FA Cup final: How the players rated as Arsenal beat Aston Villa

By Chris BevanBBC Sport at Wembley
Arsenal celebrate
Arsenal retained the FA Cup for the first time since 2003

Arsenal romped to a 4-0 win over Aston Villa to lift the FA Cup for a record 12th time in a one-sided Wembley final.

The Gunners successfully defended the trophy as Arsene Wenger become the first post-war manager to win the cup for a sixth time.

Theo Walcott volleyed Arsenal ahead before half-time against a poor Villa side who offered little in reply.

Alexis Sanchex scored the goal of the game before Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud completed the rout.

How did the players on both sides fare?

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Arsene Wenger (Manager) 9

His record-equalling sixth FA Cup triumph in 19 attempts was also his most straightforward final victory so far. Wenger got the big decision right, by going with in-form Theo Walcott up front rather than Olivier Giroud, who had not scored for eight games, and also got the balance of his side spot on. His team controlled the game from the start, were patient until they made the breakthrough through Walcott's fine finish and then ran away with a one-sided Wembley win.

Wojciech Szczesny (Goalkeeper) 7

Wojciech Szczesny

He did not have a single shot to save, such was Arsenal's dominance, so only had to deal with the occasional cross aimed at Christian Benteke. He was quickly off his line to help his defenders out, and only failed to deal with one delivery because one of them got their first.

Did you know? Szczesny is the first goalkeeper since Joe Hart in 2011 to not have to make a single save in an FA Cup final.

Hector Bellerin (Right-back) 8

His rapid running caused Villa stacks of problems down the right when Arsenal got forward and he helped keep Jack Grealish quiet too. A performance that enhanced his growing reputation.

Did you know? Bellerín made more interceptions than any other Arsenal player (4).

Nacho Monreal (Left-back) 8

Encouraged to come forward down the left from the start and touched the ball more times in Villa's half than he did his own. His cross led to Arsenal's opener.

Did you know? Only Santi Cazorla (100) and Héctor Bellerín (82) had more touches of the ball than Nacho Monreal (81).

Per Mertesacker (Centre-back) 8

Has the "agility of a rhinoceros" according to Szczesny's dadexternal-link but Villa never looked like exposing the big centre-half's lack of mobility. Benteke was supposed to be the one causing him problems in the air - instead he got the better of the Villa striker from a corner to head home Arsenal's third goal.

Did you know? Three of Arsenal's four scorers today had all previously scored for both club and country at Wembley (Walcott, Sanchez, Mertesacker).

Laurent Koscielny (Centre-back) 8

Hardly troubled at the back and should really have joined Mertesacker on the scoresheet, another illustration of Arsenal's dominance. He missed one headed chance when he lost Benteke at a first-half corner and saw Shay Given brilliantly keep out another.

Did you know? Koscielny made seven clearances and two interceptions.

Francis Coquelin (Central midfield) 8

Francis Coquelin

Did not even watch Arsenal on TV in last year's final after spending the season out on loan in Germany but now has a winners' medal.

Quietly did the dirty work to allow others to flourish. Never lost his positional discipline and never gave the likes of Charles N'Zogbia or Grealish a sniff on the counter-attack.

Did you know? Coquelin completed 92.3% of his passes.

Santi Cazorla (Central midfield) 9

Santi Cazorla

One of several stellar performers for the Gunners - the only thing lacking from his game was a goal. The Spaniard played more passes (79) than anyone else on the pitch, with an accuracy of 93.7%. An outstanding display.

Did you know? Cazorla, who provided his 15th assist in all competitions this term, had more touches than any other player in this season's FA Cup final (100).

Mesut Ozil (Attacking midfield) 8

Mesut Ozil

Kept popping up in pockets of space between Villa's defence and midfield to do damage. Others will grab the headlines but the German deserves praise. His work-ethic is sometimes criticised but not on this occasion.

Did you know? Ozil has never lost an FA Cup game (10 matches).

Aaron Ramsey (Right midfield) 7

Aaron Ramsey

Last year's match-winner saw plenty of the ball on the right but was off target with both of his two best chances. He was not at his best, but it did not matter.

Did you know? Ramsey attempted more shots (5) and made more tackles (5) than any other Arsenal player.

Alexis Sanchez (Left midfield) 9

Sanchez's FA Cup final screamer

What a way to end his superb first season in English football. His scorching strike at the start of the second-half turned the rest of the game into a lap of honour for his team.

The Chilean is the only Arsenal player to have featured in every round of this year's FA Cup, was the Gunners' top scorer (with four goals) in the competition and, after setting up Walcott's opener, also provided the most assists (three).

Did you know? Alexis Sanchez is only the second Chilean to score in the FA Cup final after George Robledo for Newcastle v Arsenal in 1952.

Theo Walcott (Centre-forward) 9

Took time to find his way into the game after being given his chance up front, but in the end he more than justified his manager's decision.

Was denied a goal by Kieran Richardson's point-blank block but persevered and scored Arsenal's crucial first goal with a superb finish on his left foot - supposedly his weaker side.

Did you know? Walcott has scored seven goals in seven starts for Arsenal this season.


Jack Wilshere (for Ozil, 77 minutes) 7

Keen to get forward and helped maintain Arsenal's intensity until the final whistle.

Did you know? Nine of Wilshere's 11 attempted passes were in the opposition half.

Olivier Giroud (for Walcott, 77 minutes) 7

Started with the disappointment of only being on the bench, but ended it with the joy of scoring Arsenal's fourth to end an eight-game goal drought. It was that kind of day for the Gunners' players.

Did you know? Giroud has scored eight and assisted four goals in his 14 FA Cup appearances, and has scored in each of his last four games against Villa.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (for Sanchez, 90 minutes) 7

Only on the pitch for three minutes of injury time but still had time to join the Arsenal party by providing the cross for Giroud's fourth goal.

Did you know? Oxlade-Chamberlain has provided four assists in his last six FA Cup games.

Aston Villa (4-3-3)

Tim Sherwood (Manager) 6

A manager for less than 300 days compared to Wenger's 30 years, and it showed. His side seemed to have few ideas about how they could even dent the Arsenal defence and they eventually collapsed under unrelenting pressure.

Shay Given (Goalkeeper) 7

Shay Given

One of the few Villa players to emerge with any credit. Made a superb reflex save to deny Koscielny with the score at 0-0 but could do little to halt the onslaught that followed.

Did you know? Appeared in the final 17 years after his previous appearance in 1998, also against Arsenal.

Alan Hutton (Right-back) 5

Preferred to Leandro Bacuna at right-back but could not offer the Dutchman's threat going forward and struggled to stop Sanchez and Bellerin. His most telling contribution was a meaty first-half challenge on Sanchez. It was one of the few times the Scot got near him.

Did you know? Picked up his 11th yellow card of the season, two more than any other Villa player.

Jores Okore (Centre-back) 4

Laid down an unfortunate marker with a clumsy touch in the first minute that allowed Walcott a run towards goal and more of the same followed. Made several last-ditch challenges but never looked comfortable when Arsenal came forward.

Did you know? His four tackles were the joint highest number for Villa along with Hutton.

Ron Vlaar (Centre-back) 5

Ron Vlaar

His lack of pace means he would probably have preferred to have faced Giroud rather than Walcott and he was not helped by some unconvincing performances from those around him.

Did you know? Did not misplace a pass in the entire game.

Kieran Richardson (Left-back) 6

Probably Villa's best defender, although that is not saying an awful lot. His superb block to deny Walcott earns him a mark and, at the other end, he was one of the few players to try to find Benteke in the box.

Did you know? Part of the first defence to concede four in the cup final in 11 years.

Tom Cleverley (Central midfield) 5

Tom Cleverley

He has been much-improved since Sherwood took over in February but was unable to make any sort of impact between either penalty area as Arsenal controlled the middle of the pitch.

Did you know? One of only two Villa players to create a goalscoring chance.

Ashley Westwood (Central midfield) 5

Tried to hold things together behind Fabian Delph in midfield when his captain ventured forward but ended up chasing shadows.

Did you know? Made 41 passes, only five fewer than Ozil.

Fabian Delph (Central midfield) 6

Fabian Delph

He was Villa's action-man in the first half, sliding into tackle after tackle, including one brilliant challenge to stop Sanchez breaking away. If anyone was going to be Villa's hero it was their skipper but he could not do it on his own. Arsenal out-passed him in the end, and he was also guilty of giving the ball away.

Did you know? No player committed more fouls in the final than Delph (3)

Charles N'Zogbia (Right-sided forward) 4

Was meant to be supporting Benteke but was starved of possession and also of support. Only touched the ball 12 times, the fewest of any player to start the game.

Did you know? Made only eight passes in 53 minutes.

Jack Grealish (Left-sided forward) 4

Jack Grealish

Was looking to emulate his great-great-grandfather Billy Garraty, who won the 1905 FA Cup with Aston Villa. His recent displays had promised much but he struggled to get on the ball, let alone run with it. He was denied a late penalty, which kind of summed up his day.

Did you know? His blocked shot in the 86th minute was one of only two efforts Villa had in the entire game.

Christian Benteke (Centre forward) 4

Christian Benteke

If this was his last game for Aston Villa, it was a truly forgettable farewell. The big Belgian was starved of service and did not even manage an effort at goal let alone bully the Arsenal defence. The only impact he made came at the other end of the pitch when his poor marking allowed Mertesacker to score.

Did you know? Failed to record a shot of any kind in the game.

Aston Villa

Gabriel Agbonlahor (for N'Zogbia, 53 minutes) 5

Villa's longest-serving player was given a salvage mission when he came on soon after Sanchez's wonder-goal but his pace made little impact.

Did you know? This was his 19th defeat of the season - only Hutton and Benteke featured in as many.

Leandro Bacuna (for Richardson, 68 minutes) 5

His attacking play from full-back has been a big part of Villa's recent revival and he did at least get forward, but with no end-product.

Did you know? One of only two Villa players to create a chance.

Carlos Sanchez (for Westwood, 71 minutes) 5

Another to come on with the damage already done. Impossible for him to change the direction of the game.

Did you know? His 16 passes were double the number made by N'Zogbia.

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