The Gunners could leave both Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott on the substitutes bench at Wembley on Saturday.
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Arsene Wenger – who has been quoted by the Daily Mirror – has hinted that the England international duo are both set to miss out. That’s despite them both starting the comprehensive victory over West Brom last weekend, in which Walcott scored a first-half hat-trick.
Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud could reportedly come into the side, while Wenger’s other major selection issue remains whether to start with David Ospina or Wojciech Szczesny in goal.
Ramsey scored the winner in last year’s FA Cup final win over Hull City and will no doubt be hoping for the opportunity to repeat the trick against Aston Villa. Giroud hasn’t found the net in his last eight appearances but scored in the 5-0 victory over Villa back in February.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game, Wenger said: “It is important to focus as a whole squad on winning the trophy. Most of the time the heroes are the people who come on in an FA Cup final – they make the difference.
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“That’s why it is important as a reward for the whole team who have fought very hard the whole season to get there. Let’s deal with it as a whole squad. I have some big selection decisions to make on Saturday. Even to leave some top internationals out of the squad shows that we have a very big squad.”
Wenger was quick to play tribute to Walcott, who put himself firmly into contention for a spot in the team with his performance against West Brom, but the Frenchman refused to be drawn on what role the 26-year-old will play – suggesting his hat-trick won’t make him a special case…
“He (Walcott) has shown that he is back in good form but that’s normal,” he added. “I said that before last week’s game. What is important is that we do not make too many individual cases before the cup final. It’s the whole team who can win it.
“I don’t know who will start yet and it’s not important because it’s just on the day in the FA Cup final. What is important is that you bring the trophy back. It’s always a concern for the whole squad.”