Arsenal and Arsene Wenger set new records for number of FA Cup wins
Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley this evening to win the 136th FA Cup final.
The Gunners playing in a record 20th FA Cup final have now won the trophy for a record-breaking 13th time; one ahead of Manchester United’s 12 wins.
Arsene Wenger is now the most successful manager in FA Cup history, with 7 wins. He is now one win ahead of George Ramsay, who won the competition six times with Aston Villa.
Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead in the fourth minute, when referee Antony Taylor overruled his assistant after he had flagged for offside against Aaron Ramsey in the build up to the goal.
Chelsea also claimed Sanchez handled in the build-up, but Taylor turned away their protests and awarded the goal.
At three minutes 49 seconds, Sanchez’s goal was Arsenal’s fastest ever in an FA Cup final.
Sanchez has scored in five successive games for Arsenal in all competitions for the first time.
The Chilean has been directly involved in 45 goals in 51 appearances for Arsenal this season [30 goals, 15 assists].
Arsenal dominated the remainder of the first half, hitting the post from a Danny Welbeck header, the post again from a Ramsey shot and twice seeing the ball cleared off the line.
Chelsea’s best chance of the first half fell to Diego Costa, but his shot was saved by David Ospina.
The Blues played with more conviction in the second half, but Arsenal continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack.
N’Golo Kanté had a shot saved by Ospina in the forty-ninth minute.
Two minutes later Ospina had to turn away a low shot from Victor Moses.
Moses was then booked in the fifty-seventh for a foul on Welbeck.
At the other end Héctor Bellerín had a right footed shot from outside the box saved by Courtois.
Victor Moses was then correctly dismissed by Taylor for diving in the penalty area in the sixty-eighth minute.
Moses is the fifth player to be sent off in an FA Cup final after Chris Smalling [Manchester United in 2016], Pablo Zabaleta [Manchester City in 2013], Jose Antonio Reyes [Arsenal in 2005], Kevin Moran [Manchester United in 1985].
Diego Costa though equalised for 10-man Chelsea, with 14 minutes remaining. He was set up by substitute Willian and his right foot shot was parried into the net by David Ospina.
It was Costa’s 22nd goal of the season for Chelsea in all competitions – his best-ever return in a single campaign for the Blues.
Arsenal though went back into the lead three minutes later.
Substitute Olivier Giroud crossed from the left and Ramsey headed home.
It’s the second time that Ramsey has scored an FA Cup winning goal. He scored the winner in the 3-2 win over Hull City in the 2014 final.
Giroud has had a hand in four goals in his past four games for Arsenal in all competitions [three goals, one assist].
There was still time for Mesut Ozil to hit the post with time running out as Arsenal tried to put the result beyond doubt..
But there were no more goals before the final whistle, at the Gunners claimed a deserved victory and denied Chelsea the double.
So the season ends on a positive note for Arsenal after the disappointing league season ended in a fifth place Premier League finish..
It means the Gunners will miss out on playing Champions League football next season for the first time in twenty years.
Arsene Wenger’s future will be decided at a board meeting, likely to be held next week.
This is what Arsene Wenger had to say after the match.
“We had an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards. This team has suffered. They’ve united and responded. They showed strength and unity and played spectacular football today.
“I’m proud to have won seven of these cups. I’m proud having done this – winning the championship without losing and winning seven FA Cups.”
Arsenal’s love affair with the FA Cup continues.
The Gunners have won the trophy in their last six FA Cup final appearances, and in eight of their last eight. Their only defeat in that time came against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium in 2001.
It was also a remarkable end to the season for Per Mertesacker, who lifted the FA Cup trophy with the suspended Laurent Koscielny.
The German made his first appearance of season against Everton on Sunday. Playing 37 minutes as second half substitute.
Arsenal: Ospina 7, Bellerin 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 8 (Coquelin), Holding 8, Mertesacker 8, Monreal 8, Xhaka 8, Ramsey 8, Ozil 8, Sanchez 8 (Elneny), Welbeck 9 (Giroud)