Sadly for the fervent claret and blue faithful, the wait for another trip to Wembley’s Royal Box to lift the FA Cup continues, as the Gunners cruised to victory against a jaded Villa side.
The Gunners’ dominance was clear from the outset, with Sanchez allowed to continually pull wide and exchange passes with Ozil and Cazorla.
Under constant threat, Given looked agile and did well to make an gymnastic leap to deny Koscielny after fifteen minutes.
Two minutes later, a battling Bellerin gave Ramsey the chance to open the scoring but the midfielder struck the ball into the side netting, fooling yellow sections of the crowd into thinking he’d hit home.
Sanchez continued to pose problems and Ramsey then headed over the bar from the Chilean’s cross after twenty minutes.
After twenty-four minutes, Walcott was denied by Richardson’s superb block and it seemed only a matter of time until the Gunners took the lead.
Ramsey proved wasteful once more in the twenty-eighth minute when he was only able to fire the ball into Given’s hands.
Although the Villans enjoyed a brief period of possession around the half hour mark, the Gunners continued to attack in waves. However, they had no joy until the thirty-ninth minute when Monreal clipped a cross into the area, which a spry Sanchez battled with Vlaar in the air for. As it landed just outside the six-yard box, Walcott, last weekend’s hat-trick hero, was on hand to rifle home left-footed to give his side a deserved lead with his seventh goal in his seventh start for Arsenal this season.
With the Villans having failed to register a single shot on target, many expected young Grealish or the ineffective N’Zogbia to be substituted at the break but there were no changes for either side.
It didn’t take the Gunners long to get back into their stride, as Ramsey tried to catch Given out in the forty-seventh minute but could only scuff his shot.
Five minutes later, the Londoners had doubled their lead, courtesy of Sanchez as he beat Given with an impressive shot into the roof of the net.
Trying to bring his somnambulant side to life, Sherwood replaced N’Zogbia, who had enjoyed all of twelve touches in his fifty-two minutes on the hallowed Wembley turf, with Agbonlahor, hoping the Villa veteran could offer some support to the isolated Benteke.
The Gunners’ salvo continued regardless and Given’s agility denied Walcott just before the hour mark. Sanchez then nodded in the rebound, unaware that the whistle had gone for offside.
Four minutes later, there was no doubt which ribbons would be tied to the FA Cup, as Mertesacker headed home all too easily from a Cazorla corner after Benteke lost the German.
Bacuna, a man many believed should have started the showpiece, replaced the injured Richardson after sixty-eight minutes while Sanchez entered the fray in place of Westwood two minutes later.
With the Villans killing time until they could collect their runners-up medals, Coquelin jostled Agbonlahor on the edge of the box with ten minutes to go. It certainly looked like the Arsenal midfielder’s manhandling of Agbonlahor should have led to a penalty but Moss seemed adamant to give the Villa fans nothing to cheer about and waved play on.
Six minutes later, Sherwood was incensed when Moss failed to award a penalty after Grealish was dragged down in the area.
In injury time, the Gunners wrapped up the rout thanks to substitute Giroud, who converted fellow substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low cross at the near post.
That was it: the Gunners had won the FA Cup for a record twelfth time and Wenger for his sixth, making him the joint most successful manager in FA Cup history and leaving the mis-matched Villans thoroughly embarrassed.