Monday, 19th May, 2014

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that his double substitution during extra-time of his side’s 3-2 win over Hull City in the FA Cup final on Saturday was a gamble to avoid a penalty shoot-out.

With the score level at 2-2 at Wembley, Wenger brought on Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere in place of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil for the second half of extra time, and Aaron Ramsey scored the winner just after two minutes of the introductions.

And the Frenchman, who was relieved after his gamble paid off and a penalty shoot-out was avoided, explained that the Gunners did not have enough specialist penalty takers on the field.

“I had a funny feeling not to go to penalties”, Wenger told his club’s official site.


“I tried desperately not to go to penalties because I did not 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 in the game and in the end it was a relief. The job is how it finishes, all the rest nobody cares.

“Especially [taking off] Cazorla [was bold]. I must tell you Ozil I would not have put him on the penalty list, but 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 is not a penalty taker, Rosicky is not a penalty taker. [Olivier] Giroud had cramp so it was difficult.

“The other problem I had was the hamstring of [Kieran] Gibbs. Before the end of the game, he had a hamstring problem and so I waited as long as possible but I tried to win it before the end.”

Arsenal defeated last season’s FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals of the tournament at the same venue after the game was level 1-1 after the end of extra-time on 12th April.

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