ARSENAL 4, ASTON VILLA 0
Arsenal won the FA Cup for a record-breaking 12th time with a resounding victory against hapless Aston Villa at Wembley.
And Arsene Wenger lifted the cup for a sixth time in seven finals, a post-war record for a manager in what was the biggest margin of victory in a final for 21 years.
Not since Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 in 1994 has there been such a landslide as the Gunners called all the shots in a one-sided final.
There were goals evenly spread for Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud.
And it was a hugely disappointing day for Villa whose side included former Manchester United players Kieran Richarson and Tom Cleverley and City keeper Shay Given.
Wenger explained that he was “proud” for the Gunners to have won the club a record 12 times and also for him to capture it six times.
He said: “We have a good basis and I think we can push on. Why not?
“We have won the league in the past and want to do it again.”
Arsenal’s manager was delighted by his side’s display explaining: “It was convincing from the first to the last minute.
“I don’t think our focus or quality dropped and overall it was comfortable in the end.
“We missed chances in the first half, but there were two important moments either side of half time when we scored.”
Wenger added that his hardest job was finalising his side and leaving players like Giroud out of the starting line up and others completely out of the squad.
He said: “I had difficult decisions to make to try and find a good balance.
“Walcott was on a high after scoring a halt trick last week while Giroud has given a lot to games since January and at times has looked a bit jaded.”
Villa manager Tim Sherwood explained that he knew before this hefty defeat the scale of the job facing him.
He said: “I didn’t need this result to tell me. We have escape relegation for the last four seasons, and that is not good enough.
“We need to improve and the player need to get better and improve their mentality as some have been used to losing.
“They (Arsenal) deserved to win the game, and I have no argument with that. They had outstanding footballers and we couldn’t nullify them and impose ourselves.”
Sherwood thought his side ought to have been awarded two penalties, but did not want to make that an excuse as they were well beaten by that point.
Probably the biggest selection stories surrounded the goalkeepers from both sides.
Arsenal preferred Wojciech Szczesny to David Ospina while for Villa veteran Shay Given was Sherwood’s choice as stopper.
Wenger also went with Walcott up front as Giroud had to settle for a place on the bench alongside Jack Wilshere.
It took almost quarter of an hour before either keeper was called into action, and then Given spectacularly clawed out a header from Laurent Koscielny who was only six yards from goal.
That sparked a flurry of activity as soon after Hector Bellerin crossed from the right and Aaron Ramsey fired into the side netting at the near post.
Ramsey had a second chance, but shot over from 10 yards after Villa’s defence failed to clear a long hopeful ball into the box.
Walcott then saw a goalbound shot blocked by Kieran Richardson and it only looked a matter of time before the Gunners made the all-important block.
The pressure was mounting on Villa who had Cleverley, Alan Hutton and Fabien Delph booked in the opening 37 minutes.
And the breakthrough finally came five minutes before the break when Nacho Monreal crossed from the left, Sanchez headed back across the face of goal and Walcott fired high into the roof of the net to justify his selection ahead of Giroud as he scored his seventh goal of an injury-plagued campaign.
It got even better for Arsenal within five minutes of the restart when Sanchez picked up the ball from deep and breezed past Cleverley before crashing home an unstoppable shot from 30-plus yard which went on off the underside of the crossbar for his 25th goal of the season.
Villa’s response was to bring on Gabriel Agbonlahor for Charles N’Zogbia as they needed extra firepower.
But Arsenal threatened to move out of sight as Sanchez had a goal ruled out after Walcott was flagged for offside when he forced a brilliant save from Given who also denied Santi Cazorla and Walcott.
It was proving a one-way tide and a third Arsenal goal was not long coming as in the 62nd minute Mertesacker headed home a corner from Cazorla as it was game, set and match to the Gunners.
Walcott missed a great chance to make it 4-0 before Villa has claims for a penalty rejected after Agbonlahor went down under a risky challenge from Francis Coquelin.
And Villa had a second shout rejected after Jack Grealish looked to be pulled back by Hector Bellerin as he wriggled free along the by-line, though he went down theatrically.
Arsenal made it 4-0 in stoppage time when substitutes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud combined to deadly effect.
Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed from the right and Giroud struck with a deadly near-post finish to round off a memorable day and a truly forgettable one for Villa.