Arsenal Take the Record for FA Cup Victories.
In a week when the worst of football was exposed, with seven FIFA officials being arrested for bribery and corruption and the corrupt President being re-elected, practically unopposed, Arsenal showed at Wembley why football is the world’s most popular sport and known as the Beautiful Game.
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Much had been made of Aston Villa’s resurgence under Tim Sherwood, who managed to avoid relegation (just) and took them all the way to the FA Cup final, beating Liverpool with a spectacular come back in the semi-final.
Some Arsenal fans were worried, despite Arsenal having beaten Villa twice in the Premier League, with an aggregate score of 8-0.
They need not have concerned themselves. Arsenal dominated from the kick off and the only surprise was, that approaching half time, no one had troubled the scoreboard. Villa goalkeeper Shay Given made a great save from a Laurent Koscielny header, and Kieran Richardson blocked crucially from a close range Theo Walcott shot, as he looked certain to score.
But just as the Villa faithful thought they could take solace at half time, in the fact that they had held out, despite the barrage of Arsenal attacks, Walcott paid off Wenger’s faith in starting him ahead of Olivier Giroud. A Nacho Monreal cross from the left was headed down by Alexis Sanchez and Theo drove it into the goal from just outside the six yard box.
Before Villa had a chance to settle into the second half, Alexis Sanchez doubled the deficit, with one of the most spectacular goals ever seen in an FA Cup final. While Sanchez dribbled in front of the Villa defence, Monreal made a break down the left that split the back four, Sanchez saw the gap open up and hit a thundering, swaying and swerving 30 yard shot that left Given flaying and went in after clipping the underside of the bar.
As good as Sanchez and Monreal had been, there was not one Arsenal player that was having a less than magnificent game. Ramsey, Özil, Cazorla and Coquelin totally dominated the midfield.
In the few opportunities that Villa had, Arsenal defended well all over the pitch. The perceived threat of Christian Benteke, that Aston Villa‘s Ashley Westwood said Arsenal’s players will be having “sleepless nights” over, earlier in the week, was snuffed out by Mertesacker, Koscielny and Szczesny. The Arsenal goalkeeper was full of confidence and commanded his box, showing none of the poor decision making that he sometimes lapses into.
Not to be outdone at the other end of the pitch, the Arsenal skipper got on the score sheet, heading in a cross from the right to deepen Villa’s misery.
What a year the German, Arsenal duo of Mertesacker and Özil have had! In marginally over 12 months they have won the World Cup and two FA Cups.
The attacking stars who warmed the bench, were all given a run and Jack Wilshere did everything he could to make an impact, but did not manage to add to his goal of the season that he scored on the final weekend of the Premier League.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain assisted in the final goal.
Despite being left on the bench at the start, Olivier Giroud came on to do what he does best and with almost the last kick of the game, scored his 19th goal in a season where he spent almost 3 months out with a broken leg.
The celebrations were huge and the much maligned Arsenal coach once again justified his existence, by taking Arsenal to an all time record 12th FA Cup win and the 6th of his tenure.
So the English domestic season is over and Arsenal have everything to look forward to in the next. Bring on the rumour season.
By Max Power