Aaron Ramsey feels Arsenal can prove how much they have progressed as a team by beating Aston Villa to retain the FA Cup.
Ramsey was Arsenal’s hero in last season’s Cup final, the Welshman scoring an extra-time winner to defeat Hull City 3-2 and end his club’s nine-year wait for silverware.
And the midfielder has told Perform that while Arsenal are expecting another tough match – Hull went 2-0 up inside the opening eight minutes of the 2014 showpiece – they are upbeat about their chances of keeping hold of the famous trophy for another 12 months.
“I think it would show a lot – it would show progression,” Ramsey replied when asked what back-to-back Cup triumphs would mean after nearly a decade without winning anything.
“Obviously going that period of time without winning something, everybody associated with the club felt that pressure and wanted to get it off our backs.
“We did it last year so hopefully now we can go into this game – it’s going to be a tough game, they’ve been going really well of late and are going to be fired up for it.
“We can’t underestimate them but we will be confident that we can win it and retain the FA Cup.”
Arsenal ended the Premier League season in third place, meaning their wait for the title was extended to 12 years.
However, Ramsey thinks that their excellent form from January onwards – which saw them lose just twice after New Year’s Day – will stand them in good stead to challenge next term.
“I think in the first half of the season we couldn’t get the consistency, that we all wanted and ultimately we paid the price in the Premier League,” he added.
“Our form in the second half of the season has been really good and we’re looking forward to building on that.”