By Niall Clarke
- Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
- Arsène Wenger’s seventh FA Cup title, Arsenal’s 13th
- Alexis Sánchez, Diego Costa and Aaron Ramsey the scorers
LONDON, UK- Arsenal won their seventh FA Cup trophy under Arsène Wenger after a thrilling 2-1 win over Premier League Champions Chelsea.
In an exciting end to end game at Wembley, the Gunners put in one of their best performances of the season to claim their 13th FA Cup victory, the most of any club.
Alexis Sánchez controversially gave Arsenal the lead early on, but Diego Costa fired a 10 man Chelsea back level 15 minutes from time. However, the match would only be level for three minutes as Aaron Ramsey scored his second winning goal in an FA Cup final to give the Gunners the win.
The result sparks even further speculation about the future of Wenger who is set to announce his decision next week on whether he will stay or leave the club. It may be seen as the perfect ending to his Arsenal career winning a trophy, but on the other hand it could urge the Frenchman to stay on and try win the Premier League again.
For Chelsea, it was a poor performance on the whole as they looked like a far cry from the team that won the Premier League. Their dreams of a domestic double ended, but they will still reflect on the season positively. Antonio Conte’s search for a major cup triumph as a manager continues into next campaign.
It was a quick start for the Gunners as Chelsea were slow out of the blocks. Arsenal were pressing high and moving the ball around well whilst the Blues struggled to keep possession. It only took five minutes for the ball to go into the back of the net s a clearance rebounded off Sanchez who rushed onto the loose ball and slotted it past Thibaut Courtois. However, the goal was initially disallowed because of an offside call against Ramsey who was in the area as the ball hit Sanchez. After a brief discussion, the decision was overturned and Arsenal had a shock lead in the final. The controversy did not stop there as it appeared that the ball struck Sanchez’s arm.
The momentum continued for Arsenal, and ten minutes later they came within inches of making it 2-0. Mesut Özil shot deflected past Courtois but Gary Cahill was on hand to back-heel the ball off the line. Danny Welbeck was the next to come close as his header hit the post. The ball would rebound onto Ramsey and back off the post. The English striker would have another chance later in the half, but a poor touch meant he was closed down by Courtois.
Chelsea grew more and more into the game as the half wore on with their key players seeing more of the ball. They had chances to level through Diego Costa and Pedro but could not convert. It was an excellent half for Arsenal and a poor one for Chelsea who had to find the answers in the second half.
The Blues started the second half much better, and once again they came close to equalising but Victor Moses was denied by David Ospina. Chelsea looked for more control over the game by bringing on Cesc Fabregas for Nemanja Matic after an hour. Chelsea continued to press for an equaliser and when Victor Moses went down in the area it looked like they would get a penalty. However, the decision was that the Nigerian had dived and he was booked as a result. It was his second yellow and Chelsea were now down to 10 men.
Despite being a man down Chelsea did not give up the chase, and with 15 minutes to go Costa levelled the match. The Spaniard chested down substitute Willian’s cross before hitting the ball into the back of the net. Their celebrations were short lived though as almost immediately Arsenal took the lead again through Ramsey’s header.
Bellerin would come close to scoring a great solo goal but his shot would trickle wide of the post. Down the other end Costa would come close to equalising again but this time Ospina was able to deny him. Chelsea’s push would leave gaps at the back, and Ozil had a golden chance to put the game beyond doubt, but he hit the post when he should have scored. Chelsea tried for the equaliser, but they could not break through a resolute Arsenal defence. The Gunners would hold on and see out the full time whistle to win the FA Cup for a 13th time.
It was a great game to end the domestic season, and we will look forward to what the 2017/2018 campaign brings.
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