Tim Sherwood
Sherwood has turned Villa around from relegation candidates to FA Cup finalists in two months. Getty Images

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has pilled the pressure on Arsenal ahead of the FA Cup final by claiming the holders and 11-time winners are favourite heading into the May showcase.

Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph struck to down Liverpool in the semi-final and put Villa into just their second major final since last winning the competition in 1957.

And Sherwood has wasted little time in laying down the gauntlet to Arsenal - who defeated Reading in extra-time to reach a record 19th final - after the Villa boss admitted the high-profile opposition are massive favourites.

"We will be the underdogs," Sherwood stated. "The pressure is on Arsenal to win the cup, they're the holders and they want to win it again. We've got a lot of hard work between now and then and we realise we need to secure our safety.

"We need to come back here and take the game to Arsenal. Every time we play we take the game to the opposition, we carry our own threats and today was no exception."

Though Benteke and Delph scored the important goals it was the performance of 19-year-old Jack Grealish which illuminated Villa's showing.

Grealish has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester City and though he signed a four-year contract earlier in the season, Sherwood has expressed his hope the player remains at Villa Park to continue his football education.

"The bigger the stage the better he plays," he added. "He relishes it and he's a great talent. Jack is someone I looked at before I was at the club and obviously you see him in training if you give him an instruction he sticks to the plan.

"He's got a big future at the football club. He's a very durable guy. If you look at the size of his legs, he's a big guys still learning and he takes a lot of kicks.

"He's taken more kicks in training than he does on the pitch and he's getting a lot of practise fending off them kicks and he probably need bigger [shin] pads."