Saturday, 17 May 2014

FA Cup Final: Arsenal vs Hull - LIVE Commentary

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have a LIVE Commentary of the FA Cup final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley. 

Great atmosphere: Hull will be hoping to celebrate after the game with a cup win
Road to the final: Both sets of fans will be hoping their team can lift the FA Cup tonight
Here are the team line-ups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Podolski and Giroud.

Subs: Szczesny, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Wilshere, Monreal, Flamini and Sanogo.

Hull: McGregor, Chester, Bruce, Davies, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Rosenior, Quinn and Fryatt.

Subs: Figueroa, Koren, McShane, Boyd, Sagbo, Harper and Aluko.

0: The referee has blown his whistle to start the game.

30: What a first 30 minutes! Wow. Hull go 2 goals ahead in the first 10 minutes of play (Chester 3' and Davies 8') thanks to two different set plays which were poorly defended by the Arsenal players, before Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla made it 2-1 with a well-drived free-kick which flew into the top corner of the net. 

Early lead: Chester celebrates his opener after just 3 minutes of play at Wembley
Double trouble: Davies slots the ball past Fabianski after an initial effort hit the post
Hull manager Steve Bruce cannot believe what he is seeing, his side 2-0 in the FA Cup final
Hull have started the game well but have looked nervous on the ball after Cazorla reduced the deficit. Arsenal simply could not believe that they were 2-0 down with less than 10 minutes on the clock, thinking the worst. 

Back in it: Cazorla made it 2-1 with a great free-kick in the 17th minute.
However, the momentum has shifted for Arsenal, even though they would like to take their goal-scoring chances. 

42: Hull are certainly playing well in this first period, Arsenal are struggling to break through their defence and even though both teams look dangerous on the counter attack, The Gunners take too long to get into their attacking stride and it allows Hull time to get back and track their markers.  

45: Three minutes of stoppage time to be added on, the fourth official has signalled for.

45+1: Potential half-chance for Arsenal, a long range ball over the top of the Hull defence by Cazorla finds Gibbs, but he is unable to have a chance on goal.

45+3: Cazorla tries to thread a through ball towards Giroud, but Davies intercepted the danger well and the referee blows his whistle. 2-1 to Hull, and it's been deserved for their early start.

It's been a great half of football, end-to-end action but you would expect Arsenal to get themselves back into the game in the second-half. I think that it's safe to say the team that starts the second-half the better could very well win the tie today.

17:57 - It will be interesting to see how Arsenal respond in the second-half, what do you think this man will be saying to them in the dressing room?
Pressure: Wenger will be expected to deliver a motivating team talk at half-time, it could be the difference between his side winning and losing
18:03 - The referee has blown his whistle to start the second half, 2-1 to Hull is the current score. 

45: No substitutions for either side at half-time, but Hull manager Steve Bruce has been seen on camera to gesticulate to sub Sone Aluko that he should watch the game and get a feel for what he will be doing on the pitch later on.

49: Half-chance for Arsenal, good run by Ozil to the byline and beats his marker before trying to slot a cross into the box for a team-mate, but there is no support in the area and Hull clear the danger. 

52: Hull have put the ball out of play to give the physio time to treat defender Alex Bruce after coming worse for wear with a sliding challenge on Giroud near the area.

53: Replays show that Giroud's fallen over the defender and caught him with his studs.

54: Bruce should be okay to carry on though, even though he looks slightly uncomfortable.

55: Arsenal need urgency if they want to equalise sooner or later, Hull are sitting back but are dangerous with the ball on the counter attack.

56: Good gesture from both sets of supporters at Wembley as they applaud to pay tribute to the 56 people who lost their lives in the Valley Parade fire last weekend in 1985.

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60: Tom Huddlestone gets a yellow card after a late foul on Cazorla, and he is lucky not to concede a penalty after clearly pulling back Giroud inside the box, which was not seen by the referee.

62: Arsenal SUB:
Lukas Podolski OFF
Yaya Sanogo ON

Sanogo replaces Podolski, to give Giroud some support up-front. 442 formation for Arsenal, more width with 2 strikers, Sanogo would love to get his first senior goal for the side though.

65: Another penalty appeal? Jake Livermore blatantly handles the ball inside the area from a set-piece, nothing given.

67: Hull SUB:
Alex Bruce (injury) OFF
Paul McShane ON

It's a forced change for Hull, as Bruce limps off the field uncomfortably. Played well, made a few mistakes but his manager will not want to risk an injured player.

70: GOAL! Arsenal's pressure finally pays off, Koscielny does well to position himself between the goal and the ball before sliding the ball past McGregor to equalise with 20 minutes to play, despite getting clattered by the goalkeeper. 

Back to square one: Koscielny positions himself well to pounce on his chance and make it 2-2
74: Hull SUB:
Stephen Quinn OFF
Sone Aluko ON

Aluko finally gets his chance, can Hull hold on or stun Arsenal with a late goal? 

80: A simply glorious chance to put Arsenal ahead. Arsenal continue to press near the box, the ball falls to Gibbs from 6 yards out with the goal gaping, but he gets ahead of himself and slices the shot over the bar. Should have made it 3-2.

82: Yet another penalty appeal? Arsenal continue with their constant pressure inside the box, and a through ball goes towards the path of Cazorla who is barged down to the ground by Meyler in the area. 

Play waves on despite a chorus of boos and replays show there was some contact, Meyler is lucky not to have given away a penalty. Hull have been very lucky today with these decisions. 

