The FA Cup Final Match Report: Arsenal 3-2 Hull City
|Prince Poldi wears his crown|
The Story of the Soda Can
I have never been a trophy guy myself, only having to show for a small cup that I won at a musical chair contest while I was at UKG and then gone on to clinch the top spot in a Taekwondo competition winning myself a can of coke, a bet I had made with my dad. I have to say, that was the best can of soda I ever had.
That was in 1996.
Since then, I have been forced to supplement this thirst for trophies through outsourced ways, placing my whole hearted trust on teams that are an eye candy to watch footabllistically. On the national side, Germany has had a couple of finals and semi-finals losses and so forth have never delivered a trophy since that faithful Euro cup in 1996 when Klinsmann captained the side.
So as you could see, I was heavily reliant on Arsenal on bringing that that “can of soda” feel. Up and till 2005, the team stayed true to that and nearly came close on doing so again in 2006 and 2011 when they came inches away from clinches Europe’s most coveted title and the cup that-changes-its-name-every-year respectively. Yet 8 years, 11 months and 26 days after Viera’s decisive spot kick, Arsenal still had nothing to show for.
But that was about to change.
Although on paper, arsenal were hot favorites with the class of Ozil, Irish Jesus, Carzola, Wilshire and Rosiky all lined up to take part in the final, Hull had other plans for the rejuvenated gunners. Two rapid fire early goals silenced the crowd in reds meaning that the team now had to score at least two to take it to extra-time. Given the stature of the game, it was monumental but given the amount of time left on the clock though, there still was hope. Even if it came in tiniest of packages that you could imagine.
Arsenal’s Characteristic Early Game Collapse:
If you have wasted your time watching games that arsenal were under pressure to produce results, the likes of Citeh, Liverpool, Chelsea and finally, Everton, you could see that the team had overcome the last minute suicidal team only to be replaced by early game “lets press the self-destruct button” syndrome. The FA cup final game was no different. Eight minutes on the clock and Hull were two up and nearly trebled their lead if it was not for a last minute header clearance from Gibbs.
Being an arsenal fan is not good for the heart, I tell you. And your blood pressure. And the chairs around you. Just how we manage to gain such a spectacular habit is probably the greatest mysteries of modern era. So much so that the editors of Sherlock are planning to do a full season on just that with a bonus episode on why Wenger signed South Korean striker Park Chu Young. Time for Sherlock to bust his balls.
Hull’s brilliant rugby tactics:
Usually, when you go up two goals early on, you take that momentum and try to build on that. Instead their genius manager did what teams have done to Arsenal in the past. Simply kick the shit out of them. It was quite frankly frustrating to see the opposition going all rugby on the men in red. Their pulling, shoving, kicking and literally pushing worked to break down any momentum that arsenal tried to build on but when the referee finally decided to be mentally present in the game and gave that free kick to arsenal, it was the turning point.
It looked as though Podolski was going to whip it in when Carzola stepped up and put a bullet into the net. With 1-2 on the scoreboard in mere eighteen minutes, you could sense that the game was just warming up.
Refereeing adds to the woes.
If somehow, the results were to turn for Hull, I am sure the manager would have touched on why we didn’t get not one, not two but three clear penalties. Honestly, the refereeing was simply appalling. For one, he was card shy allowing Hull to sneakily substitute all its starting 11 to WWE all-stars right under his nose and he made most of the decisions wrong. The fact that arsenal’s second came from a corner that wasn’t even a corner was a testament to his mental presence.
That being said though, it was only fitting that Koscielny did score after what looked like a pinball heading tournament featuring Sagna and Giroud. Justice done. 2-2.
The game was now officially on.
Genius Tactical Changes:
The manager’s decision to bring in young Yaya Sonogo was a really odd one, given that every vector in the field of football was directing him not to but the revert to classic 4-4-2 formation that he induced was just that dose of injection Arsenal needed for the equalizer. Having missed out on Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo in their early years of development, you could sense that Arsene wasn't missing on this one.
Again his decision to keep Ramsey on while bringing Rosicky and Wilshire into the mix was rather excellent. With the clock running down and getting dangerously close to a penalty shootout the Welsh Jesus cut inside the danger zone, connected Giroud's back flick to edge past the keeper with an inch perfect drive down the right corner. 3-2 and what a goal it was.
Just how important Ramsey has been this season is unimaginable really. Arsenal fans are left feeling what the season could have been with him fit throughout. That being said though, he scored the goal that would surely now end the elusive lust for trophy since 2005.
Or did he really?
Calling that Inner-Fabianski:
On a cup final, you ought to play your number one. No matter what the other keeper has manage to do in games before that. However, seeing Fabianski in the starting lineup, I had the feeling that his now dormant inner-fabianski might suddenly be active.
In what was a classic twist in fate, Mert’s slip allowed some hull dude to come forward down the left. What the onlookers didn’t realize was Fabianski had already left his line and was running towards the player epitomized by one of those horny bulls you see in National Geographic. In another classic Fabianski fashion he completely missed his marker allowing whoever it was to shoot towards an empty net. Thankfully, there was no Ox screw it up this time around and the ball inches wide.
Before long the whistle blew and after a very long time did we see Arsene Wenger move around beaming in childlike fashion instead of going absolutely mental on poor water plastic bottles. I hear the manufactures are putting those in ads just to show people how sturdy their bottles really are.
As for the fans though, what a final eh? Had everything you would characteristically define Arsenal from the early meltdown to Giroud doing best not to score to Fabianski doing his best to screw up the game in the dying minuets. All of them in one final package thrust down on fan’s throats.
Personally, it’s hard to be critical of the team when you just had a pop of that very fine, cellar-ed and chilled, 1996 aged soda but there are deep underlying issues that this team needs to clear out. For now though, I will just get back to basking in all that sodalicious carbonation.
And my ramyan, and my exam preparation. Till next time.