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Copa del Rey

Copa del Rey

The Copa del Rey (English: King's Cup) is an annual football cup competition for Spanish football teams.
Santi Cazorla decorated the pitch with his mix of high skill and football intelligence. Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey provided the supporting cast and Alexis Sánchez left a wonderful calling card on the day Arsenal won this competition for a record 12th time and Wenger became the first post-war manager to notch up half a dozen successes.
Sánchez’s goal was a firecracker of a shot that swerved, dipped and soared into the net from almost 30 yards and a fitting way to end what has been an exhilarating first season from the Chilean in English football.
That made it 2-0 five minutes into the second half and the rest will no doubt be described as a capitulation from Tim Sherwood’s team. More accurately that process had begun much earlier. Arsenal’s superiority had been compelling since the opening exchanges and the only real surprise was that they waited until late in the first half before Theo Walcott started turning it into the hard currency of goals.
After that the imbalance of talent was so extreme there was an air of inevitability about what followed. Per Mertesacker’s header made it 3-0 just after the hour and it was almost a surprise that Arsenal restricted themselves to only one more, courtesy of the substitute Olivier Giroud in stoppage time. “From the first minute to the last the focus and the quality never dropped,” Wenger said, reflecting on a day of collective and personal achievement.
Wenger, to put it into context, has now won this trophy more times than Everton and Manchester City, and on as many occasions as West Ham, Sunderland and Leeds combined.
Arsenal have never played better at Wembley and, as Sherwood pointed out, it was not just the way they moved the ball around that made them such formidable opponents. When they did not have possession they chased and harried to get it back. “I don’t think we played well but you have to give credit to Arsenal as well,” Sherwood said. “They didn’t let us play well.”
Walcott’s goal had started to seem overdue such was the way Arsenal hogged the ball in the first half. Sánchez played like a man who was determined to leave his mark on the big occasion and Héctor Bellerín and Nacho Monreal showed a formidable appetite to supplement Arsenal’s attacks. Over their three matches this season, the aggregate score between these sides stands at 12-0.
Arsenal attacked in waves, with overlapping full-backs and quick, penetrative midfielders breaking forward to support Walcott, and their supremacy had the added effect of spreading anxiety among the Villa players. That, in turn, led to passes being misplaced, more mistakes, more carelessness and a recurring theme of the ball being returned to the team in control.
Villa were in a vicious circle that left them dizzied and dazed. Arsenal sensed their vulnerabilities and Wembley was reminded why one of these teams finished third in the Premier League and the other fourth bottom.
Wenger said he had preferred Walcott because he was “on a high” after his hat-trick against West Brom in Arsenal’s last league match and when the chance dropped on his left foot there was not a flicker of hesitation. Sánchez had headed back Monreal’s left-wing cross. There were half a dozen Villa players in the penalty area but Walcott saw his opportunity, hitting his shot on the run and driving it emphatically past Shay Given.
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