86: Players starting to get a tad more careless with their decision-making. Yellow cards being brandished in quick succession; first Giroud after he clattered into Aluko, before Davies is late and gets a yellow for his troubles.

90: The fourth official has signalled for 5 minutes of stoppage time to be played. 5 minutes, a lot of time for drama and late goals if anything. 

90+1: A low effort from Giroud is comfortably saved by McGregor, did well to swivel past his marker but could not put enough power or accuracy behind his shot. 

90+2: Hull push men forward into the opposing area with another long-ball free-kick to be taken, but Sagna and Arteta clear their lines and Arsenal go on the counter attack. 

90+3: Ramsey threads through an attempted pass across to Cazorla, but the ball bobbles awkwardly and Cazorla is unable to control it in time to deliver a good enough cross.

90+5: The referee blows his whistle to end the 90 minutes of football. 2-2 is the final score, meaning that extra time has to be played to settle a winner, if not, then the match will go to a penalty shoot-out. 

19:00 - The referee has restarted the match, the players look frustrated and tired as both sets of teams will have hoped they could have won the game comfortable by now, especially Hull as they had a 2-0 lead only ten minutes into the match.

Arsenal will be glad that they got themselves back into the game, but they should have taken their chances and were unlucky with 4 different penalty decisions (even though Koscielny's equaliser was controversial aswell) 

Atletico vs Barca - Mini match report

Meanwhile in Spain, the league title winner has been decided on the final day of the season. Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid was the title decider, with the visitors knowing that a point would give them their first title win since the 1994-95 season.

The match has just finished 1-1, with Diego Godin scoring for Atletico after a great Sanchez opener for Barca. 

League winners: Godin equalised for Atletico with a bullet header past Pinto in the second-half
Great goal: Sanchez celebrates his power strike which flew into the net from range (below)
Bullet: Sanchez's strike in the first-half was was not enough for Barca to regain their title
Congratulations to Atletico Madrid, they have played well all season in both the Liga BBVA and Champions League. 
Champions of Spain: Atletico celebrate an unbelievable campaign with a league title
99: CHANCES! Arsenal have taken control of the game now, Hull having to defend and rightly so. Sanogo weaves past his marker and almost tests the keeper, before Giroud hits the crossbar with a well-drilled header. 

101: Hull SUB: 
Liam Rosenior (injury) OFF
George Boyd ON

Fresh legs for Bruce's team, they'll look to hold on and take their chances when they can.

102: Ramsey has had two long-range efforts in the last 5 minutes, the first one was not taken well as he struggled to make solid contact with the ball, the second one was power and direct, but was relatively straight at the goalkeeper. Better though.

103: Sanogo doing well on the flank to give Hull problems, getting in-behind the defence on the counter attack but he cannot force a target on-goal.

105: The referee blows his whistle to end the first-half of extra time after Sanogo intercepts the ball in vain with a lucky pass out by goalkeeper McGregor.

19:17 - Both sets of players stay on the pitch for their team-talks, only a few minutes of time to regain their focus for the second period of extra-time. 15 minutes before the possibility of penalties becomes real after a great cup final. 

19:18 - The referee blows his whistle, second-half of extra time has begun as Arsenal make two substitutions:

Mesut Ozil OFF
Santi Cazorla OFF
Tomas Rosicky ON
Jack Wilshere ON

106: The importance of fresh legs is highlighted in the follow Arsenal move.

Wilshere darts across the box with the ball at his feet, he plays a "give and go" with Sanogo but does not get the ball returned to him as Hull clear the danger. Arsenal look increasingly dangerous. 

109: GOAL! Arsenal ahead! A lovely move, clinically finished off by Aaron Ramsey who slots the ball past McGregor low into the bottom corner of the net. 

Winning goal: Ramsey makes it 3-2 in the 109th minute with a low drilled strike.
A great back-heel from Giroud inside the area tees him up, and the Welsh midfielder has no problem in taking his chance and giving Arsenal the lead for the first time in the match.

111: Cameras show Hull supporters looking glum in the stands, they cannot believe that their team had a 2-goal lead and let it slip.

113: Arsenal go on the counter attack again, but the ball is well cleared away by the Hull defenders.  

115: WOW! Hull almost made it 3-3 in dramatic circumstances, Mertesacker tries to clear the ball away but slips onto the turf and Aluko runs to the ball and dribbles towards the goal, Fabianski sprints towards him and he narrowly misses the target.

117: Arsenal are literally just hanging on, they do not care! 

119: An ambitious long-range effort from Aluko..... good save by Fabianski who holds onto the ball gratefully. Surely it's game over? 

120: 1 minute of stoppage time to be played.

120+1: The referee blows his whistle, as Arsenal players celebrate wildly, who can blame them! Their first trophy in 9 years, a great day and a bold comeback from 2 goals down in the first 10 minutes. 

Mixed emotions: Podolski and Wenger embrace while Steve Bruce looks shocked.
A fitting way to end the day, with Ramsey scoring the winner and getting Man Of The Match. 

The Gunners will be glad to get their first trophy win in almost a decade, but from next season they will look to bolster their squad.

Arsenal lift their first trophy for 9 years, the FA Cup after a dramatic 3-2 win over Hull
Here is who they should prioritise for potential signings -

  • A back-up goalkeeper if Fabianski leaves
  • A world-class striker to help up-top with Giroud, there is too much reliance on him
  • A good holding midfielder, preferably under-25 as a clear replacement for Flamini