Overall, the 2014-15 season was kind of a strange one. The summer seemed to set the stage for a good campaign, with several players being brought in (including World Cup star Alexis Sanchez), but as it turns out, Piers Morgan doesn't know what he's talking about and spending money guarantees nothing. A slow start counterbalanced a blistering finish, and Arsenal ended up finishing third in the league.
But just as in the season previous, the FA Cup offered relief. Arsenal won the cup for the second year in a row, the first team to repeat as FA Cup winners since Chelsea won the double in 2010. It was Arsenal's 12th FA Cup win, breaking a tie with Manchester United for the most in the competition's history. The road to get there was a little easier the second time, and the final itself was far less nerve-wracking than in 2014. But there was one major hurdle that had to be cleared: Old Trafford.
First and Second Rounds
Nobody, because we're too good for stuff like that.
Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
This rematch of the previous year's FA Cup Final kicked off Arsenal's 2015 campaign, and it went significantly more smoothly than that final. Hull never really threatened, and in fact Arsenal probably should have scored more than the two goals they did. An Alexis Sanchez corner in the first half was put in by Per Mertesacker (on his 150th Arsenal appearance, no less) and Alexis scored one of his own in the second half to seal the deal. No extra time, no fuss.
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-3 Arsenal
Arsenal went up 2-0 early, with Theo Walcott scoring his first goal in over a year after only a minute and a half, and Mesut Özil following up twenty minutes later with a cool finish on a brilliant Tomáš Rosický assist. Despite a Brighton goal, Rosicky made the game his own with a stellar goal off the volley to make it 3-1, making up for the fact that Brighton scored again late. Arsenal had a few chances to get a fourth (or more), but squandered them. Luckily it didn't end up mattering.
Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough
Boro had beaten Manchester City in the previous round, but they didn't stand a chance against Arsenal. Olivier Giroud scored twice in three minutes, and both were beauties. The first was a well-worked team goal, with several Gunners combining to set Kieran Gibbs loose on the left flank, where he played a great cross that Giroud almost had to finish. Almost immediately after that Giroud showed off his technique, turning in an Alexis corner with ablomb. Arsenal could perhaps have had three or four more in the second half, but they didn't need them, and why show off?
Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal
This was the big one. All the other Big Teams had been eliminated, either by underdogs or by each other, but we had to face one, right? And at Old Trafford, a ground where Arsenal hadn't won since September of 2006. It was kind of a recipe for disaster, especially considering the fact that Arsenal had already lost at home to United – what good could going to the house of horrors that is United's home ground do? One Nacho Monreal goal and one Danny Welbeck homecoming strike later, Arsenal were going to Wembley (again). Not bad, huh?
Reading 1-2 Arsenal a.e.t.
Adam Federici almost beat Arsenal. The Reading goalkeeper was spectacular throughout, making save after save to keep Arsenal from building on the 1-0 lead they built just before halftime. That goal even took a moment of brilliance from Arsenal's two best players, with an amazing ball over the top by Mesut Özil that read Alexis Sánchez's run perfectly, and Alexis' great finish. But not long after halftime that lead was erased, thanks to some dodgy defending and an unlucky deflection. Federici stood up for the remainder of regular time, and into extra time. But he couldn't do it alone, and eventually his luck ran out. Alexis took a tame shot, but it slipped through the keeper's grasp and in, and that was all Arsenal needed to get back to the final.
FA Cup Final
Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa
In retrospect, Aston Villa never stood a chance. It took most of the first half for this to become clear, but after Theo Walcott was finally able to break through the Villan defense, the rout was on. Alexis scored one of the goals of the year, Mertesacker and Giroud both joined the party, and Arsenal were lifting the trophy once again – this time with a lot less fuss.