By Tonte Davies
With the FA Cup final contenders now known after another busy football weekend, questions of who deserves it more and who has more cause to celebrate reverberates still. Though Arsenal FC has not won silverware since 2005, their last appearance in a final was a 2011 Carling Cup tie. The Gunners lost the match against Birmingham City FC in which the latter won by a 1-2 goal margin. That loss further extended the north London side’s trophyless streak.
The recent win and qualification by Arsene Wenger’s men into the final of the FA Cup shows gleam of hope, “It will give us a boost for the rest of the season now, we can move forward with confidence,” says Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen. The Gunners were heading for defeat at Wembley stadium trailing 1-nil courtesy a 63rd minute penalty by Jordi Gomez for Wigan. The lead was however, made level with an 82 minute equalizer by Per Mertesacker.
Lukasz Fabianski was arguably the man-of-the-match, saving two penalty kicks after normal regulation time ended in a deadlock. Arsenal may have won the match, though Arsene Wenger looks beyond the Cup final. “…Hopefully this success in the Cup can give us a lift in our remaining league fixtures,” Wenger is quoted as saying. Wenger admitted they “were under big pressure” and said further he was “relieved at the end.”
On the flip side, does Hull City have a greater reason to be hysterical? Many will argue they do. Unlike Arsenal, the Tigers (as fondly known among fans) make the FA Cup final tie for the first time since 1930: this singular reason is a lot to celebrate [especially for a club whose (majority) fans are at loggerhead with the clubs Egyptian-born owner with the intent to change the clubs name. Hull City came from behind twice scoring three goals in the second half to beat League One Sheffield United 5-3 in their semi-final encounter.
Already, bookmakers and football analysts are touting the view that pressure is more on Arsene Wenger’s “big boys” than Steve Bruce’s men. This Tiger’s team captain Tom Huddlestone resonates the talk of pressure saying “it’ll be difficult, but it’s a cup final and it’s probably best to be an underdog.” Hull City manager Steve Bruce is more explicit: “the pressure will be on Arsenal because they have not won anything for a while.” The manager stated this in a post-match interview after their win.
The final between Arsenal and Hull City will be played 17 May, at the Wembley stadium.