Arsenal win the FA Cup - Arsenal 3 Hull 2 match report: Aaron Ramsey wins classic final to end Arsenal’s long drought

Hull race into a two-goal lead inside nine minutes but hearts are broken in extra time

Wembley

After nine long years waiting for a trophy it was perhaps inevitable that Arsenal would leave their fans hanging on for a further 30 minutes before finally claiming the FA Cup. None were complaining, however, after the Gunners fought back from a shock two-goal deficit inside eight minutes to take the tie into extra-time before Aaron Ramsey broke Hull City’s spirited resistance.

Faced with the fashionable competition of La Liga’s showdown in Barcelona, and the local one of Hull v Hull KR in rugby league’s Magic Weekend, the oldest competition of them all conjured a magnificent final in which Arsenal became the first team since Everton, in 1966, to recover from such a deficit and win without the aid of penalties.

James Chester and Curtis Davies, who was immense thoughout, put the underdogs two-up before Arsenal had managed a shot. When they did, after 16 minutes, Santi Cazorla scored. Laurent Koscielny levelled the tie with 19 minutes remaining but it was not until the 109th minute that Ramsey struck.

Even then, Sone Aluko came within a whisker of forcing penalties before Hull finally conceded victory. However, they can be proud of their performance and their season. Indeed, their decade.

Ten years ago, they were where Scunthorpe United are now, runners-up in the fourth tier. Their rise since has been astonishing and dramatic with takeovers, near bankruptcies, plenty of promotions, a relegation, and seven managers. The last of these, Steve Bruce, has taken them to unparallelled heights in both league and Cup.

Arsenal, 10 years ago, were celebrating their third League title in eight seasons. Few could have then imagined the years of frustration which have followed. The one constant has been Arsène Wenger and he is still taking decisions based on principles. So Lukasz Fabianski was chosen to keep goal because he had done so throughout their FA Cup run, this despite Fabianski being expected to leave the club next month having not signed a new contract. Joining Wojciech Szczesny among the substitutes was Jack Wilshere, still not deemed fit to start. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, another one of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup 23, was not even on the bench.

 

The most difficult decision of Bruce’s career was solved by opting for a three-man defence. This enabled him to include his son Alex Bruce. The surprise inclusion was Stephen Quinn, who played just behind lone striker Matty Fryatt with instructions to prevent Mikel Arteta dictating play for Arsenal.

For 15 minutes every one of Bruce’s selections came off more perfectly than he could have dared dream. Three minutes had gone when Ahmed Elmohamady went down the right and his cross was deflected for a corner. Quinn pulled that back to Tom Huddlestone, lurking unmarked on the edge of the box. His volley was mis-hit and going wide when Chester, adjusting his feet quickly, turned it past Fabianski. Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring to make it 3-2 Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring to make it 3-2

Five minutes later, a half-cleared free-kick came out to Quinn, who cleverly made space to cross. Bruce rose highest, his header glanced off Kieran Gibbs and on to the post. As Arsenal scrambled to react, Davies lashed home the rebound.

Arsenal’s support was stunned, Hull’s in dreamland, and a watching nation was gripped. Five minutes more and it was nearly 3-0 but this time Gibbs cleared Chester’s header from Huddlestone’s corner off the line. It was crucial for, three minutes later, Bruce ploughed through the back of Cazorla just outside the box. The Spaniard got up to whip the free-kick past Allan McGregor and it was game on. Now it was a test of Hull’s character as well as Arsenal’s.

With the disappointing Mesut Özil miskicking when Lukas Podolski set him up close in, Hull weathered the immediate storm and made it to the break with their lead intact. They might have restored it to two goals had Fryatt not been harshly penalised for brushing aside Koscielny as he bore down on goal shortly before the break. Arsenal also took a while to get going in the second period as Hull began to break up the game but Yaya Sanogo’s introduction gave Olivier Giroud some much-needed support in his scrap with Hull’s three centre-halves.

One of them, Bruce, then departed injured. Another, Davies, was fortunate not to concede a 69th-minute penalty when Cazorla’s feet were too quick for him. Finally the pressure told. Arsenal were erroneously awarded a corner, Bacary Sagna’s deflected header fell to Koscielny and he turned it in like a striker.

Hull, looking drained on a muggy afternoon, withdrew even deeper. Arsenal pressed, and with 12 minutes left they should have taken the lead but Gibbs perpetrated the worst FA Cup final miss since Brighton’s Gordon Smith in 1983, blazing over after Sanogo’s cross reached him in space eight yards out. Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini, left, and Olivier Giroud, right, celebrate Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini, left, and Olivier Giroud, right, celebrate

Gibbs, though, will not have to forever relive the moment. Though McGregor denied Giroud to force extra-time, early in its second period Sanogo and Giroud combined to set up Ramsey, whose finish was exquisite. Hull were dead on their feet, but with four minutes left Per Mertesacker slipped and Aluko beat an onrushing Fabianski to the loose ball. Shades of Birmingham City and the 2011 Carling Cup final loomed as Aluko, from wide, shot for goal.

With the Hull support trying to suck the ball in, it rolled agonisingly across goal and to safety. Arsenal’s long wait was over, Hull’s continues, but it is matches like this, not rebranding, that will put them on the game’s global map.

Line-ups:

Arsenal (4-1-4-1): Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta; Özil (Wilshere, 106),  Cazorla (Rosicky,106), Ramsey, Podolski (Sanogo, 61); Giroud.

Hull City (3-5-1-1): McGregor; Davies, Bruce (McShane, 65), Chester; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlsetone; Meyler, Rosenior (Boyd, 102); Quinn (Aluko, 74); Fryatt.

Referee: Lee Probert.

Man of the match: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Match rating:  8/10

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor