Arsenal crowned FA Cup champions with 4-0 rout of Aston Villa
Arsenal crushed Aston Villa 4-0 here to win its second straight FA Cup title and become the most successful club in the history of this competition
London: Arsenal crushed Aston Villa 4-0 here to win its second straight FA Cup title and become the most successful club in the history of this competition.
The Gunners came out focused at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, eager to avoid the early struggles they endured in last year's championship match, when they had to rally from a 2-0 deficit before edging surprise finalist Hull 3-2 in extra-time.
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (R) watches as his team celebrate 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. AFP PHOTO
Buoyed by the attacking skill of Chilean Alexis Sanchez and the solid all-round play of defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin, Arsenal showed that it has become one of the most balanced squads in the Premier League.
Coquelin was recalled earlier this season from his loan to second-tier club Charlton Athletic.
The London club also got a strong performance from oft-injured English international Theo Walcott, who received a headed pass from Alexis Sanchez and powered a left-footed blast past Irish goalkeeper Shay Given to open the scoring in the 40th minute.
Shortly after half-time, Arsenal stretched its lead to two when Sanchez rocketed a right-footed shot from outside the area that clipped the bottom of the crossbar before slamming into the back of the net.
The Gunners had the match and the title in hand at that point but continued to pour in more goals.
In the 62nd minute, German defender Per Mertesacker made the score 3-0 when he headed home a corner kick off the foot of Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla.
French striker Olivier Giroud, who had replaced Walcott in the 76th minute, then tapped home one final goal in injury-time after receiving a pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Giroud appeared to be offside on the play, but Villa players barely protested the goal, which had no bearing on the outcome.
With the win, Arsenal now has a record 12 titles in the world's oldest existing soccer competition.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, came up short in its bid to win its eighth FA Cup title and first since 1957.
The Birmingham club, which finished a distant 17th in the 2014-2015 Premier League standings, also missed out on an automatic berth in next season's Europa League competition with Saturday's loss.