6 out of 7. That is Arsene Wenger’s record in FA Cup finals after the 4-0 win over Aston Villa. In fairness it should have been 7 out of 7. In fairness Stephane Henchoz should have been sent off. In fairness a penalty should have been awarded to Arsenal in Cardiff that night. But then not everything in football can be classified fair, and the Michael Owen final remains the only blot on an otherwise sparkling white FA Cup CV of Arsene Wenger. But all that’s for another day. This one is reserved for Arsenal’s record 12th FA Cup and the crowning of Arsene Wenger as legend.

The final was only 2 minutes old, when Okore put brakes to a Theo Walcott sprint and then Westwood would bring down Alexis Sanchez to hand Arsenal a free kick. This laid down a marker, as Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez conjured multiple opportunities to break the deadlock, and fittingly were the ones to combine for the much awaited first goal of the game. Monreal’s cross would find a rising Alexis in the box, whose knock down fell to the onrushing Walcott who slammed home with his left. Beautiful technique and finish. Exactly the words you would use for the second goal of the game.

Alexis Sanchez received the ball near the edge of the box turned left, where Monreal made a decoy run, then shifted to his right and let fly a rocket, that swirled and dipped right past the Villa keeper into the net. 17 years since his last FA Cup final against the same opponents, Shay Given was left red faced again. Aston Villa had no response. And no shot on target either, underlining their inferiority in what was one of the most one sided finals in recent memory.


Tim Sherwood’s decision to leave Agbonlahor for the semi final hero N’zogbia seemed a failed ploy as Christian Benteke was almost a good 15 yards away from every other Villa player in most of the Villa attacks. Koscielny and Mertesacker dealt well with the Belgian. Benteke though didn’t deal with Mertesacker all that well in the 61st minute when the German headed home Arsenal’s third, effectively sealing the win as the ball tip toed into the net.

Arsenal v Aston Villa

Cazorla, who fed Per, was at his wriggly best on the night. The Spaniard combined excellently with Ramsey and Ozil, both playing peripheral supporting cast roles, as well as with Alexis cutting down Aston Villa to ribbons at will. And most of the good work would start with nicking the ball of a Villa player. The hassling and pressing by the Arsenal players throughout the game, meant Aston Villa never found a rhythm and were outdone not just technically but also physically. Of course Tim Sherwood would take notice. “Arsenal didn’t let us play well” he would quip after the game, a fair assessment you would say.

Arsene Wenger on the other hand gleamed proudly after overseeing the most dominant cup final performance during his tenure at the club. The difference in quality was all too visible after the 3rd goal and if not for the on-field celebration of sorts that ensued thereafter, the scoreline could have been much more embarrassing for the Villains.

The 2 Arsenal substitutes Chamberlain and Giroud combined to add a 4th, putting the final nail in Villa’s coffin who started the day hoping to become joint 3rd in the list of all time FA cup winners. Instead they remain joint 4th with 7 while Arsenal sit on top of the pack with 12. To put things into context, Arsenal hadn’t even reached an FA Cup final by the time George Ramsey bagged his half a dozen with Villa. Now Arsene Wenger joins him with his own 6, half of Arsenal’s quota to his own name.

Arsenal v Aston Villa

To say the Frenchman has turned a corner would be an understatement. Tim Sherwood turned a corner himself since taking the Villa hotseat. Survival with 3 games to play and an unforeseen run to the FA Cup final with a side that seemed hopeless just 3 months back, deserves a lot of credit. Unfortunately for him Arsene Wenger deserves a little more.
An almost perfect starting eleven, spot-on tactics and motivating the players to rise to the occasion, Wenger ticked all the boxes. Just like his summer signing Alexis Sanchez, who is slowly but steadily starting to typify this Arsenal team. Hungry, ferocious and fierce with the perfectly weighed flavors of technique. Right from Bellerin to Coquelin to Walcott, the desire to win and secure the trophy showed and how.

There were no nerves of the 2014 final, no insecurities and definitely no self-doubts. Those were settled last year. The assurance last year’s win had brought in was visible through out the cup run which not for once looked in jeopardy unlike last year’s jittery run. Except for the one odd moment when Pogrebnyak wasted a 2 on 1 opportunity in the semis. Fine margins those.

Not in the final however. Dominating and swashbuckling this time around, Arsenal probably can’t wait for the next season to start. Make a couple of quality summer signings and maybe finally push for the league? Again, that’s for another day. This day is for Arsenal and their legendary manager, who couldn’t hide his happiness. “A perfect day” he said shining in new found glory.