It’s one of the most exciting and traditional days in the football calendar, so it’s no surprise to see that there is plenty of anticipation ahead of the FA Cup final this weekend. It’s a fixture involving two teams that few people expected to reach this stage, with Arsenal gunning for their first trophy since 2005 while Hull are the firm underdogs having only just returned to the Premiership twelve months ago.
As such, it’s billed to be another memorable final. We’ll now look at ten interesting facts that are associated with the game, and could even play a part in the result.
1. There is a lot of speculation about Arsene Wenger’s future at the moment, but should the Gunners win the trophy he will officially be one of the best managers to be involved in the competition. At the moment, Sir Alex Ferguson holds the record for the most number of FA Cups wins after masterminding five with Manchester United. Wenger will match this record with the right result on Saturday – and also end that awful trophy drought which is so-often publicised.
2. Steve Bruce is someone who has also tasted success in this competition, albeit during his playing days. During his time as a defender for Manchester United, Bruce lifted the trophy on three separate occasions, although he has still to win it as a manager.
3. Arsenal have already achieved one feat, having matched the number of times that Manchester United have appeared in the final. This is the 18th FA Cup final that the club have been involved in, whereas the furthest that Hull have progressed was the semi-finals all the way back in 1930. If the Tigers can beat the bookies and record the unlikely win, they will become the 44th different club to lift the prestigious cup.
4. Regardless of what happens, Hull will qualify for the Europa League next season. This will be the first time the Tigers have competed in Europe and this has occurred because of Arsenal’s league finish, which dictates that they qualify for the Champions League.
5. The top scorer in the competition is Peterborough’s Britt Assombalonga, who has five goals to his name. However, Hull’s Matty Fryatt has the chance to match or potentially better his tally, with the Tiger’s striker scoring four. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski are next down the list having scored three times through the tournament.
6. Referee’s are only allowed to officiate the final once in their career, meaning that the FA were somewhat limited with their options. In the end, Lee Probert was the man selected, with his biggest claim to fame prior to this occurring when he was the fourth official for the final three years ago.
7. Based on past form, the omens for a Hull victory appear to be slim. Arsenal have won all six matches against the club since 2008.
8. Even though some people are predicting something of a landslide in Arsenal’s favour this weekend, past FA Cup finals suggest that this might not necessarily be the case. Just eleven goals have been scored in the last seven finals, with each game being decided by just one goal.
9. However, the Gunners have kept clean sheets in the last three FA Cup finals they have been part of, while they have scored nineteen goals in their last eight matches against the Tigers.
10. Something that has aided Hull significantly through the competition has been a kind draw. While Arsenal have been forced to play the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton, Hull have only had to face one fellow top flight team in the form of Sunderland. This may have proved to be particularly important when you consider the fact that the club have won just three of their last eleven games in the FA Cup against teams from the same division.