Sport

FA Cup: Can Hull take Wenger to hell?

Ahead of Arsenal and Hull’s FA Cup Final clash, a former legend from each club offers their prediction

LEE DIXON (ARSENAL)

“Arsenal should win, but how many times have we said that? This is one of Wenger’s biggest games at the club, because there’s huge pressure on him to lift some silverware, and this is a massive opportunity against a team you’d expect Arsenal to beat. If Arsenal win this match, they can consider this season a successful one.

“I’ve been in the dressing room with Arsene, and he’s reluctant to put emphasis on the opposition. He’s meticulous in his preparation, but it’s focused on his own team; he doesn’t pick out opposing players. George Graham would say, ‘Make sure you stand in that spot, run into that exact space,’ but Arsene gives players more freedom to express themselves.

“Jelavic and Long can’t play, so that’s a massive blow – without them, I just can’t see Hull scoring. I’m not seeing a lot from Sagbo.

“My best FA Cup Final memory is the first one I won [1993 against Sheffield Wednesday], even though it was probably the worst game in the competition’s history [laughs]. Worst memory is easy, too: chasing Michael Owen when he scored Liverpool’s winner [in 2001]. That wasn’t particularly enjoyable.”

DEAN WINDASS (HULL city)

“After Hull’s recent performance against Arsenal [losing 3-0 at home], I would have said we can’t win this. They absolutely battered us. But this is the FA Cup Final, so you never know. Wembley does strange things to people…

“Steve Bruce will be happy to be underdog. I can see him going three at the back, five in midfield; defend well and try to hit them on the counter-attack. If you concede against Arsenal, it’s very difficult because they keep the ball so well. Ramsey’s the big Arsenal threat, but with Long and Jelavic missing, Matt Fryatt is the key man for Hull. He was great in the semi against Sheffield United; he plays on people’s shoulders, he’s a natural goal-scorer.

“My advice to the Hull lads is enjoy the occasion, because it goes so quickly. I never played in an FA Cup Final, and it’s one of my biggest regrets.

“The closest I got was the Championship play-off final in 2008 [when Windass scored Hull’s winner]. I remember Nicky Barmby saying, ‘On the final whistle, we run into the crowd.’ It was the fastest I’ve ever run in my life [laughs]. I stayed up until 5.30am, and got drunk for a month [laughs].”

The FA Cup Final is on ITV, 17 May, 5pm; Dean Windass is an ambassador for Beko, official home appliance partner of The FA Cup; beko.co.uk

(Images: PA, Rex)