Finally the 9 year drought is over. Aaron Ramsey’s extra-time winner ensured Arsenal ended their nine-year wait for a trophy as they came from two goals behind to beat Hull City in a dramatic FA Cup final at Wembley. The Gunners started as firm favourites but were stunned as goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies gave Hull a flying start inside the first eight minutes. At that point I almost switched off the game as I had given up hope for us and was moaning & cussing. The way those two goals were scored by Hull were reminiscent of the bad loses that Arsenal had this season away at Chelsea, Manchester City & Liverpool. Count Everton in as well. Was this the humiliating end to a season that saw Arsenal hold a lot of promise?
Short answer – NO! Santi Cazorla’s superb free-kick put Arsenal back in contention before half-time and Laurent Koscielny scrambled in the equaliser after 71 minutes. And as Arsenal looked the stronger, superior team in extra time, Ramsey, whose absence through injury hit them so hard in the latter part of the season, completed the comeback with an instinctive strike with 11 minutes of the extra period left. Arsenal survived anxious moments as Hull pressed forward in desperation – but referee Lee Probert’s final whistle signalled the end of the agonising 3,283-day wait for manager Arsene Wenger to taste success after they won the FA Cup against Manchester United on penalties in Cardiff in 2005.
For Wenger, this triumph will be received with a mixture of celebration and relief as he won the FA Cup for the fifth time in his career – and demonstrated that he can still bring silverware to a club that has gone through a long, barren spell after so much glory early in his reign. Even after securing a place in the Champions League for the 17th successive season, serious questions would have been asked of Wenger and his players had they failed to see off the challenge of underdogs Hull. Now, with the burden lifted from his shoulders, Wenger will believe this can be a new start for Arsenal after the fright of those opening minutes when it looked like a trophy might escape them again.
But this is the right time Wenger for you to retire. Great you won a trophy for us but you are also the reason why Arsenal have remained trophy-less in all this time. Your staunch refusal to buy star quality and build from within & buy cheaper but promising players have seen Manchester United (well, until this season), Manchester City, Chelsea and it looks like even Liverpool gallop past us in terms of pedigree and talent and we look like also-rans. Is that what we have in store if he continues on? Drastic changes are needed at the club to make the squad be capable enough to win the league & the Champions league. If Wenger stays I’m afraid that will not happen. I hope he doesn’t stay, bow out in style with a trophy. Let someone else take over.
But for now Arsenal fans will spend all summer watching the World Cup and content in the fact that the club are FA Cup winners again!