FA Cup Final: Arsenal- Aston Villa
It was understandable that Villa switched off after securing EPL survival with this big final very much in mind, but a thumping at Southampton, where they were 5-1 down at the break (!) and a home loss to relegated Burnley was hardly a confidence boost and they must be a little fearful of how today could play out, especially if they were to concede early. The fact that they lost both league meetings by an aggregate 8-0 will not help, nor will the fact that the Gunners ran riot against WBA last week, ahead of which I wrote ....."The Gunners have looked a little jaded in front of goal recently and you will probably have to wait a long time before they go another three games at the Emirates without scoring, but they did manage 51 attempts on goals (17 on target) in the last two, averaging 71% possession and the likelihood is that they will not be too far away from those numbers today and I think we can expect a more positive outcome. They will be looking for some form to take into next week's FA Cup final and are under no pressure this afternoon, having now secured third place and the extra (two week ?) holiday that brings with it. Arsenal also have a fine final day record (unbeaten in nine) and have scored four goals in each of the three home games in that sequence, they have scored in all 17 EPL games against Albion, averaging over two per game and I expect normal home service to be resumed today, especially as the visitors seem almost certain to come with a FAR more positive attitude than either Swansea City or Sunderland."
That was over as a contest inside 15 minutes and Theo Walcott, who is still in contract negotiations, thrived in the central striker position with a hat-trick before the break. That was the perfect run out for the Gunners, who had very little luck in front of goal in starts leading up to that game and Arsene Wenger has a surplus of offensive options and decisions to make today and seems sure to go with a very attacking line up. Walcott Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud (scored in his last three against Villa....all before the break) ,Mesut Ozil (scored in both games versus Villa this season), Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla, are too much for most teams to handle, let alone a Villa backline that remains suspect.
On the plus side for the Villans, Tim Sherwood is a very offensive minded coach and he probably knows that Arsenal will be most vulnerable early, Hull City were two up inside nine minutes in last year's final with the Gunners and the North London side are prone to the odd first half debacle (3-0 down at Stoke at HT ). Villa have scored 71% of goals before the break, which is the wrong way round and Arsenal are incredibly strong in the 15 minutes before HT scoring an EPL high 19 goals through this period. A very attractive looking game in prospect, good chance for early action and I will suggest we go with....... "over" 1.25 goals FH betting 2.28 asian line/Sportmarket.