Arsenal have the chance of claiming their first piece of silverware for nine years on Saturday afternoon as they face Hull City at Wembley.
This is Hull’s first appearance at the FA Cup final and will be looking to cause an upset, with the pressure largely on Arsenal’s shoulders to deliver a much overdue trophy.
Arsenal spent the longest time out of any Premier League side at the top of the table this season but as has been the case for a number of recent seasons, they could not keep up in the latter half of the season and once again had to settle for fourth place.
However a good run in the FA Cup means they once again have the chance of securing a title – but will they be haunted by the failure of the 2011 League Cup final at Wembley, where a last minute defensive calamity cost them the game as they were beaten 2-1 by Birmingham City?
Their semi-final win over cup holders Wigan Athletic back in April won’t have filled the Gunners’ fans with much optimism, with a penalty shootout needed to squeeze their way past the then Championship promotion chasers.
However, they’ve finished the league season strongly in what was on paper a fairly straight-forward run-in, with five wins from five – that run included a 3-0 win at the KC Stadium as they eased past Hull.
Defender Thomas Vermalen faces a late fitness test after missing last weekend’s 2-0 win at Norwich with a knee injury whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has not played since April 20th, also remains a doubt for the game with a groin problem.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger must also decide whether to stick or twist in goal – to play first choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny or retain Lukasz Fabianski who has played every FA Cup game this season.
Hull City Odds
This is Hull’s best ever showing in the FA Cup, as they make their debut in the final on Saturday. Their previous best record stood as a run to the semi-finals way back in 1930, where they were beaten ironically by Arsenal in a replay. It was still a remarkable achieve to reach the last four of the competition as a Third Division club.
The Tigers secured their place at the Wembley showpiece by winning a dramatic semi-final against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, the thrilling match ending 5-3 to Steve Bruce’s side.
But that victory was their most recent, and they have since gone five games in the league without a win, picking up just one point out of a possible 15, a 2-2 draw with relegated Fulham. The run does not stand them in good stead ahead of the final but anything can happen in a cup final.
Paul McShane, James Chester, Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady face fitness tests for Hull but Allan McGregor will start after recovering quicker than expected from a kidney injury. First choice strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are both cup-tied.
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Watch the FA Cup final live from 5pm on either ITV1 or BT Sport 1.