Two well taken goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on either side of a pulsating ninety minutes of football was all that Arsenal needed to clinch their 14th FA Cup at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
The first was a penalty late into the first half and the second, an exquisite finish from the Gabon International.
Bellerin the Arsenal full back surged forward with the ball, Christensen, the Chelsea centre back, made a tackle but the ball breaks through to Pepe on the right-hand side of the penalty area. He looked up and saw Aubameyang in space on the left.
The proven goal scorer turns Kurt Zouma inside-out before dinking the ball over Willy Caballero.
Chelsea had taken the lead after five minutes thanks to a brilliantly-taken strike from Christian Pulisic – who became the first American to score in an FA Cup final.
Chelsea remained in the ascendancy as Arsenal took their time to grow, but the Gunners looked to have introduced themselves in spectacular fashion when Nicolas Pepe’s curled strike nestled in the top corner.
The Arsenal celebrations were short-lived though, with Aubameyang caught offside in the build-up, but seconds later the Gunners captain raced onto a ball over the Chelsea defence before being hauled to ground by Azpilicueta.
The Chelsea skipper was shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor, whose decision to point to the spot was upheld by VAR, and Aubameyang clinically dispatched his fourth goal in two FA Cup appearances this season from 12 yards.
The loss of Azpilicueta to a serious-looking hamstring injury confirmed a torrid couple of minutes for Chelsea, who were under the cosh and thankful to reach the break level having lost all of their early momentum.
Chelsea weathered the loss of Pulisic within seconds of the restart with a dominant spell as they looked to reassert their authority, but a moment of brilliance from Aubameyang fired the Gunners in front for the first time.
Hector Bellerin’s burst forward and a rash challenge from Andreas Christensen diverted the ball into the path of Pepe, his pass found Aubameyang and the Gunners skipper skipped past Kurt Zouma before chipping a sublime second over Caballero.
Kovacic’s second yellow for a foul on Granit Xhaka and subsequent dismissal effectively ended Chelsea’s hopes of overturning Arsenal’s lead, and a late shoulder injury to Pedro in his final game for the Blues was the final act of Chelsea’s capitulation as the cup slipped out of their hands.
What the managers said…
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: “Big games require big moments from big players. Aubameyang delivered that in the semi-final, he’s done it again in the final and that’s why you ask about those players.
“Some people were questioning whether he could do it in big games, but he was a big part in delivering this trophy. We’re so proud to have a player like him in our squad.
“I think [it’s the proudest moment of my career]. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved as I know the difficulties and everything we’ve been through.
“It’s been so tough the last six months for a lot of things that have happened in our lives, but I had only one mission when I came here which was to make the players and the staff believe that we could do it.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard: “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t play great for us, but we did compete in the game and we had chances. When you give an opportunity like that to Aubameyang, he will finish you off.”
“Aubameyang scores two goals – one being a penalty – and we were very clear with the players about the threat that Arsenal provide with long balls behind you. They play football as well, but they also have a threat of a long ball behind you, particularly in those channels.
“A frustrating part of today’s game was that I showed that a lot to the players and we worked on it, but we allowed him in easily. He’s a top-class player, and the second goal is the sort of speed and quality of a player at this level that wins games like these.”
Man of the Match – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
With Sky Sports report