Michael Owen has an incredible history with the FA Cup and Wembley Stadium, and in a column for BetVictor, he revealed his best memories of both – as well as some superb tips for Aston Villa vs. Arsenal in the 2015 final!
Check out the latest FA Cup final odds from BetVictor!
Best Wembley experience:
“Playing in the England Under 15s and scoring the only goal of the game on my first experience of Wembley against the mighty Brazil in 1995 has always been the highlight. England manager Terry Venables said some very complimentary things about me after the game which was recorded on TV and I remember being on Cloud 9 for a month.
I controlled the ball on the edge of the box, keeper Julio Cesar came rushing out but I took it round him and my shot hit the underside of the bar before hitting the back of the net. Ronaldinho was also in that Brazil side; I was so proud.
Yes there have been other great Wembley moments: we had to beat Russia to qualify for Euro 2008 and I grabbed the first two in a famous 3-0 win and I remember scoring against the Brazil senior side back in 2000. It was also fantastic to score the equaliser for Manchester United against Villa in the League Cup Final of 2010 but I will never forget that magical first experience of Wembley.”
Best FA Cup experience:
“Easy; the 2001 Final when I scored twice in the last eight minutes of the game to beat an excellent Arsenal side 2-1. The Gunners controlled long periods of the game and were unlucky not to be ahead before Freddie Ljungberg gave them the lead with 20 minutes to go.
The rest as they say is history; I had scored six in my previous three games for the Reds and was full of confidence. I was able to score acrobatically from close range past David Seaman with eight minutes left before racing onto a Patrick Berger pass and hitting the winner left-footed, one of the best goals I ever scored, with only two of the 90 minutes left on the clock in front of the army of Liverpudlians.
The FA Cup Final is a unique experience and I am really looking forward to returning to Wembley on Saturday with BT Sport.”
Arsenal v Aston Villa
“The momentum that Villa had after their semi-final win over Liverpool has evaporated and I worry whether their back four will be able to cope with Theo Walcott’s blistering pace; I expect the England international to start in front of Olivier Giroud and if Tim Sherwood’s side leave space behind the back four as they did at Southampton recently I think the Gunners’ will punish them.
I expect to see plenty of chances and goals but if Arsene Wenger’s side score first it could be a long evening for the Villa. We needed extra time for the Final to be decided in Arsenal’s favour last season against Hull but I think they will get the job done in 90 minutes on Saturday.”
Editorial note: BetVictor will refund losing bets on selected markets as promo cash if the game is decided on penalties.
Michael’s recommended FA Cup Final Bets:
First goalscorer Theo Walcott – 7/1
Over 2.5 goals – 5/6
Correct score: 3-1 Arsenal – 12/1
Arsenal to win & BTTS – 12/5
Check out the latest Arsenal v Aston Villa odds from BetVictor!