On May 30th, Arsenal and Aston Villa will face off at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. After winning the competition last season Arsenal are back in the final looking to defend their title and win the trophy for a record 12th time. Villa will look to pick up the trophy for the first time since 1957, and their first domestic trophy of any kind since 1996. Arsene Wenger will be looking to lift the FA Cup for the sixth time, which would match the record set by famous Aston Villa manager George Ramsay. This will be Tim Sherwood’s first cup final as a manager, but he will look to go toe to toe with the experienced Frenchman.
Villa have some serious injury questions heading into the final on Saturday. Ciaran Clark, Libor Kozak, and Chris Heard are all missing out through various injuries. On top of that, Shay Given, Jores Okore, and Kieran Richardson are all due to have late fitness tests and could miss out.
Arsene Wenger has already announced Danny Welbeck will be a miss for the London side. While they are in training, neither Mikel Arteta nor Mathieu Debuchy are likely to play due to a lack of match fitness.
- Villa have won only three of their last 34 meetings against the gunners.
- The combined score of the two meetings between the two sides ended 8-0 in favour to Arsenal.
- The only other time the two have faced each other in the FA Cup Arsenal came from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
- Villa scored fewer goals than any Premier League team that avoided relegation this season, while Arsenal scored the third most.
- After scoring only 12 goals in their 25 league games under Paul Lambert, Villa have scored 19 goals in their 13 games under Tim Sherwood.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal’s big summer signing has proved to be one of the best signings of the summer. Alexis Sanchez has carried the gunners through some tough patches this season. He is the a player that can create a moment of magic even when the rest of the team is struggling. The Chilean was voted PFA fans player of the year for a reason, it’s because he is a world class talent that can win a game by himself.
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke
Villa have struggled to score goals all season. Their inability to score goals has cost them lots of points, but their one true goalscoring outlet is Christian Benteke. The Belgian has scored more than twice as many league goals than any other Villa player. He scored 42% of the teams league goals and is the main reason they were able to turn their season around. His aerial ability is key to Villa’s success. If Villa are to win this cup final, Benteke will need to have his fingerprints all over the game.
Arsenal are certainly the favorites going into this one. After last year’s cup final success, the Gunners should be over the nerves they showed last season. I see Wenger’s team lifting the cup again, but it will be a very tight game. I think Villa will come out strong and high press their opponents but eventually they’ll tire and Arsenal’s class will show through.
Prediction: 2-1 Arsenal