The 14th FA Cup title for the Gunners with a brace from their scintillating number 14:
Arteta had the last laugh as two rookie managers faced off in an all London FA Cup final at Wembley.
The prestigious set up:
The FA Cup is the oldest domestic football cup competition in the world and is immensely respected and valued in English Football. The 139th cup final held in London’s famous Wembley Stadium was an occasion that deserved the presence of the fans as a high octane encounter with fiery exchanges was on display under the bright London sunlight.
What was at stake:
Winning the FA Cup was extremely important for Arsenal as it was their only gateway into European club competition. The future of the club’s captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang also hinged upon whether Arsenal would be competing in Europe or not, if the rumors are to be believed.
Chelsea on the other hand was hunting for a trophy to embellish their season, which looks on the verge of ending as they trail 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League with the away leg still to play. Both the managers were managing their respective former clubs and looked to win the first trophy of their careers as head coach.
Hammer and tongs they clashed:
The Blues startled Arsenal with an early goal as the former Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud back-heeled a nicely weighted ball into the path of Christian Pulisic who slotted home convincingly. Arsenal responded well to the early set back as the Gunners sought to gradually take control of the match. They became more direct in their approach as Maitland-Niles, who slotted in as the left-back made darting runs down the left flank, which posed a problem for young Reece James.
A scintillating Pépé strike was disallowed for offside shortly before Azpilicueta brought down Aubameyang in Chelsea’s penalty box, from which the Gabonese international converted expertly. The veteran Spanish defender had to leave the field in the following minutes after a hamstring issue surfaced.
This would only be the start of Chelsea’s injury woes as shortly after the break Pulisic had to prematurely exit the match after another hamstring problem. He looked the most likely to break Arsenal’s backline and with his exit Chelsea’s attacking approach fizzled out. Arsenal’s captain and talisman Aubameyang doubled his goal tally for the day as he put the ball past Caballero into the net with a left-footed dink halfway into the second half.
Before the curtain fell:
Chelsea, who was a man and a goal down threw the kitchen sink at Arsenal as Lampard made a triple change to invigorate pace and penetration into his team’s attack. The new frontline tried valiantly to equalize but in vain.
Pedro, who will leave Chelsea following the end of the season, was stretched off in the dying minutes of the match with a shoulder injury as Chelsea succumbed to a defeat with nine men on the pitch in blue when Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle.
The dreams of glory and the joys of now:
Mikel Arteta won the FA Cup with Arsenal as a player and now as a coach looked ecstatic after the final whistle and so did all the boys in Red. Emiliano Martinez, who has been at the club for ten years now was spotted shedding tears of joy.
Arsenal fans would be eager to see what their young, exciting manager has to offer next season on the back of such promising displays. The Gunners would hope their Spanish manager is brewing something special at the Emirates and this is only the first of many trophies they would win under his reign.