Arsenal claimed victory in extra time at Wembley in one of the great FA Cup finals of modern times to end their 9 year long trophy drought, as they came back from 2-0 down to defeat Hull City.
Hull won a corner in just the third minute, and Stephen Quinn floated the Hull set-piece to Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the box. The former Tottenham man completely mis-hit the volley, but James Chester was there to flick a heel at the ball, sending it past Lukasz Fabianski and into the bottom corner to put Hull ahead.
Just minutes later, Hull extended their advantage, sending their fans into raptures, as they undid Arsenal with another set-piece goal, with Fabianski failing to deal with a free-kick, Curtis Davies eventually adding the final touch after a scramble in the box.
The Tigers could’ve finished the game off with a third goal less than 5 minutes later, with Kieran Gibbs heading off the line from Alex Bruce’s header, with Fabianski beaten once again.
Arsenal were hardly in the match and looked like they needed a moment of magic to restore the game as a contest. Thankfully for Gunners, Santi Cazorla provided it with the game’s third set-piece goal in just 17 minutes. Cazorla sent a free kick curling into the top corner, beating Allan McGregor, who should’ve been positioned better.
After the goal, Arsenal began to press forward with more purpose, coming close through Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski.
The rest of the half played out with no further massive chances, Tom Huddlestone coming closest with a half-volley from range, which he put over.
As the teams came out to start the second half at a sun-filled Wembley, Olivier Giroud continued to disappoint, as he miscontrolled the ball straight out of play, before being lucky to get away with a nasty tackle on Hull’s Alex Bruce.
Arsenal had a very strong penalty shout on the hour mark as Huddlestone dragged Giroud down by his shoulder as the ball came into the box, with Lee Probert deciding not to penalise the Hull man.
With just 20 minutes to go, and Hull fans beginning to dream, the ball pinged around the box after an Arsenal corner and fell to Laurent Koscielny with his back to goal, just 8 yards out. The Arsenal defender made absolutely no mistake as he turned and scuffed the ball past McGregor, putting Arsenal level.
Arsenal should’ve gone 3-2 up through Gibbs. The left-back had time to take a touch and shoot from eight yards out, but blasted the ball over the bar.
Arsenal continued to try to batter down the Hull door, and had their third good shout for a penalty turned down by Lee Probert when Santi Cazorla was barged over in the box.
With extra time beckoning, McGregor made another good save from Giroud as the French striker swivelled in the box.
Despite 5 minutes of added time, Arsenal failed to break through the Hull defence, and the match went to extra time. Arsenal almost started the extra 30 minutes in the best possible way, with Giroud heading against the bar after a mistake from Curtis Davies when he really should have scored.
Hull didn’t just sit back and play for penalties either, with Fabianski having to come off his line to claim Ahmed Elmohamady’s low cross before Matty Fryatt could get to it.
Despite largely dominating the first half of extra time, Arsenal just couldn’t find a way through, leaving themselves just 15 minutes to score before the match went to penalties.
Arsene Wenger took off Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla and replaced them with Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky as the second half of extra time got underway, as he looked for fresh legs to tear apart the tiring Hull defence.
It took just four minutes for the Gunners to break through, with Aaron Ramsey powering home at the near post after being set up by a clever backheel from Olivier Giroud, putting Arsenal fans in dreamland.
A defensive mix-up a couple of minutes later put Yaya Sanogo through on goal, but he got his legs tangled up and fired weakly wide of the Hull goal.
With television cameras showing Arsenal’s name being engraved on the trophy, Fabianski raced recklessly out of his goal, but was beaten to the ball by Hull substitute Sone Aluko, who had a sight of an unguarded Arsenal goal. Unfortunately for Hull, he was nearly at the corner flag by the time he controlled the ball, and could only put the ball across the face.
Aluko nearly broke Arsenal hearts again seconds later with a low shot through a crowd of legs which the unsighted Fabianski did well to keep out.
Arsenal mounted one last attack through Rosicky which didn’t result in anything, but nobody in red cared as the referee blew for full time.
Gunners players and fans alike erupted as the whistle blew, and Arsenal fans have more reason to celebrate as an emotional Arsene Wenger appeared to confirm that he intends to stay on at the Emirates in an emotional on-pitch interview.
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