Saturday, May 17, 9AM Portland/11AM MPLS & Chicago/Noon NYC/5PM London TV: Fox (the main Fox, not FS1)
For several years recently, the FA broke with tradition and played their showpiece final on the Saturday before the end of the season, after 100-plus years of holding it on the Saturday after the end. This year, the Cup returns to its rightful spot as a season-ending showcase, with a slightly altered kickoff time (5PM in London, as opposed to the usual 3PM).
If this were a league game, this would be a very tactics-and-lineup centered preview, detailing key matchups, lineups, formations, etc. But this is a Cup final, so in a lot of ways the mundanity of typical analysis doesn't really matter.
There are a great many people who will tell you that the FA Cup has been devalued, and that it's not nearly as important as the platinum-lined hot tub full of money that is the Champions Leage. You know what? Fuck those people. I have had the pleasure of going to an FA Cup final (toot toot), and it was one of the most fun days I have ever had at a sporting event. Everyone's in a festive mood, the sun shines, at least theoretically (forecast for tomorrow: 70 degrees, partly cloudy), and it's a great advert for the game.
The whole thing just oozes history, and on a day like Saturday, with a team like Hull who have never been to a Cup final before, it'll be extra-festive. People always talk, with the smaller teams, about whether to prioritize a Cup run or league survival, but I guarantee that in 20 years a Cup final - win or lose - will be remembered with excitement, where a relegation will fade.
So, yeah - we all know what's at stake tomorrow. A brand new shiny tin pot:
and a brief, blessed, temporary silence from all the NO TROPHEEZ bleaters. I can't be emotionless or analytical about this game; I desperately want Arsenal to win it, and it will ruin my day if they don't. So tomorrow morning, I'll get out my Arsenal scarf that's older than a lot of you, I'll put on the Arsenal away socks that mrs. pdb got me for Christmas, and I will be shouting at a TV, willing Arsenal to a win, because that's how sports work, right?
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