May 18, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
Arsène Wenger has won the FA Cup five times since arriving at Arsenal in 1996. But Saturday’s win over Hull City, in which Aaron Ramsey secured the winner in extra time, may have produced the most important silverware in the Frenchman’s time at the club.
You’d think that Wenger might, perhaps, value Arsenal’s league titles more. After all, the club has won the Premier League three times with him at the helm. Or maybe he’d be more proud of the two times the Gunners did the double, clinching both the league and the FA Cup. And what about The Invincibles, the team of 2003-2004 that went through the league unbeaten to reach the title?
Nope. It is the 2014 FA Cup that is most important. Wenger said:
We waited a long time for this and the happiness is linked sometimes with the suffering, and the time that you have to wait. This was more important than all the others. We have twice won the double, but were not under pressure then like we were today.
Not to mention all the jokes that Arsenal would’ve had to endure. Trophy-less for the past eight years, the Gunners were everyone’s favorite “failures,” producing squads stocked with good players yet often finishing fourth in the league.
Hull taking a 2-0 lead after less than ten minutes didn’t help, and Arsenal supporters were already thinking up convincing reasons as to why they’d be calling in sick to work on Monday. But they started to believe when Laurent Koscielny scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, and were over the moon when Ramsey’s winner came in the 109th.
And for good reason. Wenger also provided some encouraging words about the meaning of Arsenal’s latest trophy:
This is an important moment in the life of this team; to lose today would have been a major setback, but winning gives us a good platform to come back stronger next year.
If the FA Cup proves to be the boost Arsenal need to really challenge for the title, or to progress further in the Champions League, then yes, this really could be the most important trophy of Wenger’s career.
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