Arsenal v Aston Villa – FA Cup Final Wembley Stadium at 17:30 live on BBC 1

Arsenal are aiming to become the most successful club in the 144 year history of the FA Cup this Saturday as they take on Aston Villa in this years Final at Wembley. Arsene Wenger is gunning for his 6th FA Cup trophy and Arsenal’s 12th in total to put them one ahead of Man Utd on 11.

Standing in their way is Tim Sherwood’s Villa, who haven’t won the trophy in 58 years and with just one FA Cup final since their last win, this will be a massive occasion for the Villains.

With Sherwood promising to go toe to toe with the Gunners, we could be in for a very entertaining final, with some decent opportunities for Asian Handicap betting punters.

In terms of entertainment, this years final has a lot to live up to after last season when Arsenal defeated Hull after going 2-0 within 8 minutes, to win the trophy thanks to an Aaron Ramsey extra time winner. Their first trophy in 9 years.

Arsenal’s route to the final this year has been similar to last season, struggling against Championship opposition to meet a Premier League side who narrowly avoided relegation in the final. Brighton provided a tough test in the 3rd round before an uninspiring 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd at Old Trafford in the quarter final was an important victory for Arsenal having not win there in 9 years in all competitions but went on to struggle against Reading in the semi final. The Gunners needed extra time against the Royal’s after another below par performance at Wembley.

In contrast, Aston Villa have had a more difficult route on paper to the final. Firstly knocking out Bournemouth who were recently promoted to the Premier League, then defeating 3 BPL sides, Leicester, a derby against WBA and Liverpool in the semis. Their impressive 2-1 win over Liverpool, which spoiled Steven Gerrard’s birthday goodbye in the final at Wembley, has got to be Tim Sherwood’s high point as manager since he took over from Paul Lambert in February.

The former Spurs caretaker manager fulfilled his brief by avoiding relegation but with 2 losses in their last 2 league games, including a 6-1 humiliation to Southampton, Sherwood must refocus his side as they face a team who finished 14 places and 37 points better off than them in the league.

Arsenal avoided the Champions League preliminary stages after securing 3rd and back to back FA Cup wins will be seen as a fairly successful season but everyone is waiting for the Gunners to push on and make a real challenge for the title and the UCL. Arsenal’s progress is questioned after every match and defeat to Villa will not only be a loss of another potential trophy but it would define their mood going into the summer and the beginning of next season. A victory, possibly a convincing one at that, is what is needed to prove they have progressed and with a few additions over the close season, they can be serious challengers for next years league title.

I expect Villa to come into the match with the same approach as their semi final against Liverpool and put Arsenal under pressure early. Arsenal are notoriously slow starters in big matches and the Villains will be looking to take the lead. Under Sherwood, Villa have improved massively going forward and with Benteke in top form, he can cause a problem for the North Londoners at the back. Sherwood’s brave approach has been successful but they still lack solidity at the back.

Arsenal a rightly short favourites with their record in the competition and having beaten Villa 3-0 and 5-0 in the league this season. They are by far the better side and I expect them to win within 90 minutes. You can back the Gunners -1 at 1.88, which Arsenal are more than capable of covering on their day. I’m not 100% confident though they will win by 2 goals to see a return but I’d rather back Arsenal than Villa +1 as I don’t seem them getting a draw.

My recommendation for the final is on the Over/Under market as I think there will be goals. With Villa expected to attack and Arsenal’s ability going forward, combined with each sides defences proneness to concede, Over 2.5 at 1.93 looks to me like the value bet.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 Goals at 1.93

Prices correct at time of writing.

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