FA Cup Final 2014: Post-Match Reaction from Arsene Wenger and Steve Bruce

Danny Collins@@dannycollins89Featured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

Arsenal's coach Arsene Wenger, right, hold the trophy aloft as he celebrates after his team won the English FA Cup final soccer match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Arsenal won 3-2 after extra-time. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Arsene Wenger hailed his side as they lifted the FA Cup at Wembley and confirmed that he will be at the Emirates Stadium next season. 

The Gunners came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and secure their first trophy in nine years thanks to Aaron Ramsey's late winner. Wenger's men had a nightmare start as James Chester and Curtis Davies gave Hull a 2-0 lead within ten minutes. 

But Arsenal worked their way back into the game and Santi Cazorla gave them hope with a stunning free-kick in the first half. Laurent Koscielny nudged the ball home to put the Gunners level before Ramsey struck a sweet strike in extra-time to give the north London side victory.

101 Great Goals provide Wenger's comments on his contract after the match:

Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report provides more from Wenger:

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Miguel Delaney of ESPN passes Wenger's thoughts on adversity:

Speaking to ITV after the match, Wenger said, as per BBC Sport:

We wanted to make history tonight and win the game and we did that in both ways - how not to start the Cup final and how to come back.

I think it was a turning point in the life time of this team - to know they can win in that way was really important today.

It would have been terrible [to lose] but we came back. I've praised the spirit of this team and they showed that today."

I always said my future doesn't depend on this but I always wanted to stay.

Steve Bruce was generally magnanimous in defeat but bemoaned the events that led to Arsenal's goals, as per BBC Sport:

In terms of effort, endeavour and determination you couldn't fault them to a man. Proud? Of course I am. They were magnificent."

I didn't think the first one was a free-kick and the second goal was a goal-kick not a corner. But it's not the time now to whinge. We are totally disappointed because it could have been one of those memorable FA Cup wins where the underdog goes and wins it.

On another day we could have won it but in the end we didn't have enough.

Much pressure had been placed on Arsenal and their manager in the build-up to this clash following nine trophy-less years at the Emirates. 

But no sooner had the echoes of Leona Lewis' Abide With Me subsided than Hull had stolen a march on Wenger's men. 

Stephen Quinn's floated corner was mis-hit on the volley by former Tottenham man Tom Huddlestone, but Chester was able flick the ball around Lukasz Fabianski and send the Tigers' fans into raptures. 

Things got worse for Wenger within minutes as Davies planted the ball into the Gunners' net for the second time on eight minutes. Alex Bruce exploited Arsenal's lack of defensive organisation, sending his header towards Fabianksi's net. The Pole excellently parried the effort, but could only send it into the path of Davies who lashed home with unerring conviction. 

Wenger's men were looking overawed by the weight of expectation as Bruce almost sent Hull three ahead, but his header was cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs. 

Sang Tan/Associated Press

The game was fast developing into a classic Wembley encounter, and Arsenal would call on one of their European stars to bring themselves back into the match. On the day his compatriots tussled over the La Liga title, Cazorla stepped up with a breathtaking free-kick that arced around Allan McGregor on twenty minutes.

The effort will surely come to be remembered as one of the great FA Cup final goals, but more importantly for Arsenal it was a foothold in a game which was fast slipping away from their grasp.

It was a pulsating start to a final which has produced turgid, cagey affairs in recent years. OptaJoe as ever had a remarkable statistic to put events into context. 

Sang Tan/Associated Press

The final settled down as Hull dug in with their goal advantage. And that looked to be a tactic that might well pay off. Arsenal dominated possession and threatened through Koscielny and Yaya Sanogo chances, but they could not break through a stubborn Hull rearguard action. 

It would be Koscielny who would finally break Hull's resistance as he drew the Gunners level. The French defender found the ball at his feet in the Hull penalty box after the Tigers had failed to clear their lines following a corner. Koscielny needed to apply only the slightest touch as he swivelled to send the ball bouncing past McGregor.

Arsenal were now in the ascendancy, and they had their best chance of the match when Gibbs blazed a shot high over the bar from five yards out. Soon after Davd Meyler was lucky to avoid giving away a penalty after he clipped Cazorla in the box. 

Refereeing decisions were becoming a theme of the match. Lee Probert initially made an error allowing Hull to take the free-kick that led to the second goal eight yards further forward than where the original foul had occurred. The corner that led to Koscielny's goal should have been given as a goal kick. 

But Probert's bad decisions evened out, and the sides headed into extra-time at 2-2.

Arsenal began extra-time with a signal of intent as Ramsey lofted a delightful ball into Olivier Giroud's path. But the Frenchman was only able to plant a firm header against the Hull bar as the Tigers hung on. 

Gary Linker went to Twitter to share his thoughts on the game and the FA Cup in general. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal (6) scores their second goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Despite a man-of-the-match awards, Ramsey was not at his cavalier best in this classic encounter, but the Welshman certainly made the result sure. As a 17-year-old he made his name at the fulcrum of the Cardiff side that reached the final at Wembley. And Ramsey's affinity with the old competition continued here as he lashed home from Giroud's backheel to send the Gunners ahead. 

Bruce's men refused to lie down and Sone Aluko had two chances at the death to level for Hull, but his long range strike was met with the hands of Fabianski. 

But the Gunners held on to secure their first trophy since 2005 and send their 25,000 fans delirious. At long last the Emirates Stadium trophy room will be able to welcome some silverware, and the oldest silverware in world football at that. 

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