The FA Cup Final takes place this Saturday, May 17 at 12:00 ET with Arsenal facing off against Hull City at Wembley Stadium. Follow up with my FA Cup Final prediction along with my preview of the match.
Hull City may have finished their Premier League season having won just one of their last six matches, that one being their FA Cup semifinal, but, they have had a great season for a team just promoted from the Championship. Steve Bruce has done a lot of hard work to take them to a comfortable 16th place finish with 37 points in the Premier League table. However, the FA Cup run is where they have really put in the effort and it has paid off with a trip to Wembley.
The end of a season is always hard for a team that looking forward to a cup final, especially one that is not concerned with a relegation battle. Players don’t want to pick up an injury and often the manager uses this time to experiment and look at different options. This certainly seems to be the case with Hull.
Arsenal enter Saturday’s match having secured fourth place in the Premier League and another year of Champions League football. This is also their chance to end nine years without a trophy. While the Gunners are clear favorites to win, there are still plenty of question marks. This is a team that spent 128 days at the top of the EPL table, but yet, they managed to capitulate when it mattered most. In the end they finished in fourth place, seven points off of the Champions and three points away from Chelsea in third. Many pundits have questioned this Arsenal’s team and their mental strength.
It should be noted that they had several injuries throughout the season, but even this should be looked at. Do the players have what it takes to even put everything into this match considering how many have sustained injuries this season? Are they fit enough to make it? Not to mention, what is the reason behind so many injuries occurring year after year. This is not the first season that Arsenal have been plagued by injuries.
What To Expect?
Arsenal will certainly dominate this match statistically and will likely be the better team for most of the match. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will win. The longer that Hull City can hold and soak up the pressure thrown at them, the more the game could open up. Arsenal will probably come out early with their high pressure possession and passing, probing and testing Hull’s defense.
On the other side of the pitch, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hull setting up with something like a 4-5-1, but with wingers who quickly push up to support their forward. It is also possible that he would go with a 5-3-2 that transitions to a 3-5-2 in attack. They have shown the ability to surprise teams and get a counter attack goal. With Arsenal’s penchant for mistakes, Hull could easily find themselves getting a goal and possibly even taking the lead. A goal for Hull would certainly open the game and could lead to more for them as Arsenal get stretched.
My pick is an Arsenal win, most likely coming late in the second half. As in all soccer matches, there is a the chance for a shock, and, after last season’s FA Cup win for Wigan Athletic, Arsenal will need to be mentally tough. Hull will not be easy opponents, especially since they can look at last year’s final as an example.
Arsenal will be without defender Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Theo Walcott while midfielder Serge Gnabry is listed as doubtful.
Hull City have Robbie Brady out injured while forwards Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long are both cup tied. Defender James Chester is listed as questionable, but will most likely start.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Cazorla, Ozil, Podolski; Giroud
Fabianski, Flamini, Diaby, Sanogo, Wilshire, Monreal, Jenkinson
Hull City (4-5-1): McGregor; Figueroa, Davies, Chester, Rosenior; Boyd, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Elmohamady; Sagbo
Harper, Aluko, Fryatt, McShane, Bruce, Quinn, Koren
Arsenal 2 – 1 Hull City
Betting Odds (Bovada):
Arsenal win: 1.44; Draw: 4.50; Hull win: 7.00