The general consensus surrounding the 2014/15 FA Cup final is that Arsenal’s name is on it, should the favourites play to their capabilities against underdogs Aston Villa.
Being a cup final though, nothing will be taken for granted, especially in light of Hull’s race into a two-goal lead 12 months ago when Arsenal had to summon all powers of recovery to eventually win out in extra-time.
In news.ladbrokes tradition, we’ve gone all 90s card game with a more detailed breakdown of the two sides’ chances to pick our FA Cup winner Top Trumps style.
Form: Arsenal (WLDDW) 6 / Villa (LWWLL) 3
The old cliché stipulates that form flies out of the window in showpiece games. This a great thing for fans of both sides and neutrals watching on too. Villa lost both their last two Premier League matches, getting roundly thumped 6-1 by Southampton in their penultimate fixture. Arsenal did at least finish with a flourish against West Brom, winning 4-1, but that followed successive draws and a loss.
Defence: Arsenal 8 / Villa 2
The third best defence in the Premier League over 38 games plays statistically the third worst and no prizes for guessing which way round this is. Over two fixtures this season, albeit before the Tim Sherwood renaissance, Arsenal put eight past their Wembley opponents, conceding none.
Star Man: Arsenal 9 (Alexis Sanchez) / Villa 8 (Christian Benteke)
Arsenal’s marquee signing from Barcelona has taken the English game by storm in his debut season on these shores. The diminutive, yet sinewy Chilean forward, has it all; power, pace, trickery, not to mention 24 goals. Meanwhile, Liverpool target Benteke’s return to his blistering best has coincided with Sherwood’s appointment, where the Belgian has notched 12 in his last 13 Villa appearances.
Attack: Arsenal 9 / Villa 3
Although Villa have Benteke in wondrous form, they’ve struggled for goals all season, finishing second from bottom in the goals-for column in the league. In stark contrast, Arsene Wenger’s side is blessed with arguably the finest array of attackers in the country, who can tear any team to shreds on their day.
Coaches: Arsenal 10 / Villa 5
With such a vast disparity in experience it’s really hard to gauge this accurately, but Wenger’s record in this competition speaks volumes about his standing in the game. The Frenchman is hunting a sixth FA Cup trohpy and a second in swift succession. Sherwood has shown a knack for gaining results even at this embryonic stage of his managerial career, but he’s merely a puppy compared to the big dog in the opposite dugout.
Totals: Arsenal 42/50 / Villa 21/50
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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