ARSENAL ON THE VERGE OF ENGLISH FA CUP HISTORY.

The FA Cup is the world’s oldest football cup competition and this year’s final will be the 134th final and will be keenly contested between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The winners of the 2015 FA Cup final will play against Chelsea, winners of the 2015 English Premier League (EPL), in the 2015 FA Community Shield, to mark the start of the 2015-2016 EPL Season.

Arsenal will be playing in a record 19th FA Cup final and they have won eleven of it, their last being the 2014 final with Hull City (now known as Hull Tigers). They share a joint record with Manchester United with most wins and if they win on Saturday, the 30th of May, 2015, they will be the team with the most FA Cup victories. This is Aston Villa’s 11th final of which they have won seven and their last being in 1957.

Arsenal met Aston Villa twice in the 2014-2015 EPL Season, both games resulting in Arsenal victories, winning 8-0 on aggregate. Arsenal started their 2014-2015 FA Cup campaign in the third round were they met and beat Hull Tigers in a repeat of last year’s final, 2-0 . In the fourth round, they drew against Brighton and Hove Albion away, a Football League Championship side and won 3-2. Arsenal met another Championship club, Middlesbrough and won 2-0. They met their arch-rivals Manchester United in the quarter finals and won 2-1. In the semi-finals at Wembley, they met Reading, a Championship side and won 2-1 after extra time.
Aston Villa also started their 2014-2015 FA Cup campaign in the 3rd round, and beat Blackpool 1-0. In the fourth round they met Bournemouth at home and won 2-1. In the fifth round they met Leicester City an EPL side and won 2-1 at the Villa Park. They then met another EPL side, West Bromwich Albion and won 2-0. During the semi-finals, they stopped Liverpool 2-1 T Wembley, to set up a date with Arsenal for the 2015 FA Cup final match.

In the last Match Day 38 of the EPL, Arsenal beat West Brom 4-1 and Aston Villa lost at home, to Burnley 1-0 in a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final. This makes Arsenal the favorites and Aston Villa, the underdogs to bookmakers. Arsenal will underrate Aston Villa at their own peril as they normally do. In the UEFA Champions League second round, Arsenal lost 3-1 at home to Monaco and beat the same team 2-0 in Monaco but this was not enough for them to go into the next round. In last season’s FA Cup final against Hull City, they were already 2-0 down before half time and they had to rally to beat Hull City 3-2 at extra time.

Mathieu Flamini says Arsenal have learnt from last season’s “nightmare” start to the FA Cup final. Saturday’s final gives Flamini a chance to lift his third FA Cup under Arsene Wenger, and he believes last season’s experience will only benefit Arsenal.

“For us to go another year to Wembley and to have the opportunity to win it again of course is a lot of pleasure,” said Flamini. “We have more experience and we have to make sure we at least try not to make the same mistakes as we did last year.We all agree it was a nightmare but we have more experience. We make sure to learn from our mistakes and not to do it again because we made it very difficult for ourselves last year. We will try to make it simpler and easier. It was a difficult situation going many years without winning a trophy for such a big club. It went well and we finally won the FA Cup. This year we have the possibility to do it again. There is less pressure this year but we really want to do well and to confirm we are a team with a lot of quality.”

For Manager Arsene Wenger, he has lavished praise on Christian Benteke and Manager Tim Sherwood on the eve of the FA Cup final. Wenger believes Benteke is one to watch this weekend while he insists Sherwood has transformed Aston Villa’s fortunes since arriving in February.

“Benteke is a player who has a massive potential. I think some of the bad fortune of Villa this season was linked with the fact that Benteke was not there. When he came back into the team, he gave a lift to everybody and of course he has a fantastic leap. He’s an intelligent player as well and he can score goals with his feet. He is fantastic in the air and can score headers against any team in the league.”

Wenger also stated that Sherwood had really helped in the renaissance of Benteke. The 2015 FA Cup Final comes up on Saturday, 30th May, 2015 by 17.30 G.M.T (5.30pm Nigerian Time).

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