Arsenal vs Aston Villa team news: Theo Walcott and Wojciech Szczesny get the nod for Gunners as Shay Given recovers from injury to start

Olivier Giroud is left on the bench after Walcott's hat-trick last week sees him get the nod

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger has maintained his policy of selecting his goalkeeping understudy for cup matches by naming Wojciech Szczęsnyahead of David Ospina in the Arsenal starting XI for today's FA Cup final.

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The decision to name the Poland international ahead of his Colombian team-mate comes despite Szczesny being at fault for Reading's goal in the FA Cup semi-final and being dropped at the turn of the year for a mixture of lack of form and being caught smoking in the dressing rooms at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium.

Wenger has given in to the urge to start Theo Walcott, coming after the England international scored a hat-trick on the final day of the Premier League season. It means Olivier Giroud starts on the bench.


There is also no place for Jack Wilshere though, who also impressed last Sunday against West Brom.

Danny Welbeck, as expected, is out with a knee injury.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain makes the bench but there is no place in the squad for Mathieu Debuchy or captain Mikel Arteta.

Szczesny has had to play second fiddle to Opsina

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given starts after recovering from a groin strain.

Kieran Richardson (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) return but Aly Cissokho (groin) and Ciaran Clark (knee) are out.

Christian Benteke starts in attack and is joined in the side by Jack Grealish who so impressed in the semi-final victory over Liverpool.


Arsenal: Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott.

Subs: Gibbs, Gabriel, Wilshere, Giroud, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini.

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Cleverley, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Benteke, Grealish.

Subs: Guzan, Baker, Bacuna, Sinclair, Agbonlahor, Cole, Sanchez.

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)