Arsenal v Aston Villa preview

Date published: Friday 29th May 2015 8:36

The Gunners came from two goals down to beat Hull in extra-time last year and win their first silverware in almost a decade.

If they triumph again this weekend, they will be only the eighth side to retain the FA Cup and will become the first team to lift it 12 times.

They start as strong favourites against a Villa side appearing in their first FA Cup final since 2000.

However, Tim Sherwood’s team have already beaten three Premier League sides in the competition this year, including Liverpool in the semi-finals.

They also have the added incentive that they will qualify for the Europa League if they manage to overcome the odds and lift the trophy.

Team news

Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck due to a knee injury but otherwise should be at full strength.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy (both hamstring) and captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) are in contention after returning to training following recent injuries.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to retain his place ahead of David Ospina.

Villa keeper Shay Given should be fit to start after missing the defeat to Burnley on the final day of the season with a groin injury.

Given returned to training during the week but if he is not available, then Brad Guzan will make his first start in the competition this season.

Aly Cissokho (groin), Kieran Richardson (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) have also trained but Ciaran Clark (knee) is out while Libor Kozak remains sidelined as he continues to recover from a broken leg.

Opta stats

Aston Villa have played in the FA Cup final 10 times, winning seven. They last won the FA Cup in 1957, beating West Bromwich Albion (in the semi-finals) along the way.

This will be Arsenal’s 19th FA Cup final, a record for any team, and have won a joint-high 11 FA Cup finals.

Only George Ramsay (six with Aston Villa) has won the FA Cup as a manager more times than Arsene Wenger (five).

One each of the last three times Arsenal have faced second tier opposition in the semi-final, they have gone on to win the trophy (1998, 2003 and 2014).

The last FA Cup meeting between these two sides came in 2012, when Villa led 2-0 at half-time only to see the Gunners overturn the deficit in a seven-minute period in the second half to record a 3-2 win.

Arsenal have won 22 and lost just three of the last 34 matches in all competitions against Aston Villa (W22 D9 L3). All three of those defeats came at the Emirates.

All eight FA Cup finals at the new Wembley have been won by a one-goal margin.

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