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Match Analysis: Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Arsenal's 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley.

Arsenal retained the FA Cup and clinched a record 12th title in the competition courtesy of a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley this afternoon.

The Gunners took the lead through Theo Walcott's well-struck volley five minutes before half time, and Alexis Sanchez doubled that advantage shortly after the restart with a stunning long-range effort.

A third arrived shortly after the hour mark from Per Mertesacker, while Olivier Giroud came off the bench to add a fourth deep into injury time.

Here, Sports Mole looks at whether Arsenal deserved to run out such convincing winners.

Match statistics

ARSENAL
Shots: 16
On target: 9
Possession: 58%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 9

ASTON VILLA
Shots: 2
On target: 0
Possession: 42%
Corners: 0
Fouls: 15

Was the result fair?

Absolutely. Not only did Arsenal deserve to lift the trophy today, but they also deserved to win by such an emphatic margin. The Gunners were comfortably the best side on the pitch from start to finish and, in truth, Villa are fortunate that things did not get even more embarrassing. Arsenal probably should have been three or four up at the break, with Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey all having clear chances on goal.

It was not exactly one-way traffic for Arsene Wenger's side in the first half, but they were in control and looked dangerous every time they came forward. Villa began the match trying to play at a quick tempo, but they were not allowed to get into any sort of rhythm. While the Gunners were constantly on the move and causing the Villa defence countless problems in the final third, Tim Sherwood's side never once looked like scoring throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Simply put, the statistics paint an accurate picture of how this match went. Villa failed to have a single corner or shot on target, and only had two efforts overall. Compare that to Arsenal's 16 shots, nine on target and eight corners, and you should get some idea of just how dominant they were today. All of the Gunners' big players turned up this afternoon, but Villa's game-changers were nowhere to be seen. It was one of the most one-sided FA Cup finals in recent years.

Arsenal's performance

When Arsenal are at their best, there are few teams that can live with them. That was very much the case this afternoon, with Wenger's side putting in one of their most impressive performances of the season to simply blow Villa away. The entire midfield - in particular Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil - were magnificent as the Gunners ran the show from start to finish. They somehow had to wait until the 40th minute to get the opener, but from that point on there seemed no way back for Villa.

Sanchez's stunner will go down as one of the great FA Cup final goals and, if that did not kill Villa off, Mertesacker's free header 12 minutes later certainly did. Arsenal took their foot off the pedal a little after that, but still managed to add a late fourth through Giroud, who ended his eight-match goal drought to cap off a perfect day for his side. It was one of the best team performances in the recent history of the FA Cup final, and but for a host of other missed chances it could have been the most convincing FA Cup final victory ever.

It was an irresistible display and the type that makes people wonder just why this side were not able to muster a title challenge this season. They will get a lot of praise for this performance, and rightly so, but there is a danger that such an impressive display could lead some into thinking that only minor changes are needed this summer. All of that is to come, however, and for now Wenger and his players will want to enjoy creating history in this competition, and doing it in style. It is 12 trophies for the club and six for Wenger - no-one has won more on either count.

Aston Villa's performance

Having not won the FA Cup for 58 years and not even reached the final since 2000, today was one of the biggest days in the recent history of Aston Villa. They were expected to give it a good go and be up for the fight with Sherwood at the helm, but that never materialised. Whether the occasion got to them or not, only the Villa players will know, but a number of their key men simply did not show up today. Christian Benteke got very little joy up front, Fabian Delph tried to lead by example in midfield but made too many mistakes in possession and Jack Grealish, so influential in the semi-final, was nowhere to be seen.

It was a hugely disappointing display from the Villans. Many fans would have been expecting defeat deep down, but to lose so tamely, without a single shot on target and only two blocked efforts to show for their trip to Wembley, will make this particularly hard to take. It is often said that players should approach these occasions knowing that they will have no regrets at the final whistle, but many of those Villa players will feel that they could have done more.

Credit must go to Arsenal for preventing Villa from getting up a head of steam, and in fairness to Sherwood's side, they were outclassed by a very impressive performance today, but they still should have offered more themselves. They did not look like scoring once - almost inexcusable on such a big occasion - and their only notable moments in the final third came late on when referee Jonathan Moss waved away a couple of penalty claims. It was an anticlimactic display from the Villans and, having waited 15 years to get to this stage, they will now want to forget that it ever happened.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Santi Cazorla: There are a host of players who could lay claim to this award, and unsurprisingly the majority come from the Arsenal midfield. Sanchez dazzled and almost deserves it for his goal alone, Ozil looked back to his best in the playmaker role, while in defence Mertesacker dominated Benteke and got a goal himself. However, the true architect of this victory was Cazorla.

Everything went through the Spanish maestro, who controlled the match from start to finish. He did not get his own name on the scoresheet, while his assist came from a corner rather than from open play, but his passing ability and vision allowed those in front of him to do the main damage. It was a pleasure to watch him this afternoon, and Arsenal will surely want to keep him amid rumours of a potential summer exit.

Biggest gaffe

While the first, and particularly the second Arsenal goals were of the highest quality, Villa certainly could have done more to prevent the third and fourth. Giroud's icing on the cake came about when the defenders fell asleep waiting for the final whistle, but the worst of the lot was the marking for Mertesacker's header. Benteke had been guilty of losing his man on a couple of occasions before the goal, and once again he was a good yard away as Mertesacker rose unmarked to nod home and really put the game to bed.

Referee performance

Moss was on course for a very good showing until the final 10 minutes, when he denied Villa two penalties. The first was a definite foul by Francis Coquelin on Gabriel Agbonlahor, but even after a number of replays it was hard to tell whether or not it was inside or outside the box. At the very worst, it should have been a free kick for Villa right on the edge, but Moss failed to award the trailing Villans anything.

Shortly after that, Grealish was dragged down in the area by Hector Bellerin having kept the ball in, but once again Moss said no when Villa had a strong claim for a spot kick. The game was already over by the time both decisions were made, but it was still a poor end to what had been a good performance from the official.

What next?

Arsenal: Another big summer awaits the Gunners, who will be desperate to transfer their recent FA Cup form over to the Premier League and Champions League next season.

Aston Villa: The futures of Benteke, Ron Vlaar and loanee Tom Cleverley remain in the balance for Villa. A lack of European football as a result of this defeat means that such heavy investment is not required this summer, but work still needs to be done if they are to avoid the rigours of another relegation battle next season.

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The Arsenal team pose with the trophy after winning the FA Cup final football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley stadium in London on May 30, 2015
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