Gunners going for FA Cup glory, but underdogs Hull can hurt them
Arsenal completed the Premier League double against Hull City, but they did the same thing against Birmingham City and lost their last cup final. Steve Bruce’s Tigers are 3/1 shots with Coral to emulate that and upset the Gunners at Wembley.
The FA Cup was the last trophy Arsene Wenger lifted, back in 2005. Fans of the north London outfit are desperate to bring nine years of disappointment to an end and, given Arsenal’s superior resources, they are odds-on 2/9 favourites to hoist silverware again.
Both the Gunners and Hull are longer, at 4/9 and 6/1 respectively, for a Wembley win in 90 minutes. A draw, and therefore extra time in the FA Cup final, is a 10/3 chance.
Shocks at the end of the world’s oldest knockout football competition have become rare in the modern era, but Wigan Athletic upsetting Manchester City to win it last term shows that romance is far from dead.
It is hard to ignore the 2-0 and 3-0 victories recorded by Arsenal in Premier League meetings this season, however. These are 11/2 and 9/1 chances apiece, while a win to nil for Wenger’s men is a safer bet at 6/5.
His Gunners have also been victorious in six meetings in succession against the Tigers in all competitions. Thoughts turn to who can be heroes on the hallowed turf, and midfielders Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey have goals from this term’s encounters already. The former is better priced in the anytime market at 10/3, while Welshman Ramsey is 7/4.
Germany forward Lukas Podolski, meanwhile, bagged a brace at the KC Stadium in April, and odds of 7/1 for him to do so again (or better) are attractive. He has also scored three during this Arsenal cup run, so 5/4 on a goal anytime is also worth considering.
Bruce’s major problem, and this is what is so difficult for punters to get over, is the absence of Hull front two Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, who are cup-tied. Without them, the goal burden shall fall on flops Sone Aluko (5/1 to score anytime), notably omitted by Nigeria from their World Cup squad, and Yannick Sagbo (4/1).
For some reason, the Tigers boss does not fancy Matty Fryatt in the Premier League, but he has three in three starts in the FA Cup (and four in five appearances). Back the former Leicester City frontman to score anytime at 7/2.
In many ways Hull have already got their prize of European football for the first time in history next term, but a potential return from Irish winger Robbie Brady would make for an interesting subplot.
One player who punters can expect to raise his game against Arsenal is former Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone. A scorer in the 5-3 semi win over Sheffield United, he is 15/2 to repeat that feat in the final.
Coral have also opened a number of special markets on the Wembley showpiece. It’s 4/1 for there to be a red card in the final, while any player to hit a hat-trick is 12/1. Wenger, meanwhile, is out of contract this summer, but is odds-on at 1/5 to still be in charge of the Gunners next term.
The man of the match, as picked by ITV pundits, makes for an interesting market. Ramsey and Ozil are joint 13/2 favourites ahead of Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud and another midfielder, Santi Cazorla, who are both at 8/1. Huddlestone is a tasty outside shout of getting this award for Hull at 16/1.