The 2013-14 season was a bit of a strange one for Arsenal. The first match of the season was a disaster top-to-bottom, losing 3-1 to Aston Villa. That led to this, which will go down in the annals of history as one of the best things ever in my opinion. We beat Tottenham Hotspur the day before the transfer window closed, then they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid so Madrid could, in turn, sell us Mesut Özil. That ended up pretty great, honestly. We led the league longer than anyone else, but when Aaron Ramsey and a few others got hurt, the title challenge evaporated.
But in the FA Cup, Arsenal were able to find glory, for the first time in nearly a decade. We won the Cup for the first time since 2005, breaking a nine-year trophy drought. But it wasn't particularly easy – several top teams had to be beaten, and the final went haywire before it went golden. Here's how it happened.
First and Second Rounds
Premier League sides don't have to play these games, thankfully, so the schedule doesn't end up even more congested than it already is.
Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
It was a good year for North London Derbies, as Arsenal won all three that were contested. This one was pretty fun, as it involved a Tomáš Rosicky goal, and those are always great. Of course, Theo Walcott's knee also blew up, which is a big part of the reason why Arsenal didn't win the league. But hey, step one on the path to winning a trophy was complete, and against one of our chief rivals.
Arsenal 4-0 Coventry City
This one wasn't nearly as easy as the scoreline makes it appear – Coventry were able to create some chances, and probably should have scored one or two if the dearly departed Łukasz Fabiański hadn't been on his game. Still, though, Lukas Podolski managed to score two goals, so it couldn't have been that hard. Gedion Zelalem even got to play!
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Like Tottenham, Arsenal played Liverpool three times this season. We won two of the three. Guess which one everyone remembers? This game is probably most famous for being the one where Fabiański's shoe came untied late in the game, and to keep Arsenal from wasting time Daniel Sturridge tied it for him. It was pretty hilarious. Also, we won!
Arsenal 4-1 Everton
This one was another that wasn't quite as safe as the scoreline makes it appear. Arsenal went up early through Mesut Özil, but gave up an equalizer just before halftime to Romelu Lukaku. But in the second half, a Mikel Arteta penalty (taken twice, after an encroachment call) and two Olivier Giroud goals sealed Arsenal's trip to Wembley Stadium for the first time since the Capital One Cup debacle of 2011. SPOILERS: this one went a lot better.
Wigan Athletic 1-1 Arsenal (Arsenal win 4-2 on penalties)
This is where things started to get really dicey. Arsenal had seemingly chance after chance to score, and couldn't put any of them away. But about an hour in, a somewhat clumsy Per Mertesacker challenge on Callum McManaman led to a penalty scored by Jordi Gomez, putting Arsenal behind a Championship side. Not ideal. With less than ten minutes left, though, Mertesacker scuffed a cross in after a botched corner, and it was 1-1. Arsenal failed (somehow) to score in extra time, meaning penalties. Kim Kallstrom took one, so of course Arsenal won.
FA Cup Final
Arsenal 3-2 Hull City a.e.t.
Ten minutes or so into this game, I thought I was going to have to quit sports forever. Hull scored twice, and I saw ahead of me months – if not years – of inane baying about how Arsenal Can't Win The Big One. But Santi Cazorla answered with a brilliant free kick, then with only a quarter of an hour to go Laurent Koscielny did was Laurent Koscielny tends to do: score important goals. This time it didn't take penalties, as Arsenal worked a great goal in extra time, and were able to hang on despite this.
In other words: TWO NIL DOWN, THREE TWO UP, AARON RAMSEY WON US THE CUP
"I Hope Tomorrow is Like Today: On Winning the FA Cup, The Only Way We Could"