Hull’s imminent appearance in the 2014 FA Cup final serves as a notice to all those teams who don’t take the world’s biggest domestic cup competition seriously – it’s clear that less favourable teams can progress in this competition. Whatever happens, this will be a hugely memorable day out for Hull’s fans; whether Hull can win it is another matter.
Wigan beat Man City in the 2013 final which will give Hull a lot of belief, and Steve Bruce’s team certainly aren’t a side that you’d bet against this season. Steve Bruce is arguably the most popular English manager in the Premier League right now due to the way he plays football and his relative achievements on a limited budget.
The best odds running on a Hull city win is a long shot at 7/1 with Bet365, although Arsenal fans will be looking for quick win this time around.
Hull seem to get the basics right. They can pass the ball around the back, they have two decent strikers in Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, they have presence in the centre of the park in the form of Tom Huddlestone and Alex Bruce and Curtis Davies have made them pretty solid at the back.
With that said, Jelavic and Long are ineligible for the cup having appeared for their previous clubs. Furthermore, Aluko is doubtful, and David Meyler could be banned, making the Hull squad look a little threadbare.
Form-wise it doesn’t look good for Hull either. Arsenal beat them 3-0 last month, and they’ve only picked up a point since they reached the final.
Arsenal on the other hand are flying, having won four league games on the bounce after their season threatened to disintegrate entirely. Back the Arsenal win at 10/11 with a free bet provider, or find more odds with a best odds aggregator.
You could make a case that Hull will be the more motivated of the two teams, having never won a major trophy, but Arsenal will be equally keen to win their first trophy in nine years – a record that doesn’t befit a team of Arsenal’s calibre or a man of Wenger’s abilities.
The media has even speculated that Wenger might quit Arsenal after the cup final and a win would be a fitting way for one of English sport’s most enduring figures to leave the Premier League.
Arsenal should have something resembling a full strength side, but they may find Hull particularly hard to break down. Steve Bruce currently prefers a 5-3-2 formation and this may restrict players like Giroud from making an impact. Perhaps then the goals could come from midfielders such as Ramsey, Podolski or Cazorla.
Arsenal will leave gaps and Hull will look to forage down the right wing through players like Mohamady and Livermore. They’ll also look to get players like Davies, Meyler (if playing), and Alex Bruce into goal scoring positions at set pieces.
The big pitch at Wembley could really stretch Hull and favour Arsenal, especially if Hull are forced to play on the back foot. On the other hand, if Hull can play committed, aggressive football they may just have a chance against a few Arsenal players who don’t like the battle.
Logic would point to an Arsenal victory in this game, but we’ve seen a million times before how reason goes wonderfully out the window in the FA Cup.