Alan Shearer: Arsene Wenger gets it right for awesome Arsenal

BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer

BBC pundit Alan Shearer explains why Arsenal's defensive display played as big a part as their attacking power in securing their one-sided FA Cup final win over Aston Villa.

Arsenal's players put in an outstanding performance to win Saturday's FA Cup final but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger deserves just as much credit.

Just about every tactical decision that Wenger made for the final came off, starting with him picking Theo Walcott up front instead of Olivier Giroud.

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Watch Highlights of Arsenal victory in FA Cup final

He also got his team playing at the right tempo. They put their stamp on the game from the start, unlike the way they started against Reading in their semi-final.

That day, they struggled to impose themselves against Championship opponents. Against Aston Villa I never thought they were in any danger of losing, right from the first minute.

In the past, Arsenal have not always performed under pressure and people have asked whether they can cope when they are expected to win.

On Saturday they answered that question and better than ever before.

Arsenal were outstanding. They were by far the better team and thoroughly deserved their victory.

'Arsenal were awesome in attack and defence'

Starting with Walcott, not Giroud, was a big call - and Wenger would have got a lot of stick if he had got it wrong.

After seeing Walcott score a hat-trick against West Brom on the final day of the season, I said on Match of the Day that I thought Wenger should - and would - stick with him. He did and it proved to be the right decision.

Tim Sherwood and Arsene Wenger
Tim Sherwood cut a somewhat dejected figure as Arsenal won their 12th FA Cup and Arsene Wenger his sixth

My only worry about the way Arsenal had started the game was the fact they could not find a finish, but Walcott showed with his goal why he can be an out-and-out striker with his movement into the box and then his ruthless finish.

Arsenal could have been two or three goals up by the time Walcott scored and they were great to watch when they came forward.

But they were also exceptional without the ball, in the way they stopped Villa from posing any threat whatsoever. They did not even manage a shot that reached the Arsenal goal.

'Sherwood will be devastated by that defeat'

None of the things that Tim Sherwood has changed and improved in Villa's attack since he took charge in February were evident at Wembley.

Villa were brilliant going forward in their semi-final win over Liverpool but Liverpool allowed them to play like that. Arsenal's defensive discipline did not let it happen.

This time we did not see anything of Tom Cleverley, Fabian Delph or Jack Grealish on the ball and that meant Christian Benteke could not do any damage. Villa were totally outplayed.

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Sherwood's thoughts on 4-0 loss to Arsenal in FA Cup final

I have twice felt the pain of losing an FA Cup final. It will be worse for Villa after a performance like that.

The fact Arsenal were so good will not be any consolation to Sherwood because his team did not turn up.

I know him well from our days playing in the Blackburn team that won the Premier League title in 1995 and he will be devastated and angry at the way his team performed.

He was proud to have reached the final and also of the fact he kept Villa up, which was his main aim, but he will be hurting after that defeat.

Could he have done anything differently? I don't think so.

There was a gulf in class between the two teams and Sherwood could only play with what he had. He clearly did not have enough to live with Arsenal - sometimes it is as simple as that.

Sanchez shows he is a superstar

Arsenal were by far the better team but they had some brilliant individual displays too.

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Sanchez's FA Cup final screamer

I know Santi Cazorla was fantastic but my man of the match was Alexis Sanchez and not just because of his magnificent goal.

I am always a bit biased towards forward players but Sanchez's energy has lifted his team all season and it was no different at Wembley.

He jinked past players as if they were not there and also leapt above Villa's defence to set up Walcott for his side's opener.

It seems he can do just about everything and he is one of the big reasons why Arsenal can look forward to next season with real optimism.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

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