It’s been twelve months since Arsenal ended their nine-year trophy drought, quelling the concerns of fans worldwide.
Former Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen lifted the 2014 FA Cup trophy in May of last year.
This season, Arsenal finished third in the Premier league, one rung better than last season, and have qualified for an automatic Champions League placing.
With Tim Sherwood’s appointment as manager, Aston Villa have veered out of the relegation zone, finishing 17th this season. In-form striker Christian Benteke has been a key figure in their side’s current resurgence.
After a 6-1 drubbing by Southampton and a home defeat against Burnley, Aston Villa will have nothing to lose as they face Arsenal at Wembley. They will go all out to satisfy their fans after a dismal season in the Premier League.
Eleven-times winners Arsenal are looking to break the record for most FA Cups held, an honour they currently share with Manchester United.
In-form players Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla will be looking to add that creative spark to the midfield while Francis Coquelin will try to intercept and recover the ball should any of them make a mistake. Theo Walcott might be unleashed as a super-sub at the latter stages of the game, after a convincing first half hat-trick against West Brom on Sunday.
Villa will look to hit them on the counter with the pace of Christian Benteke and rising star Jack Grealish and will seek for revenge after that 5-0 capitulation against Arsenal in the league in January. After scoring the goal that knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup, Fabian Delph will be looking to play his part after a string of consistent performances.
Arsenal fans will be happy if the Gunners are able to win their second major trophy in consecutive years after being branded a major club not challenging for titles in the past decade. Aston Villa will be hoping to spoil their party though, as they themselves seek to provide some joy to their supporters after a disappointing season.
It will be a tremendous game, as both clubs seek to prove a point. But Arsenal should take this 2-1.
ARSENAL’S LIKELY STARTING LINE-UP:
Szczesny, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck
ASTON VILLA’S LIKELY STARTING LINE-UP:
Given, Richardson, Vlaar, Okore, Bacuna, Westwood, Cleverly, Delph, N’Zogbia, Grealish, Benteke
Subs: Guzan, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Senderos, Cole, Hutton, Sanchez