Arsenal rout Aston Villa to win FA Cup

Martyn Thomas 22:33 30/05/2015
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  • Theo Walcott opened the scoring for Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

    Making history isn’t supposed to be this easy, especially when Arsenal and Wembley are involved. The Gunners had been taken to extra-time in each of their last three FA Cup visits to the famous stadium, yet dominated Aston Villa from start to finish, cantering to a record 12th success in world football’s oldest cup competition.

    Villa had arrived with much bluster, but were blown away as Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez took centre stage.

    The latter two provided the opening goals, coming in a 10-minute spell either side of half-time, while Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud put the seal on a miserable day to be a Villain.

    Tim Sherwood’s side were as woeful as they had been brilliant in their semi-final here against Liverpool, and could do little to stop the Gunners retaining their crown.

    Arsene Wenger must now hope his side can use the momentum gained in their recent trips to Wembley to mount a prolonged fight for the Premier League title next season.

    Arsenal deservedly led at the break, with Walcott repaying Wenger’s faith with a clinical finish as he arrived late to meet Sanchez’s knock down with five minutes of the half to go.

    But in truth the Gunners could well have been further out of sight following 45 minutes of football in which the Villa goal led a charmed existence.

    As early as the 15th minute Shay Given produced a strong wrist to deny a powerful Laurent Koscielny header, while less than 120 seconds later, Aaron Ramsey stabbed wide at the near post.

    Villa simply had no answer to the pace and movement of Arsenal’s front four, and with Cazorla pulling the strings behind them, chances continued to materialise.

    Indeed, Ramsey fired over from inside the box before Kieran Richardson was called into action to block a Walcott effort yards from his own line.

    And just as it looked as though the Gunners might pay for their profligacy, Walcott struck, with the England forward starting and finishing a flowing move.

    It was no more than they deserved, and left Villa coach Sherwood searching for answers. 

    His side had created almost nothing in the first half, with Wojciech Szczesny dealing confidently with crosses into the Arsenal area, and both Gunners full-backs coping with the physical threat of Christian Benteke when the Belgian international pulled wide.

    Something needed to change drastically for Villa in the second half, but within five minutes of the restart they found themselves two goals down as Sanchez showed his class.

    The Chilean has been Arsenal’s star performer this season and put the game to bed when he rifled in a shot from 25 yards that left Given flapping.

    Arsenal had the ball in the back of the net for a third time five minutes later, but the offside flag had already gone up against Walcott before Sanchez headed home his rebound.

    Given had produced a brilliant point-blank save to deny the England man, before the flag was raised, and must have been cursing Sherwood’s decision to start him as the Gunners attacks continued to rain down on his goal.

    Indeed, having raced from his goal to stop Walcott, there was nothing he could do as Mertesacker lost Benteke to head home Arsenal’s third.

    Villa had two late penalty appeals turned down but both were tight, and neither would have changed the game’s complexion. Instead, Giroud added a fourth as Arsenal celebrated making history in style.

    Player Ratings:-

    Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny 7; Bellerin 7, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 7, Monreal 7; Coquelin 7, Cazorla 9; Ramsey 7, Ozil 8, Sanchez 9; Walcott 8

    Subs: Giroud for Walcott (77’), Wilshere for Ozil (77’), Oxlade-Chamberlain for Sanchez (90’)

    Aston Villa (4-3-3): Given 6; Hutton 5, Vlaar 6, Okore 4, Richardson 6; Westwood 5, Delph 6, Cleverly 5; Grealish 5, N’Zogbia 5, Benteke 4

    Subs: Agbonlahor for N’Zogbia (53’, 6), Bacuna for Richardson (68’, 5), Sanchez for Westwood (71’, 5)

    Ref: Jon Moss

    Att: 89,283