Gunners tame the Tigers
Written By: Robert Halter
The Tigers struck first in the 2014 F.A. Cup Final when on three minutes from a Stephen Quinn corner that Tom Huddlestone poked forward, the ball then ricocheted off James Chester and agonisingly for Arsenal his deflected shot cannoned off the inside of the left post. Incredibly Hull City went 2-0 up inside eight minutes, after a Kieran Gibbs foul on Ahmed Elmohamdy and from a Huddllestone free kick the ball was knocked on by David Meyler for Quinn to deliver a left wing cross before Alex Bruce’s header struck against the right post and Tigers captain, Curtis Davies thrashed in the rebound from the right angle. On twelve minutes, a Huddlestone corner was met by a well timed header by Bruce and Gibbs came to the Gunners rescue with a looping header off the line. But on sixteen minutes, Arsenal were back in the game after Bruce had pulled down Santi Cazorla, who responded by bending the free kick into the top right corner from twenty five yards out. On thirty five minutes, Huddlestone tried a long range blast which drifted over the bar, following a header by Gibbs falling into the path of Huddlestone. Eight minutes into the second half, Huddlestone struck an effort from far out again which also missed the target, after a neat lay off from Elmohamdy. In the first change, the Gunners took off Lukas Podolski for Yaya Sanogo. Father, Steve Bruce then replaced his son Alex for Paul McShane in the first Tigers substitution. Then a turning point in the match as Giroud’s low cross was diverted into the side netting as Sanogo stood in the way but Davies was adjudged to have got the final touch at the near post and then from Giroud’s corner a Bacary Sagna header squeezed in between Chester and Huddlestone before Laurent Koscielny turned the ball into the goal near the six yard box but hurt himself in the process while clattering into Hull keeper, Alex McGregor but its game on at two apiece in the seventy first minute. The Tigers then took off Quinn for Sone Aluko. On seventy eight minutes, Gibbs could have sealed the Tigers fate as Sanogo set the ball up on a plate for him but with the goal gapping, Gibbs fired over. Then a minute later, after Sanogo’s header over the top was only half cleared by Davies, a sweeping low drive by Giroud had to be turned behind by McGregor at full stretch. On eighty nine minutes, Mesut Ozil combined with Giroud and a follow up shot by Sanogo went a whisker wide. In stoppage time, McGregor had to clasp hold of a low strike by Giroud, after good build up play from Ozil. It was then extra time and on ninety four minutes, after Davies lost possession, a right wing cross by Aaron Ramsey found the head of Giroud, who sent the ball crashing against the bar. Three minutes later, a snap shot by Ramsey went towards McGregor, after a neat touch by Sagna. Ramsey then latched onto a through ball by Giroud but could only find the side netting. The last Tigers change was made as George Boyd replaced Liam Rosenior and before the second period, Arsenal replaced Ozil for Jack Wilshere and Cazorla for Tomas Rosicky. Finally the Tigers resistance was broken three minutes into the re-start as Wilshere linked up with Sanogo before Giroud’s back heel fell to Ramsey, who drove the ball home. With seven minutes remaining, a poor back pass by Elmohamdy should have been tucked away by Sanogo but his strike flashed past the right post. But a mix up between Per Mertesacker’s header back and Lukas Fabianski running off his line, gifted the ball to Aluko but his shot went agonisingly wide of the far post for the Tigers. Near the end, Sanogo was denied by McGregor, after his piece of juggling act as Giroud fell to the floor from Wilshere’s ball over. Fabianski then had to clutch hold of Aluko’s low long range drive, as Mikel Arteta was unable to clear his lines. In the final piece of drama, McShane cleared off the line from Rosicky, after a ball played in by Wilshere before Arsenal celebrated their eleventh F.A. Cup trophy in the club’s history and first silverware in nine years.