Arsenal were staring at yet another defeat in a major cup final after just eight minutes. Goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies had seen Hull City take a 2-0 lead in the FA Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Santi Cazorla scored a wonderful free kick on 17 minutes to halve the deficit, but the Gunners went into the half-time interval still unable to really test the Tigers’ defence.
After the break, though, the North London club stepped up their game and equalised on 71 minutes through Laurent Koscielny. The 2006 Champions League finalists dominated the remainder of the match and scored deep into extra time through Aaron Ramsey to wrap up a 3-2 victory.
There was a stark difference in Arsenal’s performance in the first and the second halves, and midfielder Mikel Arteta has now revealed how manager Arsene Wenger pumped up the players with his half-time talk.
‘The manager's speech at half time was brilliant’, the Spaniard told Arsenal’s official website. ‘[He told us] to keep believing in how we should do it and keep performing. He told us to stay calm’.
Wenger has often come under criticism for failing to make his players rise to the occasion, but on Saturday the Frenchman did exactly that. It had been nine years since Arsenal last won a major trophy, and they finally ended their drought with a stunning comeback victory over fellow Premier League club Hull.
Arsenal have regained their winning mentality and now it is time for them to push on. The FA Cup should only be the start of a successful journey for a bunch of players who have loads of potential and hunger to achieve more.