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Arsenal ready to end the drought

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 17, 2014

By ALAN BROWN

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Arsenal are waiting on two of their key players ahead of the FA Cup final against Hull City at Wembley today.

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and captain Thomas Vermaelen will be assessed until the last possible moment by boss Arsene Wenger's medical team ahead of the 5pm kick-off.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out with a groin injury since the league clash with the Tigers on April 20, while defender Vermaelen missed the season finale at Norwich after having five stitches in his knee.

Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby all returned from injury at Carrow Road, while Wenger faces a selection dilemma on whether to start number one Wojciech Szczesny or FA Cup ever-present goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Hull boss Steve Bruce has vowed to take no risks with his starting line-up as his side bid to win the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Paul McShane (ankle), James Chester (hamstring), Robbie Brady (groin) and Sone Aluko (ankle) are all expected to pass fitness tests but are unlikely to make the Tigers' starting line-up.

Allan McGregor is set to continue in goal after making his comeback in the Premier League defeat to Everton.

Arsenal are hoping to end a nine-year run without a trophy, their last piece of silverware coming when they beat Manchester United on penalties to lift the 2005 FA Cup.

Wenger also guided the club to FA Cup success in 1998, 2002, and 2003, while they were beaten finalists in 2001.

But since 2005 the club's fans have endured disappointments in cup competitions, with defeats in the final of the 2006 Champions League and two League Cup finals.

Wenger said: "The drought may make it a little more difficult but once you walk over the line you just focus on your football. You don't play with the history, you play with your quality and your desire to play well. We need to just turn up and play well."

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