Arsenal retained the FA Cup in majestic style as their 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa in Saturday’s final made history for the Gunners and their manager Arsene Wenger.
Wenger’s side swept Villa aside with a swashbuckling display sparked by Theo Walcott’s first half opener and illuminated by a sublime strike from Alexis Sanchez to double their lead after the interval.
Per Mertesacker and substitute Olivier Giroud also got on the scoresheet for the rampant north Londoners to seal Arsenal’s second trophy in 12 months with the biggest margin of victory in an FA Cup final since 1994.
It was a suitably memorable performance on a historic day which saw Wenger become the first manager in the post-War period to win the competition six times, a tally matched by only George Ramsey, who won the last of his with Villa in 1920.
There was another significant slice of history for Arsenal as they lifted the famous old trophy for the 12th time, moving them ahead of Manchester United as the most successful club in the competition.
Wenger insisted this week that he doesn’t know where he keeps his medals, but he now has a ninth major honour of his 19-year reign at Arsenal to add to the collection.
“I am very proud. Our club is doing well and if I can personally do well then it’s even better,” Wenger said of his historic landmark.
“We have shown that we are a real team and can deal with pressure. I congratulate the players, the staff and the fans. We are so happy.”
Arsenal had conceded twice in a disastrous opening eight minutes against Hull in last year’s final.
But there was no sign of such a fraught start this time as Arsenal quickly established their smooth passing rhythm to pen Villa deep inside their own half.
Sanchez was at the heart of all their best moments and he worked space to clip a cross towards Laurent Koscielny, whose header forced a fine one-handed save from Shay Given.
Aaron Ramsey should have scored when a fortunate deflection presented him with a clear sight of goal just inside the penalty area, yet the Arsenal midfielder couldn’t hit the target with a rushed effort.
Villa, appearing in their first FA Cup final since 2000, seemed completely bewildered by the speed and movement of Arsenal’s attacks.
They were prised open when Mesut Ozil’s ball in the six-yard box was met by Walcott with a lunging volley that looked goalbound until Kieran Richardson threw himself into a last-ditch block.
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