After a shock win at Wembley, Aston Villa beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, but can they go all the way and win the FA Cup?
Arsenal are currently the FA Cup champions and the hot favourites to win again this year, but for all those fans rooting for Villa, Newitts takes a look at the team's chances of scoring a win this season.
Villa reached their first FA Cup final in 15 seasons courtesy of a 2-1 semi-final victory over Liverpool on Sunday. On 30 May they will face the Gunners, who have already beaten them 3-0 and 5-0 this season and are 13 places above them in the Premier League table.
"There's a lot of hard work between now and that game - Tim Sherwood."
The Villa won the old First Division Championship seven times (most recently in the 1980–81 season), the Football League Cup five times (last won in 1996) and the UEFA Super Cup in 1982. The club have also produced a record 73 England national team players, a figure equalled only by Tottenham Hotspur.
Aston Villa are one of only 5 English clubs to win what is now the UEFA Champions League. Throughout the club's history, Aston Villa has won the FA Cup seven times, with its last win 58 years ago in May 1957 when Johnny Dixon was lifted up by his team-mates to mark a proud moment in the club's history. The club beat Luton, Middlesbrough, Bristol City, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion to claim the highly coveted cup in front of a crowd of more than 99,000 spectators at Wembley.
Villa upset the odds to win Sunday's semi-final at Wembley against Liverpool who beat them 2-0 at Villa Park in January and are pushing for a top-four finish this season.
Although Arsenal are currently the hot favourites to win the FA Cup Final, key players such as Joe Cole, former England international and Chelsea midfielder, said he believes that if Aston Villa replicate the performance they produced to beat Liverpool, they stand a good chance of beating the Gunners in the final.
Cole said: “They’re a top side and [Arsene] Wenger’s really turned it around for them. They want to put another bit of silverware on the table.
“Every team is different but for this club the fans have really bought into what the gaffer’s doing and there’s a good, positive vibe around the club now and you need that success."
"The 4-3-2-1 formation created for the semi-final suprised Reds boss Brendan Rogers."
Many players and fans believe that the appointment of new manager Tim Sherwood in February has been a crucial factor towards the improvement in Villa's recent game, and has helped them steer away from the Premier League relegation zone.
The 4-3-2-1 formation Sherwood created for the semi-final surprised Reds boss Brendan Rogers and enabled Villa's attacking midfielders Charles N'Zogbia and Jack Grealish to link up with Benteke and concede his ninth goal in seven games.
Sherwood said: “We caused Liverpool a lot of problems.
"They were a little bit bamboozled to be honest and I didn't think they would have expected that.
“We changed the way we played, we usually go very direct and use our pace down the sides.
“I thought the game-plan worked perfectly."
There will be plenty of speculation on which players Sherwood picks to play in the final. At present, it is doubtful centre-back Nathan Baker will play due to injury, along with team mate Ciaran Clark. Midfielder, Jack Grealish, made his full debut in the 3-3 Premier League draw with QPR and has kept his place for the following two games, including Sunday's semi-final. But Sherwood is guaranteeing none of his players their Wembley spot, he said: “They will only get here if they play well in the games remaining, they are fighting for their places.”
If Sherwood is able to pull a formation out the bag like the semi-final and picks the right combination of players, the team may stand a chance of winning, but considering the Gunners have already beaten Aston Villa 3-0 and 5-0 this season, and are 13 places above them in the Premier League table, they have a lot to prove.
Sherwood said: "There is a lot of hard work between now and that game. It'll be a great occasion for the football club but nothing is won yet.
"We need to secure our safety and then come back and take the game to Arsenal."
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