Thursday, May 15th, 2014
The build-up to the FA Cup final on Saturday has been dominated by Arsenal’s trophy drought.
Arsene Wenger’s side have not brought silverware back to north London since 2005 thanks to a penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final which took place in Cardiff.
High profile final defeats, in the 2006 Champions League and 2011 Carling Cup have seen the Gunners labelled as chokers and a side not quite good enough when it comes to the crunch.
But, this flies in the face of the fact that Arsenal consistently finish in the top four of the Premier League and have become experts at beating lower to middling sides in the Premier League.
Arsenal will comfortably beat Hull on Saturday at Wembley, here are nine reasons why – to make the number of years since the Gunners last won a trophy…
1. Arsenal 5 – Hull 0. This is the combined score of the two matches played between the Gunners and Steve Bruce’s side this season. Nicklas Bendtner got the ball rolling for Arsenal in a 2-0 win at the Emirates in December and it was even easier in April – a 3-0 victory at the KC Stadium, with Lukas Podolski scoring twice.
2. Arsenal have a great record in FA Cup finals. The Gunners have won their last three FA Cup finals. Seeing off Manchester United in 2005, Southampton in 2003 and Chelsea in 2002. In their last six FA Cup finals, Arsenal have won five.
3. Hull are not very good! Hull finished the 2013/2014 season on 37 points from 38 games. Four points from safety but in many other seasons this total could well have seen them relegated. A minus 15 goal difference in the Premier League says a lot about how Steve Bruce’s side played over the course of the 2013/2014 campaign.
4. Hull are in woeful form! Reaching the FA Cup final has disguised just how poor Hull have been of late. Their only Premier League point in the last five games, came against a Fulham side heading for relegation. Hull lost each of their final three matches by a margin of two goals. Hull’s record over the last eight Premier League games is: LLWLDLLL.
5. The north London derby omen. When Arsenal face Spurs in the FA Cup, the winner of that tie goes on to win the competition. This occurred in 1982, 1991, 1993 and 2001. Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates in the third round this season.
6. Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are fit and firing. The Gunners wobble towards the end of the season, which saw them slip out the title race coincided with injuries to Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott. The Welsh and German midfielders have now returned to action and are in fine fettle. Ramsey in particular looks crucial, he has scored two goals in his last three games and the strike at Norwich was superb.
7. Hull’s side is severely weakened. The signings of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic may have been hailed as key to keeping Steve Bruce’s side in the Premier League but both strikers are cup tied and not available for Wembley. Hull are severely weakened and look set to start Yannick Sagbo up front on his own.
8. Arsenal’s excellent defence. Ever since Arsene Wenger paired Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker together in the centre of defence, the Gunners have looked very hard to break down. The last goal Arsenal conceded was to West Ham on April 15. This was followed by four successive clean sheets.
9. The end of an Arsenal era. Rumours have been rife for some time that Arsene Wenger will quit if the Gunners fail to win the FA Cup on Saturday. If that isn’t enough motivation for the Arsenal players then what is? In addition, two of the likely starting line-up look set to play their final matches for Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski and Bacary Sagna. Both have been in excellent form during their run to the final.