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FA Cup Final: Arsenal v Aston Villa, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
The FA Cup Final is almost upon us with Arsenal looking to try and retain the trophy when we face Aston Villa at Wembley tomorrow evening.
We made life extremely difficult for ourselves in last season’s final after having to come from two goals down to eventually beat Hull 3-2 in extra-time thanks to a goal from Aaron Ramsey.
I’m not sure I can go through that again so hopefully the lads have learned their lesson and will start the game in a more positive manner on Saturday.
We finished off the Premier League campaign with an impressive 4-1 win over West Brom last weekend and the opening 45 minutes were as good as I’ve seen us this season. Another performance like that against Villa and we’ll blow them away.
We’re strong favourites to lift our 12th FA Cup – which would be a record and put us one clear of Man Utd – but Villa are a dangerous side so we can’t take anything for granted. We nearly made that mistake against Hull last year after all.
Our form at the new Wembley could be something to worry about. We struggled against Wigan in the semi’s last year, needing penalties to progress, and of course needed extra time to beat Hull in the final.
We also made hard work of Reading in this years semi-final, where we needed a late mistake from their goalkeeper to sneak through 2-1, so it’s about time the boys put in a performance at the ‘Home of Football’.
Danny Welbeck has been ruled out after failing to recover from a knee injury but otherwise the squad is in good health.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in contention after making his comeback with a late cameo off the bench last week, but I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll start tomorrow.
The same goes for Mathieu Debuchy – who’s recovered from a hamstring injury – but I expect Hector Bellerin to keep his place at right-back.
As for Villa, Shay Given is expected to be fit to start in goal while Aly Cissokho, Kieran Richardson and Jores Okore all trained this week but Ciaran Clark and Libor Kozak remain out.
Arsene has big decisions to make all over the pitch so it’s going to be interesting to see who he goes for but I hope he sticks with Szczesny in goal. He kept faith with Fabianski in last years final so he should do likewise with our No.2 this time around.
I’d also go with Gibbs ahead of Monreal at left-back while Cazorla should keep his place ahead of Wilshere in the middle of the park. Jack was excellent against West Brom but he’s only recently returned from injury so still isn’t 100%, so I’d use him as an impact sub.
The other huge decision is whether Theo Walcott keeps his place but I don’t think we can leave him out after he scored a hat-trick last week.
So this is the side I’d go with:
Villa are a dangerous side who have caused us plenty of problems in recent years as they are quick on the counter-attack – which has been our Achilles-heel more times than I care to remember.
However, if we apply ourselves, keep things tight at the back and play our football we should have too much firepower for the Villains to handle. I’m going for a 2-1 win, but it won’t be easy.
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa