What: The 2013-14 Football Association Cup Final, the 133rd edition of the FA Cup.
Where: Wembley Stadium
When: Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Noon ET/9 AM PT
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson & Eric Wynalda).
Officials: Lee Probert (Referee), Jake Collin and Mick McDonough (Assistant Referees), Kevin Friend (Fourth Official) and Simon Bennett (Reserve Assistant Referee).
2013-14 Series History:
December 4th: Arsenal defeats Hull City 2-0 at Emirates Stadium in EPL action with goals by Nicklas Bendtner (2′) and Mesut Ozil (47′).
April 20th: Arsenal defeats Hull City 3-0 at The KC Stadium in EPL action with goals by Aaron Ramsey (31′) and Lukas Podolski (45′, 54′)
How they got here:
- 2-0 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur in Round 3 (Jan. 4)
- 4-0 win at home to Coventry City in Round 4 (Jan. 24)
- 2-1 win at home to Liverpool in Round 5 (Feb. 16)
- 4-1 win at home to Everton in the quarterfinals (Mar. 8)
- Finished 1-1 through 120 minutes against Wigan Athletic in semifinals, defeated Wigan 4-2 on penalties (Apr. 12)
- 2-0 win away to Middlesbrough in Round 3 (Jan. 4)
- 2-0 win away to Southend United in Round 4 (Jan. 25)
- Drew 1-1 away to Brighton & Hove Albion in Round 5 (Feb. 17). 2-1 win home to Brighton & Hove Albion in Round 5 Replay (Feb. 24)
- 3-0 win home to Sunderland in the quarterfinals (Mar. 9)
- 5-3 win against Sheffield United in semifinals (Apr. 13)
Teams’ FA Cup History:
Arsenal: The Gunners have won the FA Cup on 10 different occasions in their history, including three titles in four years from 2001-02 to 2004-05. However, they have not reached the FA Cup final since winning in 2004-05, and that 2004-05 win is also the last piece of silverware the team has earned.
Hull City: 2014 will be their first FA Cup Final. The last time they reached the FA Cup Semifinals? 1930. And who did they fall victim to in that 1930 semifinal? Arsenal, of course, who came back from being down 1-0 with eight minutes of regulation remaining.
Arsenal: Thomas Vermaelen – Knee injury (Uncertain, as of May 14). Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Groin injury (Uncertain, as of May 14). Theo Walcott – Out, Torn ACL. Serge Gnabry – Out, Knee injury.
Hull City: James Chester – Hamstring injury (Uncertain, as of May 14). Robbie Brady – Groin injury (Uncertain, as of May 14). Allan McGregor – Broken ribs, kidney injury (Probable – Played vs. Everton on Sunday). Paul McShane – Ankle injury (Probable – Played vs. Everton on Sunday.) Matty Fryatt – Unknown injury/”Knock” during Sunday’s match vs. Everton, Probable.
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger, 64 years old, French. 17th season as Arsenal’s manager. All-time record at Arsenal: 577-238-194. Three EPL titles, four FA Cup titles and four FA Community Shields in his time at Arsenal.
Hull City: Steve Bruce, 53 years old, English. Second season as Hull City’s manager. All-time record at Hull City: 42-18-38.
What (Else) You Need To Know:
- Both Joe and I are in agreement that regardless of whether or not they win, Arsenal needs to sack Arsene Wenger. For a top-level club with such a rich history and tradition of success, no silverware in eight years – it’ll be nine years by game time – is simply unacceptable. Winning the FA Cup this year would be big, or at least it would be spun that way, and I could understand that being some kind of move in the right direction. But it simply does not seem like enough. Wenger has got to go.
- One of the players to watch for Arsenal is 23-year old midfielder Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey was a nominee for the PFA Men’s Young Player of the Year and finished the 2013-14 season with 15 goals in 33 games across all competitions.
- Hull City did not finish the season on a high note. They haven’t won a match since their FA Cup Semifinal win over Sheffield United on April 13 and earned only one point out of a possible 15 in their final 5 matches. Hull City finished the EPL season with 37 points, just two places and four points clear of the drop. The Tigers averaged less than one goal per game their last three matches.
- Fans should have their eyes on Hull City defender Maynor Figueroa. He’ll be playing for his native Honduras in the World Cup, a side for which he already has over 100 international appearances. Figueroa has played in nearly 40 games this season for Hull.
- Joining Figueroa on the Hull City back line is Alex Bruce and yes, he is the coach’s son. The Northern Ireland international has appeared in 24 matches across all competitions this season and will likely be important for Hull on Saturday.
- Spurs loaned two midfielders to Hull City this season and they are names that are not unfamiliar to EPL fans: Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone. Both have played in 39 matches across all competitions this season with Huddlestone scoring four goals and tallying three assists and Livermore adding three goals and six assists himself. Their experience will be valuable for a side who just completed their first season back in the Premier League.
- Unlike Hull City, Arsenal finished the Premier League season with wins in each of their last five contests and have not lost since their trip to Goodison Park on April 6. Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny have been consistent forces in defense for the Gunners this season and Ramsey, Podolski and Olivier Giroud have been prime goal scorers for Arsenal especially of late.
- Giroud, the 27-year old Frenchman, has scored 22 goals and tallied nine assists in 50 appearances across all competitions. He has no doubt silenced any critics after last season in which he scored only 17 goals in 47 appearances.
- We’d be remiss to discuss the Arsenal goalscorers and not mention Lukas Podolski, the 28-year old German international who has tallied 15 goals and two assists in 20 matches across all competitions.
- Arsenal led the EPL in total passes completed this season with 18,532 and finished second in headed goals with 12.
- Because Arsenal finished 4th in the final Premier League table, they secured a place in the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League marking their 17th consecutive appearance in the UEFA Champions League. This means that Hull City are guaranteed European competition next season in the form of the Europa League, the first time the club has ever taken part in European competition. If Hull win the Cup on Saturday, they will be entered into the group stage of the Europa League. If Hull lose to Arsenal, Hull will enter in the third qualifying round.
Prediction: 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes plus stoppage, 2-1 Hull City after Extra Time. I’m really gonna call my shot here and say Nikica Jelavic scores in the 1st half, Aaron Ramsey will level things in stoppage time, and Shane Long will get the game winner in extra time.
UPDATE: Okay so my stupid self just found out Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are cup-tied. That said, I could go back and forth on this for awhile. On paper, Arsenal are a better squad and faced a tougher task to get there. But I’ve got this gut feeling that says we’re going to see magic at Wembley on Saturday, and it’ll feature the Tigers celebrating. I’ll stick with my prediction, but I’ll select Matty Fryatt to score in the first half, and Tom Huddlestone to score the winner in extra time.
UPDATE – 5/15: Reports have surfaced that there have been signs for Arsenal’s FA Cup title victory parade. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. This further solidifies my pick of Hull.