Feature

‘This was our most important trophy’

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup final against Aston Villa, take a look back at how Arsenal's players and manager reflected on last season's triumph.

“It is really exhausting even when you are not playing - you are living with the team. I played 15 minutes and I feel like I’ve played two games in a row. The emotions played quite a big part as well. It was a very long wait for me and I’m delighted, and all the team is delighted. The whole club needed the trophy so we are glad it’s behind us.

“Hull started very well, they were very aggressive, they made the spaces tight for the boys to create something but you could see when the game went on they were more tired. After I came on with Jack we had the power and pace to make the difference.” - Tomas Rosicky

 

Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey

 

“It was the most important goal of my time here. I’ve been really pleased with my form this year. i wouldn’t have been able to it without without my team-mates but I’m just gutted that I got injured.

“I’m just delighted to come back, make a big impact in a game and win the FA Cup. I’ve got a good summer to look forward to I’m getting married so it’s going to be a happy one. Then after that I’ll be looking forward to next season and another title push.” - Aaron Ramsey

 

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta

 

“The manager’s speech at half-time was brilliant. He told us to keep believing in how we should do it and keep performing. He told us to stay calm. We had done the most difficult thing, which was to score the first one after going two down, so now the game was open. We had plenty of time to do it and we could not rush it.

“It was brilliant. I think the lads continued to play and we showed a lot of experience and composure. I’m glad overall for the players because they deserve it, for the manager and for the club’s fans.” - Mikel Arteta

 

Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker

 

“It’s pretty hard to describe my emotions. It’s a big relief, everyone is really exhausted but very happy. We tried to keep nice and calm and maybe later we will realise more what happened.

“I think I was always positive. I thought we could come back. They scored twice very early so there was always a big belief in each other that we could come back. It was vital that we kept going and everyone thought we were going to come back for sure. Our character was vital and, as you could see, the team effort was massive.” - Per Mertesacker

 

Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen

 

“There has been a lot of talking about not winning for a long time but next year the pressure will be there to win things again. That’s what people expect from us, the fans expect so much, so of course it will give us a boost and a lot of confidence over the next few years.

“It was unbelievable. When you’re on the bench it’s even worse. When you are playing you are focused on the game. When you are on the bench you have a lot of nerves because you can’t do anything. It went into extra-time so it wasn’t easy. It was all worth it though and it was unbelievable after so many years. We’ve finally lifted something.” - Thomas Vermaelen

 

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere

 

“It’s hard to put into words. I won the Youth Cup with the youth team but that’s nothing like this. We’ve worked hard for the last six, seven years and we haven’t won anything for nine years. The boss has been working hard but most of all it’s for the fans. They come every week, they fill the Emirates and they give us that force in Europe.

“Teams recognise us because of them and this is for them. You saw what it meant to the fans out there, they were crying and we finally got that trophy. Hopefully this will be a platform for us.” - Jack Wilshere

Ivan Gazidis

Ivan Gazidis

“I think we went through all the range of emotions. We’ve probably lived 1,000 lives and I can tell you that to come through that with the strength of character and discipline the players showed was really encouraging. We have a good platform to build on.

“We’ve got to use this to progress the club, to take it forward. This was a very big step, to have the players understand what it takes to come through that kind of adversity. To get over the line whatever it took is a big step and now we need to take the next step.

“It really colours the season. You come out and think that we were seven points away from winning the double and that gives you encouragement to move forward and make the improvements we have to make. We know we’re still a work in progress but this is a big step, a big platform and we can build on this, and we will.” - Ivan Gazidis

 

Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski

Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski

 

“We were not in the game in the first 15 to 20 minutes. Hull wanted it more and straight away there were two goals after 10 minutes. But this is something special to come back and then we played a great game, especially in the second half.

“It was a great game for the fans and the people watching it on TV. It means a lot when you play for a club like Arsenal and you win nothing for nine years. It is special for us players, the manager, the club and the fans. Let’s celebrate the FA Cup.” - Lukas Podolski

 

Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

 

“I’ve had a pretty tough few weeks. My little boy was in hospital and I missed the game but I managed to FaceTime Carl afterwards. It was still a great day and my boy is great now. It means the world to be here and celebrate with these guys. It’s fantastic.

“The fans have waited so long and since I’ve been here, this team has been the best I’ve worked with. We’ve got platform and we want to push on from this. This is such a massive club and this will be that stepping stone that will build up to a dominant Arsenal team, I’m sure of it.” - Theo Walcott

 

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud

 

“It’s amazing to win a trophy. It’s a part of the story of Arsenal. It’s really important and I’m really proud to have won this trophy. Hopefully next year and in the following years, we will have more.” - Olivier Giroud

ARSENE WENGER

on bringing on Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky…I had a funny feeling not to go to penalties. I tried desperately not to because I didn’t have many players on the pitch who were specialists at it. I tried to go for it before the end. It paid off but we had a horrible feeling for a long time and in the end it was a relief. The job is how it finishes, all the rest nobody cares.

Taking off Cazorla was bold. Cazorla is a serious penalty taker and that’s why I was hesitant. I was worried by the decision I was making because I had two strikers on the pitch. Jack and Tomas aren’t penalty takers, and Giroud had cramp. I waited as long as possible but I tried to win it before the end of extra-time.

on a roller coaster of a final…There is no bigger pleasure and happiness than when things look lost, and you win it. The only thing is that it shortens your life! But for all the rest there is no bigger happiness. We made a demonstration on how not to start a final, and also a demonstration on how to come back. I always said there is a special togetherness and a special spirit to the side. Players wanted to do well and I am very pleased, and very proud of them.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

on fearing the worst at 2-0 down…I was shocked. They looked dangerous on every set-piece. But I knew this team would try to respond. It was important for us to get back to 2-1 before half-time, then not to rush our game and keep calm and structured. Overall in the second half we had many chances.

on Cazorla’s free-kick…The mental aspect is very important in a game like that when everyone expects you to win. When you are 2-0 down of course you are under pressure - everyone thinks you have won the game before it’s started. But the cup final in England is special. You saw it last year and saw it again this year. It was an important moment in the life of this team, because to lose would certainly have been a major setback. To win will be a good platform to build on to come back even stronger next year.

on how it compares to previous cup wins…It was more important today than all the others. We have made twice the double, you have already won the league, so you are not under the pressure that we were under this year. I gave won it five times - it is not too bad!

 

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

 

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