Highlights: Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa; Gunners lift their 12th FA Cup
Arsenal defended their FA Cup crown with a relatively easy 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Wembley. Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud got the goals for the Gunners on a night where they were completely dominant.
Manager Arsene Wenger made a brave decision to drop Olivier Giroud and start Theo Walcott up top whereas Wenger’s counterpart Tim Sherwood benched Gabby Agbonlahor with star striker Christian Benteke leading the line.
The Londoners started the match on a bright note pushing Villa back from the start. Villa had Shay Given to thank, who kept the scoreline on level terms for the first half an hour with a plethora of saves.
However, in the 40th minute, Theo Walcott smashed home the opener with a left-footed volley from inside the box which beat Given on his near post. It was no less than what Arsenal deserved for their dominance on the pitch in the first half.
The second half saw a similar start to the first 45 as Arsenal kept on applying the pressure. Sanchez’s blistering strike from outside the area gave the Londoners a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute. The Chilean’s shot swerved away from Given at the end and went in off the crossbar.
That goal just seemed to knock the wind out off the Villa sails. From a corner, Mertesacker made the most of Benteke’s poor defending as he headed the ball in from 6 yards out 12 minutes after Sanchez’s goal.
With the match virtually sealed off, Wenger took off Walcott, while Sherwood tried a comeback by bringing on Agbonlahor. The Englishman almost had an instant impact as he was brought down by Francis Coquelin, but referee Jon Moss waved away the penalty claims from Villa players and supporters. At the packed Wembley, Villa were denied another penalty at the end when Hector Bellerin seemed to have pulled Jack Grealish on the ground.
Before the referee could blow the final whistle, substitute Giroud rounded off the scoring with a clever backheel in the 93rd minute. Arsenal were celebrating their record 12th FA Cup title after the full-time whistle, which is also Wenger’s 6th.