Arsenal and Hull City will square off in the FA Cup final on Saturday in what will be the most important match of either clubs' season, following the conclusion of the 2013-14 English Premier League campaign.
The Tigers have never played in an FA Cup final before and need some positive publicity following the lengthy battle between the fans and owner Assem Allam, whose plan to change the club's name finally hit a brick wall in April, as reported by the BBC.
The Gunners are looking to end a trophy drought spanning almost nine years, and as the team's Premier League season once again came undone following a promising start, some silverware is needed now more than ever.
Date: Saturday, May 17
Time: 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
To say there's much riding on Saturday's FA Cup final would be quite an understatement.
For Arsenal, the FA Cup would be the only way to make up for what has ultimately been yet another disappointing season and a victory on Saturday is a must for the suddenly beleaguered Arsene Wenger.
The French manager celebrated his 1000th match in charge of the club with an embarrassing 6-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea, and a large portion of the club's fans (led by Piers Morgan) have voiced their concerns regarding the Frenchman's ability to deliver the team future glory.
Sky Sports' Paul Merson believes a loss against Hull could mean the end for Wenger:
They should end their nine-year wait for a trophy on Saturday, but if they don't then it will be interesting to see the fans' reaction. I think they may want Arsene Wenger to go if they don't bring home the trophy.
They were on the edge in the semi-final against Wigan. When they went 1-0 down and it was getting near the end of the game a lot of fans were set to turn on him. It might sound harsh because it looks like he could be judged on the result of this one game, but it's not one game, is it? It's nine years.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Wenger fan, but those fans pay a lot of money. It's not cheap to go and watch Arsenal play and they want to see the club winning trophies. They could go the other way if the team doesn't win this.
Per WhoScored.com, Arsenal will be welcoming several key contributors back to the team, with Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey all available for selection.
Ramsey and Ozil in particular have played decisive roles in Arsenal's midfield when healthy this season, and their presence in the centre of the pitch could spark the Gunners' attacking unit, one that won't be lacking for creativity.
Hull will be without Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, who are both cup-tied, while James Chester should reclaim his spot in the centre of the defence after missing out on the match against Everton last week.
Via the club's official Twitter account, Robbie Brady could surprisingly return for the Tigers' final match of the season:
Hull are winless in their last five matches but have greatly impressed in the FA Cup this season, scoring at least twice in five of their last six fixtures. However, none of those matches were played against a defensive duo as talented as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
While analysts seem fairly convinced Arsenal will emerge victorious on Saturday, judging by the sheer amount of articles dedicated to the topic, the nine-year wait for silverware will always be in the back of the minds of both players and fans.
Arsenal won't underestimate Hull—rather, the storylines going into the match could have the opposite effect. Via Football_Tweet, Thomas Vermaelen doesn't believe the pressure of ending the trophy drought will affect the players:
Vermaelen's optimism is admirable, but the weight of history can do funny things to players, particularly ones as inexperienced as Ramsey or Kieran Gibbs.
Hull City won't face such pressure, but the Tigers won't be travelling to Wembley thinking they can be proud of the fact they've already made the final. Hull will want to win, and they will play accordingly.
Arsenal convincingly beat the Tigers 3-0 last month, capitalising on a lack of creativity from the hosts as they cruised to victory. Hull never asserted themselves in the match, and a similar approach on Saturday could yield a similar result.
Expect Hull to be more active in midfield and to place an emphasis on eliminating Ramsey, who carved their defense to shreds just last month. If the Tigers can neutralise Arsenal's main creative output, they'll have a fighting chance at pulling the upset.
Final Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
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