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John

Player Match Ratings: 58 years of hurt and still counting!

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We last won the FA Cup in 1957 for a then record seventh time. We last beat Arsenal in the competition in 1974. Both of these records remain unbroken after our disappointing FA Cup Final defeat yesterday.

 

By winning Arsenal lifted the trophy for a record twelfth time and Wenger equalled George Ramsay’s long standing managerial record of six FA Cup wins. So a season that might have become one to remember forever yesterday quickly became what it has been for much of it namely one to forget.

 

This was all too easy for Arsenal who might have quite easily have doubled their goal tally on another day. They were clearly up for it from the start rather than slow out of the blocks early on as we might have hoped they would be and as they were in last season’s final. Yes, we were twice denied penalties on the 80th and 85th minute that should have given us the opportunity to hit at worst a consolation goal and at best goals that would have given us an unexpected opportunity to press for a late equalizer. But we were clearly second best and outclassed by the winners and that was very hard to take

 

There were alarming shades of the 2000 FA Cup Final none performance about yesterday’s Villa display. Too many of our players let the game pass them by and at times we appeared in awe of our opponent’s fluent style of play. Our defence was put under relentless pressure, our midfield was chasing shadows and our attack gave Arsenal no cause for concern until the 80th and 85th minutes.    

 

My player ratings from a game that cruelly demonstrated the gulf that exists between these two teams that the difference in their final league table positions had already identified are:

 

Shay Given – 6 – Made a superb one handed save from a Koscielny header on 15 minutes to keep us on level terms and got down low to keep out a Cazorla shot in the 56th minute.                                                                       

 

Kieran Richardson – 6 – MOTM - Made a great block on 24 minutes to keep out Walcott’s goal bound effort. Produced a decent defensive display under pressure and he can hold his head up high after this because he did his bit.                               

 

Jores Okore – 5 – Did well to recover on the edge of the box on 61 minutes after Ozil had played a ball for Walcott to run onto that he looked likely to convert until Jores intervened. A difficult evening but he kept at it.   

 

Ron Vlaar – 5 – Did very well to block a dangerous Cazorla cross at the near post on 8 minutes. But was fortunate on 20 minutes that Ramsey hit his shot over the bar after the ball had fallen to him after Ron had failed to head the ball clear on the edge of the box.                                    

 

Alan Hutton – 5 – Unable to get forward as often as he usually did due to having his hands full in his own half                         

 

Tom Cleverley – 4 – Did not have the impact we might have hoped he would have in a midfield that was bettered by their opponents with some ease.              

 

Ashley Westwood - 4 – Had a couple of decent moments but he was part of a midfield unit that was second best throughout.                                        

 

Fabian Delph – 4 – A disappointing display which is very unusual for him.                

 

Jack Grealish – 5 – Jack was unable to make anything approaching the sort of dynamic impact he made in the semi-final. However, he did give some brief glimpses of the player we know he is and the last of those should have led to a penalty. But for some inexplicable reason referee Moss ignored our 85th minute penalty appeals after Jack having been fed by Gabby following a strong run had beaten Bellerin and been pulled back by him inside the box.     

 

Charles N’Zogbia – 2 – Failed to make any sort of positive impact upon the game prior to his substitution and this was a sorry return to the Charles we had grown accustomed to seeing earlier in this season.     

 

Christian Benteke – 4 – If this is to be Christian’s last game in our shirt it was not the way he or we would have liked him to have seen him depart as he will have gone out with a whimper rather than with a roar. He had little to no service throughout and spent as much time trying to defend as attacking. Was too far in front of Mertesaker when he headed home their third. This was some way off being a performance to be remembered.        

 

Substitutes:

 

Gabby Agbonlahor – 6 – Came on for the ineffective N’Zogbia on 53 minutes. Gabby produced a better level of performance than he has done of late and made a couple of decent runs one of which should have led to an 80th minute penalty. He made a powerful run from the edge of the centre circle to the edge of the box where he was brought down by Coquelin. But his penalty appeals were ignored by the referee who later booked him for questioning his decision a little too strongly for his liking.

 

Leandro Bacuna – 4 - Replaced Richardson on 68 minutes. Leo failed to stay on Giroud in the third minute of stoppage time to leave him unmarked and unchallenged on 93 minutes to convert a cross for their fourth.    

 

Carlos Sánchez – Replaced Westwood on 71 minutes and did not quite have enough time on the field or do enough to gather a marking.

 

Now get back there next year and make it up to us by winning the thing - Up the Villa!

 

John Lewis

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Now get back there next year and make it up to us by winning the thing

 

Unfortunately that only happens to the Arsenals, Chelseas and Man Ures of this world. We won't be back for a decent while.

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Now get back there next year and make it up to us by winning the thing

 

Unfortunately that only happens to the Arsenals, Chelseas and Man Ures of this world. We won't be back for a decent while.

You may well be right but the club and players (who are still with us) should really want to get back there as soon as possible to make amends for this one. I hope the wait for the opportunity to do so is nearer 1 than 15 years this time.  

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I think it's worth remembering that this was far more an arsenal victory than a villa loss. They didn't allow us to get going because they were much better in every area, on the pitch and tactically. This was more about our limitations than our fault.

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I think it's worth remembering that this was far more an arsenal victory than a villa loss. They didn't allow us to get going because they were much better in every area, on the pitch and tactically. This was more about our limitations than our fault.

Yes a point very well made. We looked beaten from start to finish and the gulf in class was there for all to see.

 

But for me we seemed too ready to accept that we would be second best and this desperate performance was tough for us to take coming so soon after the fine display they had produced for us in the semi-final. It seems we had run out of steam at Southampton and were unable to come again even for a cup final.     

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