Arsenal 3 Hull City 2: Arsène Wenger will stay on for new era

Joy for manager after nine barren years as Gunners come from 2-0 down to break Hull’s hearts

Wembley

Arsène Wenger has confirmed that he will be staying on as manager of an Arsenal team that he believes have turned a corner in finally winning a trophy.

On a second successive visit to Wembley against supposedly inferior opposition in little more than a month, his side made hard work of their task once again before coming from 2-0 down in a surreal first eight minutes to win the FA Cup.

As against Wigan in the semi-final, they fell behind, but this time won through without resorting to penalty kicks to earn a first trophy in nine long years for the club and Wenger. The length and enthusiasm of the celebrations afterwards made it clear how much that meant.

Even the normally urbane manager looked thrilled as he embraced his players. “I think it was a turning point in the lifetime of this team,” he said. “To know they can win in that way was really important. I always said my future doesn’t depend on this but I always wanted to stay.”

Coquettish to the last, Wenger explained of signing his new deal: “Normally that should happen, and we are in normal circumstances.”

He added: “It was never a question of leaving, it was a question of doing the right job for this club.“

Whether a shattering defeat might have tempted him to walk away after 18 years remains unknown but he will now sign a new contract and begin strengthening the squad. Ram raid: Aaron Ramsey wins the FA Cup final for Arsenal and ends a nine-year wait for silverware with a snatched strike in extra-time as the Gunners edged past Hull City 3-2 in a thriller at Wembley Ram raid: Aaron Ramsey wins the FA Cup final for Arsenal and ends a nine-year wait for silverware with a snatched strike in extra-time as the Gunners edged past Hull City 3-2 in a thriller at Wembley

After four home Cup games and a semi-final against Championship opposition, this was Arsenal’s great chance, and they seemed to have blown it in an astonishing opening, falling behind to goals by defenders James Chester and Curtis Davies after failing to clear set-pieces. There could even have been a third Hull goal, Kieran Gibbs having to clear off the line.

Santi Cazorla, who with Aaron Ramsey was one of few players living up to his reputation, retrieved a goal direct from a free-kick early enough to force Hull back on the defensive and Laurent Koscielny equalised with 20 minutes to play.

In extra-time, with Steve Bruce’s side on their knees, Arsenal threw on substitutes Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky, and Ramsey struck the winning goal.

Humberside had been hoping for a magic weekend all round, with Hull’s two rugby league clubs playing each other in the Manchester extravaganza of that name, and unfortunately kicking off at the same time. In their first major domestic cup final and having won nothing since the Third Division title of 1966, City could not have believed their start.

“We showed an incredible amount of courage to go and take the game to them and on another day we might just have won the Cup but it wasn’t to be,” said their manager, Steve Bruce. “When you’re 2-0 up it’s quite remarkable, it was a great start for us and you just want to get to half-time if you can.”

Amid all the attention on Wenger, it was easy to miss the fact that Bruce has not won a trophy in his 16-year management career. He complained about refereeing decisions in the build-up to the first two Arsenal goals, but Hull could equally have conceded at least two penalties.

Once over the disappointment, they will reflect on a memorable season, for all the controversy over the chairman Assem Allam’s desire to change the club’s name. Today, the existing name was beamed around the world and will have been widely admired.

Meanwhile Arsenal can claim a small piece of history in joining Manchester United with an 11th FA Cup. Hence this most dignified of clubs ending the day with their manager drenched in champagne and given the bumps.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test