FA Cup Preview

Written by Square in the Air

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Arsenal should hold onto their FA Cup crown, but as the Gunners rarely respond well to pressure it may be a bumpy ride against Aston Villa at Wembley tomorrow afternoon.

It certainly wasn’t straightforward when Arsene Wenger’s side ended their nine-year trophy drought to win the FA Cup this time last year, going 2-0 down to Hull in the first eight minutes before eventually grinding out a win in extra-time. Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa will be hoping to give Arsenal similar troubles on Saturday.

Though the Villains leaked eight goals in their two league meetings with the London-side this season, and recently suffered a hefty 6-1 loss to Southampton, there’s no doubt they will be well up for this historic fixture. Sherwood has never beaten Arsenal as a manager, and was knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by the Gunners in his brief spell as Tottenham boss. Sherwood will know that a win tomorrow will be career-defining and he will be desperate to walk up those famous Wembley steps as a winner. Arsenal, however, are peaking at just the right time.

A fine four goal victory over West Brom last weekend has instilled further belief that Wenger and Co. can defend their FA Cup crown. It should be a cagey affair, like most finals.

Highly-rated Villa youngster Jack Grealish could solidify his name as one of the Premier League’s most exciting prospects with another fine performance, but whether he can go as far as to follow in the footsteps of his great, great grandfather remains to be seen.

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