Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as Arsenal came from a goal down to beat 10-man Chelsea 2-1 and win the FA Cup for a record 14th time at Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea took the lead inside the first five minutes thanks to a brilliantly-taken strike from Christian Pulisic – who became the first American to score in an FA Cup final.
But the Blues fell victim to the sheer brilliance of Aubameyang, who was also Arsenal’s hero when he scored twice in the semi-final win over Manchester City.
The Gabonese forward scored from the penalty spot to draw Arsenal level after he was fouled by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta just before the break, then produced a moment of world-class finishing to make the defining contribution to the first behind-closed-doors FA Cup final.
Chelsea were hampered by a first-half injury to Azpilicueta and were struggling even further when they lost the outstanding Pulisic to a hamstring problem after the break.
As the Blues battled to overcome those setbacks, the brilliant Aubameyang was able to give Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as the Gunners’ manager.
Aubameyang, who Arsenal are understandably desperate to secure on a new long-term contract, turned Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma inside out in the 67th minute before delivering the most audacious finish, chipping over keeper Willy Caballero from an angle.
Chelsea’s night couldn’t have gone any worse than it was when Mateo Kovacic was very harshly sent off for a second yellow card, awarded by referee Anthony Taylor for the most innocuous of challenges on Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal closed out the win to secure a place in the Europa League next season but it was a bitter disappointment for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard at the conclusion of his first campaign in charge.
Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta admits FA Cup win is the proudest moment of his career
Arsenal’s head coach, Mikel Arteta, praised his side’s FA Cup victory over Chelsea labelling it as the proudest moment of his career – and has vowed to build his side around two-goal hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners won the FA Cup for a record 14th time and also became the first club to beat a specific opponent in as many as three finals in the competition.
“For me, personally, 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.”
“We had to change our energy and our mentality, and just by seeing them in the dressing room, all together and enjoying it, makes me more proud and it’s a consequence of that. We can achieve things and win titles together.”
Arteta explained he is positive of persuading captain Aubameyang to remain at the club with the Gabon striker’s contract is due to end next year.
“I hope there will be [news in the next week]. Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future and what I expect from him and the team that I want to build around him,” Arteta continued.
“The conversations are with the people who are influential around him. The club respect him and admire him. The players are all behind him and we know the players that we have and we have to value him. If we reach all of those points, I think that we’ll get an agreement with him.”
“They always believed in me and they always gave me incredible opportunities to work with both of them,” he added.
“I know I wouldn’t be sitting here today without them. We had an incredible journey together and always they gave me the opportunity to decide my future. It wasn’t an easy moment [leaving City] but I have to thank them for everything.
“When I walked through the doors, I completely understood the needs of this football club. They’re so high and I wanted to fulfil those demands.
“I knew the expectations – to win this trophy is absolutely for the supporters. Hopefully, they can enjoy this success together while maintaining the social distance because this is for them.
“I knew the challenges I was facing on the day I made the decision to come here and the expectation that we’re always going to have because the history and the legacy of this club are incredible.
“This is the first trophy, let’s enjoy it today, and there’s a long way to go improve on many other things, but it’s something that I’m very proud of. We’ve changed a lot of things and since we joined the players have been fantastic.
“I have to thank the people upstairs who have given me the opportunity to represent and manage this incredible football club. I have to thank them for the support and for the belief.”
Watch Arsenal’s trophy lift and celebrations below
Stats and facts from the match
- Mikel Arteta has become the first person to both captain and manage Arsenal to victory in an FA Cup final.
- Chelsea have lost three of their past 10 FA Cup final matches, with all three defeats coming against Arsenal.
- The Gunners have won each of their past seven FA Cup final appearances since 2002 – no team has had a longer run of successive final triumphs in the competition.
- Arteta is the first Arsenal manager to win a major trophy in their first season in charge of the club since George Graham in 1986-87.
- There was just one shot on target in the whole of the second half, which was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winning goal.
- Since his debut for Arsenal in February 2018, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 70 goals in all competitions, more than any other Premier League player in that time.
- Christian Pulisic’s opener was the first FA Cup final goal scored by an American player.
- Mateo Kovacic became the sixth player to be sent off in an FA Cup final, with the last two of them being Chelsea players (Victor Moses was dismissed, also against Arsenal, in 2017).
- Willy Caballero (38 years 308 days) became the oldest player to play for Chelsea in an FA Cup final, while substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi (19 years 268 days) became the youngest to play in the showpiece for the Blues.