The gates of the beautiful, new Emirates stadium opened on 22nd July 2006. The trophy cabinet, however, still remains as it was on that day – devoid of any silverware. Arsenal fans are hoping the 133rd final of the FA Cup will end the trophy drought for the North London club. Hull City have nothing to lose. Not only can their players become heroes and club legends, they can also shatter big reputations on their way to glory.
Now that the League Cup winners and the Premier League champions have been crowned, let us have a look at three interesting talking points ahead of the 2014 FA Cup final.
Steve Bruce`s Terrible Wembley Memory
In the build up to the FA Cup final, Steve Bruce has claimed that taking Hull City to Wemely has been his greatest achievement in football. Most remember Bruce as one of the greatest center-backs to represent Manchester United. He and Gary Pallister are to a previous generation of United fans, what Rio Ferdidnand and Nemanja Vidic are to the current generation.
Bruce returns to Wembley after a long wait of 18 years. The last time he set foot on the famous Wembely turf, was in the colors of Manchester United. That day also remains the most painful for Bruce as a football player. Sir Alex Ferguson informed Bruce that not only was he going to watch this match from the bench, but also that his United career was over just as the defender was warming up for a famous battle against Liverpool. Steve Bruce claims to have taken more than a decade to get over the disappointment of missing that match. With Hull however, he hopes to erase the past and restore a more memorable moment of a match at the renovated Wembley.
Arsene Wenger Has The Ideal Stage to Call it Quits
"Le Professeur" is regarded as one of the best managers in world football. Despite not delivering a trophy in the last nine years, the club has still persisted with him. It is being speculated the Frenchmen would leave the club if he fails to guide the Gunners with a FA Cup win. The alternate view emerging from some sections of the Arsenal fans is that Wenger should leave the club on a high by winning a trophy. Despite competing for the league title more than half of the season, Arsenal`s challenge faded away as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea pulled ahead.
The blame for yet another failed campaign has to be shouldered by Wenger for his baffling transfer market strategy. At a time when he could have injected the squad with a match-winning striker, Wenger shied away, as he has several times before, possibly costing Arsenal a major trophy. In the existing circumstances, the FA Cup final is Arsenal`s best chance to win a trophy. It also is the ideal stage for Wenger, should he decide to bring down the curtains on his glorious career with the Gunners.
Romance of a David v Goliath FA Cup Match
Hull City have never won a major trophy in their 110-year old history. The club have risen from the second-tier Championship to the Premier League and now to a Cup final in just two years of promotion. That by itself is a remarkable achievement for "The Tigers". On any given day, odds would be loaded in favor of an Arsenal win. It may not exactly be the case on this occasion. It is the final of the world`s oldest football competition, which is renowned for the sheer romance of smaller clubs shocking the elite clubs of England`s top flight football in epic battles. Arsenal will do well to remember their third round loss in the 1992 edition of the competition when they were `cupset` by Wrexhem, a club at the bottom of England`s fourth division.
In fact, the League winners City were beaten by an in-expensive but spirited Wigan in this year`s competition that paved the way for a relatively easy route for Arsenal to the final. Steve Bruce, no doubt, will remind his players how heroes are made in the FA Cup. Apart from Arsenal fans, the football universe will be rooting for the underdogs, Hull.