Eliot K. Raman Jones | Sports Editor
Arsenal dangerman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s lethal display of finishing on Saturday evening secured a record 14th FA Cup triumph for the North London Side, as the Gunners came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against Chelsea. Chelsea had opened the scoring just five minutes in with a goal from Christian Pulisic, who was teed up by former Arsenal man Olivier Giroud, before Gabonese striker Aubameyang hit back with a goal either side of half-time.
Chelsea had looked good value for their lead in the opening stages of the match, with Pulisic’s opener the result of a passage of very slick passing that Frank Lampard’s side have produced time and time again this season in the league. The young American winger looked dangerous whenever he got the ball, and produced some mesmerising close control in the build-up to his goal. The goal itself, a right-footed shot across Arsenal ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez, came so early in the match that Arsenal fans at home could be forgiven for thinking they were about to witness their team be on the end of a thrashing, but Chelsea took their foot off the gas just enough for Arsenal to get back into the game.
With 22 minutes gone, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta misjudged the flight of a long ball, and, with Aubameyang scampering after it and through on goal, hauled down the Gabonese player in the Chelsea box and gave away a penalty for Arsenal. Aubameyang stepped up to take the penalty and scored with a low effort into the bottom right corner of the net, sending Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero the wrong way. After giving away the penalty that led to Arsenal’s equaliser, things went from bad to worse for Azpilicueta as the Chelsea captain picked up a hamstring injury in the first half, and had to come off. Blues fans might have thought that without the loss of their captain they would still be able to salvage a result, but suffered further injury woes when goal scorer Pulisic pulled up with a hamstring injury shortly after the restart and also had to come off.
With just over an hour of the match gone, Arsenal took full advantage of their relentless pressure and scored what proved to be the winner. Right-back Hector Bellerin charged with the ball from his own half to the edge of the Chelsea box where he was tackled by Christensen, but Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe was able to pick up the pieces and feed the ball to Aubameyang, who hypnotised Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma with some fancy footwork before chipping Caballero from close range. It was a sight all too familiar for viewers of Arsenal’s semi-final FA Cup win over Manchester City, in which the Arsenal captain also bagged himself a brace. Chelsea fans were feeling blue for all the wrong reasons minutes after the goal, as their industrious midfielder Mateo Kovacic received a second yellow card for what appeared to be an innocuous foul on Granit Xhaka. The Blues also lost Roma-bound Pedro to injury in added time, briefly reducing the team to nine players on the pitch before the full-time whistle.
While Arsenal have a now record-breaking fourteen trophies in the FA Cup, this will be an ever so important one for new coach and former player Mikel Arteta. Arteta, who has stabilised Arsenal since he replaced outgoing coach Unai Emery in December of 2019, has already impressed by securing silverware in one of Arsenal’s most disappointing seasons in recent history, and Gunners fans will hope that this success will mark the beginning of a long and successful tenure for the Spaniard.