The FA Cup final, the jewel in the crown of the English game, is contested again this weekend as Arsenal face Aston Villa.
I trust you all have huge war chests for this one after following me in with my 50/1 prediction last week of Leicester beating QPR 5-1? Proof, if proof was still needed, that I remain the beautiful game’s most flamboyant tipster. Mark Lawrenson? Derek McGovern? Jimmy the Greek? I’ll sh*t em.
I had £14.88 (don’t ask) on said scoreline and spent Bank Holiday weekend blind drunk in various states of undress. I was beyond mortal on Sunday night but have to confess the best sex I have is when my partner gets drunk, as more often than not she passes out and I get a taxi to her cousin’s house. I digress.
Arsenal are a 4/7 poke to win Saturday’s Wembley showpiece inside 90 minutes and of course they signed off their league season in style with an emphatic 4-1 win over West Brom on Sunday. Villa meanwhile looked flat, obscure and at times hesitant as they signed off with a 1-0 defeat against already relegated Burnley. This loss came hot on the heels of a 6-1 drubbing against Southampton so it’s fair to say Tim Sherwood’s side have been playing with one eye on Wembley these past few weeks.
The Gunners of course are out to retain the famous silverware they landed in dramatic fashion last season by beating Hull City in extra-time and are one of only two clubs since 1990 (Chelsea being the other) to have retained the Cup. The game takes on extra resonance for the Gunners too, who know that a win would make them the most successful FA Cup team (12 wins) in the famous old competition’s 144-year history.
The key stats for me here are that Arsenal have lost only one of their last 15 competitive matches and in two matches against Villa this season they scored eight and conceded none. I reckon the only chance Villa have is if Christian Benteke goes on one. More likely though is Arsenal keep him relatively quiet and stroll to victory in the Wembley sunshine.
Don’t get me wrong I do fancy Villa to score as Arsenal need a wholesale clearout this summer at the back, but they offer too much going forward for Villa to live with them this weekend. My main bet is Arsenal to win and both team to score at 5/2.
Olivier Giroud should get the nod to start up front for Arsenal but the man I am expecting to run things is Alexis Sanchez. He will have heard all about the FA Cup final as a young boy in Chile and I reckon he can end a four-match run without a goal by scoring against Villa. Awesome in their semi-final win over Reading, Sanchez has the pace and skill to torment a sluggish Villa rearguard. He’s 13/8 to score in the match.
I’m also having a few quid on him scoring first and Arsenal to win 3-1, thus taking down my second 50/1 winner in as many weeks and more than likely getting a bronze statue of me erected outside Football365 Towers ahead of the new season.
Betting: Arsenal to win at both teams to score at 5/2 (Coral/Ladbrokes)
Betting: Sanchez to score anytime at 13/8 (bet365)
Betting: Sanchez to score first – Arsenal to win 3-1 (Scorecast) at 50/1 (Bet Victor)