The Benfica curse struck again mid-week but the curse of Arsene Wenger should finally come to an end at Wembley today against Hull in the FA Cup final. (5pm).
YouTube was in its infancy and Lance Armstrong had just won a record seventh consecutive Tour De France the last time the Gunners won a trophy. But they’ll not get a better chance to pick up some silverware for the first time in eight long years and 11 months by winning their 11th FA Cup crown.
For a side that have been dining at the top table with Europe’s finest, the Emirates’ trophy cabinet is as bleak as Newcastle’s United’s future. But if the North London side do what the footballing world expects – and their fans’ demand – the brasso will be on order after nine long years at the Emirates come Monday morning.
Arsene Wenger’s side have won their last six head-to-head clashes with Hull including a 3-0 win at the KC Stadium as part of their five-game unbeaten drive to their 17th consecutive Champions League place.
Hull on the other hand might have started their Premier League survival celebrations early, losing four of their last five league games.
The stats tell us that 70 per cent of the favourites win the FA Cup so if you want to take 1/2 that Arsenal do it, fire away. If you’d like a little more juice in the price Arsenal (-1) goal on the handicap betting is 13/10 while a repeat of their win in the North East a month ago is 9/1.
Penalty takers are always worth a second look in high-profile games where passions run high. It’s 11/4 that a penalty is awarded over the 90 minutes of the FA Cup final and 11/2 that Arsenal score it in normal time.
But Mikael Arteta is on a hat-trick of FA Cup penalties after scoring from the spot against the Toffees in the quarter finals and converting in the shoot-out win against Wigan in the semis.
A third penalty strike from the Spaniard can reward backers at 12/1 in the first goalscorer market or 4/1 in the anytime scorer (90 minutes) section.
Arsenal did the Premier League double over the Tigers winning 5-0 on aggregate. A predictable 2-0 win at home in December was followed up by a badly-needed 3-0 away win last month when Everton were breathing down their necks for the last Champions League spot.
But whatever way you slice it, the Emirates’ side were always in control and can be backed at 5/4 to beat Steve Bruce’s side to nil or 10/11 for Tomasz Wojciech to keep another clean sheet for the third time this season against Hull.