Saturday 30 May 2015-05-29

Wembley Stadium

Arsenal will head to Wembley at the weekend hoping to secure their second FA Cup trophy in as many years and become the most successful club in the tournaments history. A win against Aston Villa on Saturday would mark a 12th triumph for the Londoners and lift them above Manchester United in the all-time FA Cup winners table.

Having overcome a difficult game against Reading, Arsene Wenger’s men must now face a team that struggled in the Premier League this campaign but have excelled in this competition. Memories of last year’s final against Hull when the Gunners conceded two early goals and had to fight their way back into the game will be clear in the Coach’s head, and the Frenchman will be keen to avoid a repeat against Villa.

The London team finished third in the league this year and will go into the game without the same pressure that was felt 12 months ago when they were pursuing their first silverware in nine years. However, the boss is still keen to prove that his side has made significant improvements since last year and regained a winning mentality.

Villa will be a tricky opponent and will be going into this game with nothing to lose after securing their Premier League status for another season. Defeat will certainly have more of a negative impact on the Champions League team that it will on the Midlanders.

Despite a bright start to his time at the helm, things did not end too well in the league for Tim Sherwood. A 6-1 thrashing at Southampton followed by a home defeat to Burnley left the Villains hanging onto their top flight status by their fingernails. But with safety confirmed, they can now take something positive into this game.

Sherwood’s team has a favourable run of home games early in this competition but didn’t need any favours when disposing of Liverpool in the semi-finals. Subsequent result have shown that outplaying this current Liverpool side might not be such a huge achievement but they still bate a side that finished 24 points above them in the league.

A win on Saturday would give the team from Villa Park their first FA Cup triumph since 1957 and their eighth trophy overall. Their last trophy of any kind for the former European champions came in the 1996 League Cup. It would certainly provide a rare moment of joy for the fans after such a difficult few years at the club.

This will be a tough encounter for Arsenal but Arsene Wenger is unlikely to change his approach and we could be treated to a very open game early on. Villa will be keen to pour on some early pressure just as they did again at Liverpool and no doubt the ball will be delivered to Christian Benteke as quickly as possible. However, you can’t help but feel that the honeymoon period is over for Sherwood and that Arsenal will be a much more dominant force that the unconfident Liverpool team they faced in the final four.

Arsenal can be backed at 4/7 with Bet365

For first goal scorer, Alexis Sanchez looks great value at 11/2 also with Bet365

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa

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