Arsenal lift the FA Cup for the record 13th time after winning a very entertaining FA Cup final. Gunners thrived in the ‘underdogs’ tag and made it difficult for a Chelsea who seemed to be short on intensity.
Arsenal quick and decisive in early exchanges:-
In the pre-match notes, we had everything against Arsenal really. Injuries to key men and being up against the best in the country was considered a tall task. We got the actual opposite in the game where Chelsea looked like a team short in quality and intensity.
The game began with Arsenal playing higher up the pitch in wide areas and getting runs from midfield. They took a fourth-minute lead when Alexis Sanchez charged down a Kante clearance and went on to score. Chelsea stood still in expectancy of an offside flag as with Ramsey being off but was not touching the ball and the referee made the decision in favour of Arsenal.
Incidentally, it was first Chelsea had been behind in an FA Cup game and Conte’s men were very lucky not to concede a second/third before half-time. Cahill cleared off the line when Ozil ghosted in behind and poked in an effort. Danny Welbeck hit the crossbar from a corner and Ramsey’s follow-up was tough to score.
Chelsea had very little going their way in the first half, they lost too many 50-50 challenges in the midfield. Kante and Matic were indecisive in what they had to do. They were getting caught in two minds whether to press or sit back which gave space in between the lines for Sanchez and Welbeck to work with.
A first half in which Arsenal were unlucky not to be 2-3 up. Chelsea were very lucky to be still in the game with Conte fuming in the touchline.
Chelsea came back stronger in the 2nd half but red card changed it:-
In the second half, Chelsea were more withing themselves with few attempts flying in. Holding up play from Costa was getting better. Hazard and Pedro were getting spaces with Arsenal getting pinned back.
Victor Moses, who had a terrible until then had a moment to forget. The Chelsea wingback dived in the penalty box to earn a penalty but the referee saw it. He was already booked earlier and second yellow card was inevitable. Chelsea were down to 10-men in the 67th minute still trailing.
Chelsea still were creating chances and Costa eventually scored the equaliser. A teasing angled ball from Willian was chested down expertly by the striker and scored with help of deflection. Ospina could have done better but the deflection didn’t help his cause.
Arsenal responded straight when Giroud crossed from byline after a good run. Ramsey ghosted in behind and headed home the winner 12 minutes from time. Arsenal more or less deserved this lead and now were looking good against 10 men.
Mesut Ozil came close to tapping in the third but was denied by the post and loads of luck. Eventually, Arsenal got the job done and give Wenger something to cheer after a bad season. We can say it is some redemption for the manager and next week’s board meeting will be better for him.
This is the 13th time that Arsenal have lifted this trophy, 7th under Wenger which is a record. A truly remarkable achievement and for sure won’t be surpassed in the coming near future.