So where are we in all this?
We are the most successful club ever in the history of the FA Cup with this being our 19th appearance in the final. Arsene Wenger is also the record holder for FA Cup final appearances. A win will also make us the club with the most wins of the FA Cup. At the moment we have the same number of wins as Man U: eleven, but because of today have reached one more final.
George Ramsay won the FA Cup in 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, and 1920, but those early years were (as shown in today’s piece on the Arsenal History Society website) utterly chaotic, with whole rounds being virtually wiped out by clubs being kicked out for professionalism, clubs refusing to play because of the travel distances and so on, clubs not turning up or turning up without eleven players… But even despite Ramsay’s advantage of managing in such times, a win will give Mr Wenger six – an equal number.
I’m lucky enough to have a ticket, but sadly Blacksheep and Andrew didn’t get one. So I’ll be going on my own, and since for me, personally, travelling to and from the game while chatting about life, society, history, football, everything, anything etc, is a major part of the fun, I found myself a bit miffed.
However I’ve found a solution. I travel from the Midlands, so need to find a car park convenient for Wembley, which is not at all the same thing as finding one convenient for the Emirates.
But, my other big hobby besides football is dancing (modern jive and blues for the most part), and by chance everything has pulled together. A drive to Uxbridge, parking just by the tube station, a tube line direct to Wembley Park, a cup final, great celebrations, a tube back to Uxbridge, a five minute walk to… a modern jive dance (yes they even dance in Uxbridge), and then another little walk back to the car and an arrival back in the midlands in the early hours.
I’d sooner be with my mates, since the other dancers won’t have a clue about the Cup Final, the FA-fifa alliance etc, but still, it’s a way of doing it.
Onto the game…
Danny Welbeck will miss the FA Cup final after failing to recover from a knee injury.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy (both hamstring) and captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) are in contention but realistically I think Alex on the beach is the most likely option.
Shay Given is fit for Aston Villa’s first Cup final in 150 years after recovering from a groin injury. [There might have been an extra zero in that last number.]
Aly Cissokho (groin), Kieran Richardson (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) have also trained but Ciaran Clark (knee) is out.
This is our fifth trip to Wembley in the last 14 months – two semis, two finals and a charity shield. We’ve won (rather obviously) all four thus far. A win today will give us another bash at the Charity Shield.
- We’ve played them ten times in the FA Cup, winning seven but never before in a Cup Final. There is a record of 30 of our most memorable games against Villa on the Arsenal History Site.
- This is our 19th final – an all time record.
- The last time we met them in the FA Cup was in the 4th round in 2012,. We were two down!!!! And then won 3-2 at Stadium Wenger.
- Aston Villa have not beaten us in the Cup for over 40 years – their last shot last FA Cup win against Arsenal was in the fourth round in 1974, when they won in a replay 2-0.
- In league and cup Aston Villa have won only one of the last nine games between us. That was the notorious win on the first day of the season on 17 August 2013 when we witnessed one of the most bizarre displays of refereeing of all time. After that match Arsenal won eight of the next nine and went top of the league.
- We have won 30 of the last 33 games between the two teams.
- Villa’s style in the cup is to draw at half time and win at full time. Ours against them is to win at half time and full time (done that in five of the last seven).
And the biggie…
We have won our last four FA Cup finals, and seven of the last eight. We have once before won two FA Cups in a row – 2002 and 2003. Although we missed 2004 because of other things on our mind, in 2005 we were back to do it again. There are details today on the Arsenal History Site.
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