Things may be looking rosy for this Arsenal side at the moment, with 11 consecutive wins on the bounce and the prospect of a second FA Cup final on the horizon.
However, if the Gunners are to avoid a repeat of the nail-biting drama that saw Arsenal progress after an extra time winner against Reading, Arsene Wenger must be prepared to play his best side.
The Gunners boss brought in four fresh faces to start the semi-final, but it appears they simply didn’t look up to the challenge.
We’ve taken a look at who doesn’t make the cut for the May 30th tie, and exactly what must be done to ensure underdogs, Aston Villa, don’t pull off another FA Cup surprise.
Goalkeeper: Ospina in for Szczesny
Rotation amongst the squad, it’s a debate that Arsene Wenger has defended pretty much since he joined the club, but this surely has to be one exception.
In a pre-match conference before the Reading game, the Gunners boss reassured the fans that Szczesny was more than ready for action.
However, the Pole never looked as if he adapted to the game, he was punching set pieces away rather than collecting, and after looking shaky whilst dealing with back passes, he inevitably received the worst player rating of all Arsenal players.
Many supporters are divided on whether to start Ospina for the final, after all, Szczesny was the man between the sticks for the majority of FA Cup fixtures, and although he may not have been in top form, we’re still in a final.
However, can Wenger take the chance of rolling the dice one more time? He has a chance to bring back-to-back trophies to this club, something that hasn’t been done for over 10 years as we probably know all too well.
For that reason, he has to play his strongest side in terms of form, and when you compare the two goalkeepers, there is only one outcome.
Since linking up as a regular in January, Ospina has only conceded 10 goals within 14 appearances, with three of those coming in the Monaco demolition. He also boasts an impressive 7 clean sheets since opening his campaign as the new number one keeper.
There is a good case for both of these goalkeepers to start the game, but when you play with Ospina you have confidence in his ability. That is something we’ll surely need against the counter attacking pace of Benteke, Agbonlahor and Delph.