehold on the game from the kick off. Two scrappy goals later and we were looking down the barrel of another Birmingham-style humiliation.

It looked as though Hull had been working on set pieces and tactics all week, whereas you got the impression we’d done neither, and Wenger had just sent the lads onto the pitch to play the way they always play and hope it works.

It felt like the 1991 FA Cup semi final all over again as the shellshocked Gunners tried to get a foothold in the game. Then came the game’s pivotal moment as Gibbs cleared Bruce Jnr’s looping header off the line to prevent us going 3-0 down — a scoreline we surely wouldn’t have recovered from.

As it was, Cazorla lit up Wembley on 17 minutes with a rare moment of quality, sending a long range free kick into the top corner and it felt like we’d pulled one back early enough to still be considered favourites, even though we were a goal behind.

Immediately we had a ten minute spell when we looked likely to equalise, but it petered out and Hull were looking comfortable in possession as the half drew to a close. This was not a backs to the wall performance from the underdogs — we knew something had to change from Arsenal to get back into this and prevent another season of pundits littering their commentaries with “trophy drought”.

The second half started slowly, although we had a couple of good penalty shouts. Wenger sent on Sanogo for the inneffective Podolski and suddenly we had some pace in the side, albeit allied to a clumsy touch. But no matter, the intent was there and we pushed Hull back, although it took a lucky ricochet from a corner to make it 2-2 when Koscielny slammed home from close range.

The momentum was with the Gunners now and it looked a question of whether we’d get the winner before full time or in extra time. Hull were looking weary and Gibbs missed a sitter on 79 minutes before Giroud produced a good save from McGregor and Sanogo fired just wide in the last minute.

Mertesacker and Koscielny celebrateAs with Wigan, another ‘inferior’ side had taken us to extra time, but this time we produced the quality to win the match and prevent a penalty shootout. Giroud hit the bar early on before backheeling into Ramsey’s path which allowed the Welshman to strike home the winning goal on 109 minutes.

There was one late scare when Mertesacker stumbled and Fabianski — who’d had nothing to do for an hour — came haring out of his area as only Fabianski does, evoking memories of his dreadful decision in 2007 that allowed Drogba to net the winner in the League Cup final. This time the rash Pole got lucky as Aluko failed to hit the unguarded target and Gibbs swept away the last moment of danger.

Victory was finally ours.

Overall the match itself was entertaining, though lacking in quality except for a few nice touches from Cazorla and Ramsey, whose goals were both sublime. I’m determined not to be too critical on the day we finally landed some silverware, so I’ll stop there — recriminations and reflections on the season as a whole can wait for another day and another article.

For now, it is a relief to be winners again. We must be realistic as we are only ranked as fifth favourite for next season according to the latest Premier League odds, but the psychological barrier of having a bare trophy cabinet has finally been removed. We can go into the new season with the confidence of being FA Cup holders, having won more than Chelsea (are you watching Mourinho?), Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs over the last nine months.

If Wenger is reflective, self-critical and strives to improve in areas he has come up short in the last few seasons, victory parades around Islington could become more commonplace in the future. Over to you Arsene.

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  1. Arkadiy

    By far the greatest team…

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  2. Chin

    Good article. Although Fabianski didnt play in the league cup final of 2007, I think youre referring to the fa cup semi final of 2009.

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    • Gooner Steve

      You are right of course, I stand corrected.

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  3. jordangooner

    Why don’t you enjoy the day! Arsenal did well to overcome the 2 goal deficit, its only happened once before in a 100 years. As usual Arsenal made a very slow start, although Hull freekick they scored from was not a freekick. Whilst we were lucky on one corner decision. We should have had at least two penalties. Wenger did well this season, how many teams could handle injuries to players such as Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, the Oz, even with a bigger squad yo can not legislate against losing so many players at the same time. Over to you, get behind the team, we are all Supporters after all !!

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  4. Robin

    I thought the ref had a howler. We had four good penalty shouts of the kind we’ve seen given regularly all season, the two against Cazorla were blatant! Another day & that would’ve been a much easier win. That said, I’m glad they were made to do it the hard way hopefully will steel them for next year’s title run.

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  5. Shanzu

    I am over the moon and elated that we have at last won a trophy but at my age would rather not go thru a game like that again!! It appears that Arsene will now be staying with us for the forseeable future and I do hope that he will ease on his stubborn ways by at least attending to some, if not all, the seven issues mentioned in this blog writer’s last article. The club has now earned at least £150m this season and together with the cash in the bank should have no excuse in not adequatly strengthening the squad for next season. Oh and please Arsene, please don’t delay until September to sign these new players lets get into planning mode NOW.

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  6. neena

    Hollywood stuff, a come back win and a goal from a Player that many wanted him to be gone before, and add to that, a stubborn manager who believe his charge can do wonder. The second best achievent after the invicible. Shoalin soccer epic….. Hats down to the stubborn Wenger.

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