All eyes will be on the Red and White outfit come 30th of May as Arsenal lock horns with Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa in this year’s FA Cup final at Wembley. It was only last year that the North London side lifted the cup to end their decade of misery as they again find themselves favorites going into this year’s final as well. Last year’s success gave the Gunner’s their 11th FA Cup success and a win on the 30th would take their tally of winning the trophy for the 12th time, the highest ever and 1 better off Manchester United.
The season of 2014/15 saw the Gunner’s fail to mount a serious challenge for the league title again, something which they had last won famously (read Invincibles) in 2003/04. This season very much like the ones before has been a roller coaster ride for the North London side with hopes and ambitions at the start and failure and disappointment in the end. But on the brighter side of things, the Gunners have found themselves back on track in terms of winning trophies and a 12th FA Cup success will surely bring a sigh of relief around the Emirates as they might have something to finally boast about.
Arsenal and its association with the FA Cup
Before last season’s FA Cup success over Hull City in the final, Arsenal had won the FA Cup back in 2004/05, which was their last trophy in over a decade. The Gunners first FA Cup trophy came way back in 1930. There have been many dramatic encounters in the club’s history as finalists. Some memorable encounters were 1998 final where Nicolas Anelka celebrated his goal only to find all his teammates move back to their own half instead of being elated.
The 2002 final where Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea 2-0, the famous incident when Ray Parlour collected the ball inside the Chelsea half and made a beeline for the edge of the penalty area. “It’s alright, it’s only Ray Parlour,” Lovejoy had said. Seconds later, Parlour had unleashed a 25-yard shot which flew into the top corner.
The 2004-05 win was also one of the finals to be remembered as the Gunners kept quite a dominant Manchester United side and eventually won it all on penalties thanks to some wonder keeping by then goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. Even last season’s final saw Arsenal beat Hull City by coming back from a 2-0 deficit, to win it 3-2 in extra time courtesy Aaron Ramsey’s goal. There have been many scorers for Arsenal in the FA Cup. The likes of Anelka, Bergkamp, Henry, Ray Parlour are all worth mentioning. Arsenal’s current striker Olivier Giroud loves to score in Cup encounters and would surely love a goal or two in the final to keep his name on the history pages.
Arsenal in FA Cup
Wins: 11 (Tied with Manchester United for the record most number of FA Cup titles)
Total final appearances: 18
First win: 1930
League and Cup double: 3 times (1971, 1998, 2002)
– Arsenal became the first Premier League team to hold both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup at a point of time (in 1993)
– West Ham United defeating Arsenal to win the FA Cup in 1980 is the most recent occasion where a team not playing the top flight league went on to win the cup.
– Ashley Cole holds the record for most number of FA Cup winners medal (7).
Can Arsenal add yet another FA Cup trophy to their name?
Surely, the Gunners are the favorites coming into the final, but if recent form is to be kept in mind then Arsenal have been a bit patchy. They have failed to score in their last three games at home and losing 1-0 to Swansea in the process. On the other hand, the resurgence of Aston Villa under newly appointed manager Tim Sherwood has been ecstatic. The likes of Christian Benteke have finally hit the ground running after a dismal start to the season, which threatened relegation. But, not to forget the fact that the Gunners have lost only twice since the start of the year and have beaten the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, and Manchester City. On their day the Gunners are capable of overthrowing any opponent they face. Although it remains to be seen what happens on the 30th.
Only time will tell whether Arsenal can finish off their opponents early or will everyone see a disappointing result. Arsenal surely is a team to watch out for and a win in Wembley will roar out a statement to all the other teams around them that they are up and running and gunning for glory.
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