It seems strange to think that Arsenal might not be suited by Wembley, given they are the current FA Cup holders, but the London club haven’t impressed at the famous stadium in recent visits and might just come unstuck this time.
And Arsene Wenger is already making excuses.
Some more blah, blah, blah from the Arsenal manager.
With the FA Cup semi-finals now well established at the home of English football, this will be the Gunners’ fourth match on the hallow turf inside 12 months.
Wigan, Hull and Reading have all previously been dispatched but this year’s favourites to lift the trophy have required extra time twice, and penalties, to see-off that uncelebrated trio and Aston Villa should prove a tougher nut to crack this time around.
It was Welshman Aaron Ramsey that proved the goal-scoring hero in last year’s showpiece defeat of Hull, crowning the comeback after Arsene Wenger’s men had trailed 2-0 inside 10 minutes, and he could have a key role to play once more.
Ramsey’s goals from midfield are a feature of Arsenal’s play and Tim
Sherwood’s Aston Villa will need to watch the dynamic thrusts of Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez into the final third.
If Arsenal have a weakness it is finding a breakthrough when frustrated and Villa, often more effective away from home, are well equipped to hurt them on the counter-attack.
Since Sherwood took over in February the Villains have found their spark and they now carry a goal threat once again, so sorely lacking under Paul Lambert.
In Christian Benteke, Sherwood has one of the Premier League‘s most in-form strikers to lead the line and the Belgian was on target in the memorable, and thoroughly deserved, last four defeat of Liverpool.
Villa were underdogs that day and while they will be once more in the final, the odds underestimated their chances.
At a massive 5/1 to win the match inside 90 minutes and 5/2 to land the
silverware (both Bet 365), a punt is taken on Villa to cause a shock but they had suffered some hidings in this fixture of late and will need to rise to the occasion to prevail.