To be played on Saturday 17th May, Wembley Stadium, London. Kick off: 17:00
Odds: Arsenal 1/2, Draw 7/2, Hull 7/1
It’s one of the biggest days in the sporting calendar and this year’s FA Cup final carries huge significance as Arsenal take on Hull City at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.
Arsenal are heavy favourites to end their nine year trophy drought (2/7 to lift the cup), but they have been in this position before, notably when they lost to Birmingham City in the 2011 League Cup final, a side who went on to be relegated from the Premier League that season.
The pressure is on Arsene Wenger to deliver, and there was even a hint that if his side didn’t lift the trophy then he may retire.
Steve Bruce’s Hull side can already count this season as a success, having secured Premiership football for next season, and in the knowledge that they will be playing Europa League football.
If the Gunners were to win, they would equal Manchester United's record haul off 11 victories whilst Hull City are in their very first FA Cup final, in the hope of winning their first major honour.
Route to the final:
Arsenal haven’t had to leave the capital during their cup run, because before the semi-final stage all of their matches took place at the Emirates Stadium, but they have had their fair share of tough encounters en route to the final.
After overcoming North London rivals Tottenham in the third round of the competition, they progressed to overcome League One side Coventry City.
A week after they were humiliated 5-1 at Anfield by Liverpool, they hosted the Reds at the Emirates Stadium and managed to progress with a 2-1 win in the fifth round in a tie that had its share of controversy before comfortably despatching Everton 4-1 in the quarter-finals.
It was in the semi-finals when the Gunners looked in most discomfort, against the holders. That sentence alone won’t sound so surprising, but when it’s Wigan Athletic of the Championship – with all due respect – serious questions were being asked during the game. Arsenal needed to come up with the goods after Jordi Gomezpbut the Latics ahead from the penalty spot after a rash challenge from Per Mertesacker.
But the German defender made up for things that afternoon, by getting a pivotal equaliser as Arsenal progressed on penalties during a difficult spell in their season.
Both Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have been the most prolific in front of goal for the Gunners, and have struck on three occasions during this season’s competition.
For Hull City, some will argue they have had the easy run to the final, having only faced the one Premier League team in Sunderland in the last eight, a game which they won 3-0.
Their journey in the cup started with two away wins at potentially tricky opponents in Championship side Middlesbrough, and League Two’s Southend United. Both games ended with Hull winning 2-0, but in the fifth round they were taken to a replay after 1-1 draw away to Brighton. They won the replay 2-1, and after overcoming Sunderland they played out a thriller with League One side Sheffield United, coming out 5-3 winners after a few hairy moments.
Their most prolific man in front of goal has been Matty Fryatt, who has found the net on four occasions on their run to the final.
Lukasz Fabianski has been the man in goal for Arsenal throughout this competition so there is every chance he will start the final, but Arsene Wenger is no stranger to changing his choice of keeper for the final and starting his number one goalkeeper in finals when they may not have played much in the rest of the competition.
On the injury front for Arsenal, there is a chance that both Thomas Vermalen and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be available after knee and groin problems respectively. Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry and Ryo Miyaichi all miss out.
For Hull City, they will be without their cup-tied strike duo of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, meaning there will probably be more on the shoulders of their top scorer in this season’s competition in Matty Fryatt. Joe Dudgeon looks set to miss out for the Tigers with a knee problem, whilst James Chester and Robbie Brady are going to be given as much time as possible to demonstrate their fitness as they’ve been carrying hamstring and groin injuries recently.
Arsenal have won both meetings in the Premier League this season between the two sides. A 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in December, along with a 3-0 win last month at the KC Stadium.
The Gunners are in pretty good form since their semi-final win over Wigan, having won each of their last five Premier League games which saw them finish on 79 points and secure a top four finish.
Hull, by contrast, haven’t had a win in each of their last five league games, losing four of them, with a point coming against relegated Fulham where they managed to fight back from two goals down to earn a point. Steve Bruce has admitted that his side have been distracted by the Cup final date.