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Arsenal v Aston Villa, FA Cup final preview


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When does the match take place?

The FA Cup final kicks off at 17.30 on Saturday May 30 at Wembley.

Team news

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will miss Saturday’s FA Cup final with Aston Villa after failing to recover from a knee injury.

Manager Arsene Wenger has a number of selection decisions, such as whether to field goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and forward Theo Walcott from the start.

• Arsenal in the FA Cup: all 18 finals revisited

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy (both hamstring) and captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) are in contention after returning to training following recent injuries.

Provisional squad: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud, Szczesny, Gabriel, Monreal, Debuchy, Coquelin, Cazorla, Rosicky, Flamini, Arteta.

Shay Given is set to be fit for Aston Villa’s first FA Cup final in 15 years after returning to training following a groin injury.

The goalkeeper was a doubt after missing the Barclays Premier League finale as Villa lost 1-0 to Burnley on Sunday but could return against Arsenal at Wembley.

Aly Cissokho (groin), Kieran Richardson (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) have also trained but Ciaran Clark (knee) is out while Libor Kozak remains sidelined as he continues to recover from a broken leg.

Provisional squad: Guzan, Given, Lowton, Hutton, Senderos, Bacuna, Vlaar, Okore, Baker, Richardson, Cissokho, Delph, Cleverley, Westwood, Grealish, Cole, Sanchez, Gil, Sinclair, N’Zogbia, Benteke, Weimann, Agbonlahor.

Betting odds

Arsenal to win: 4/7

Draw: 17/5

Aston Villa to win: 6/1

Three reasons Arsenal will win

1
Arsenal have won on their last four visits to Wembley, and can draw strength from last season’s FA Cup final victory against Hull.
2
They relocated their scoring boots in the 4-1 win against West Brom, with Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil all looking irresistible.
3
Arsene Wenger’s team have won the last three meetings between the sides.

Three reasons Aston Villa will win

4
Villa beat Arsenal at the Emirates in August 2013 with a counter-attacking style – they’ll look to copy the blueprint on Saturday knowing they have the pace to hurt Arsenal on the break.
5
Christian Benteke has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games, and got three goals against Arsenal last season.
6
Wenger is likely to keep faith with Olivier Giroud, despite Walcott scoring a hat-trick against West Brom and the Frenchman going eight goals without a game.

Arsenal’s key player: Alexis Sanchez

Has the ability to produce magical moments out of nothing, and scored twice in the semi-final against Reading.

Aston Villa’s key player: Christian Benteke

Enjoys playing against Arsenal and possesses the strength and pace to unsettle Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

One intriguing stat…

Arsenal have won the two matches between the sides this season by an aggregate score of 8-0.

Our prediction:

Arsenal to narrowly win 1-0.

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