The time is nearly upon us: The FA Cup Final is just a day away.
Everyone knows what this match means for Arsenal. It is a game of truly historic significance for the club, which has not won a single piece of silverware in nine years.
If the Gunners win, they will bring their first trophy back to the Emirates Stadium and finally signal to the rest of the footballing world that they are not merely an above-average team with a legendary manager whose pretty football doesn't get them anywhere.
It will signal a new era for Arsenal; a winning era. Winning one trophy will give a squad largely starved of success over the course of each player's respective careers the irreplaceable taste of victory. A trophy glut may well follow.
Arsenal have already taken down Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan. Only Hull City, who finished 16th in the Premier League this season, stand between Arsenal and a historic day at Wembley.
But this is a cup final after all, so Hull will certainly put up much stiffer resistance than their points total would indicate. Arsene Wenger will have to be shrewd about his team selection and will no doubt have given a ton of thought to how he will arrange his men after studying Hull and looking at his own players in training this week.
Here's a lineup he could reasonably put out:
This is pretty much Wenger's standard lineup as of late, but there are a few places where there could be some controversy.
First and foremost is in goal. Some think that Lukasz Fabianski should be able to complete his stellar FA Cup run and play in the final in what would likely be his last match for Arsenal.
It's a valid argument but is mostly based on sentimentality and emotion. While Fabianski has been brilliant in the few occasions when he has been called upon this season, Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal's No. 1 goalkeeper and if Wenger trusted him for the entire rest of the season, he should trust him now.
Giving Szczesny big-game experience while under immense amounts of pressure is also a good investment for future finals and massive matches. It would also give him the chance to banish the demons of the 2-1 loss to Birmingham City in the League Cup final three years ago.
The rest of the back line is the same unit that Wenger has regularly used this season to excellent effect. All four players work extremely well with each other and Szczesny, and they inspire confidence in the fans and probably the rest of the team as well.
Mikel Arteta will probably get the nod in defensive midfield over Mathieu Flamini, as Wenger will probably not want to make his lineup more conservative by introducing the bone-crunching Frenchman.
Arteta has been preferred recently, anyway, and is one of the manager's favorite players. He keeps things ticking in the center of the pitch, switches play from defense to attack and is capable of getting stuck into challenges against opposition of Hull's quality.
The rest of the lineup virtually picks itself.
Aaron Ramsey simply must start due to his continued spell of outstanding form, and Mesut Ozil continues to be the team's creative hub and expert distributor around the penalty box. Both of their places in the starting XI are virtually assured.
Santi Cazorla, who normally plays on the left side, will be pushed to the right due to the dearth of players Wenger can choose to play in the position. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott both injured, Arsenal have no true right-wingers.
That allows Lukas Podolski to assume his place on the left wing again. He looks more likely to score than any other Arsenal player at the moment, and his direct style of play can net him goals instantly when paired with his hammer of a left foot.
Podolski's skill set is exactly that which is beneficial during a cup final.
Finally, Olivier Giroud will surely get the chance to finish a very tumultuous season in his customary position up front. The Frenchman has looked livelier of late, and his ability to harass Hull's defenders will prove hugely important to Arsenal getting on the scoresheet, even if he himself does not score.
If this entire machine clicks Saturday, the FA Cup trophy will be headed to the Emirates.