By Michael Kachitsa
Arsenal added another Emirates FA Cup title to their record haul, after a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double sealed a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the Final at Wembley.
The Gunners came into the Heads Up FA Cup Final with 13 titles to their name and this victory nudges the north Londoners further ahead in what was their 21st Final appearance, another Cup record.
While Wembley remained empty – the first time there’s been no crowd at an FA Cup Final in 132 attempts – the cheers from the Arsenal team and staff as they collected the Cup on the pitch made this perhaps the most unique title of their lot. It was a first managerial honour for boss Mikel Arteta with the Spaniard having only returned to the club in January to take over from compatriot Unai Emery and having previously captained the club to one of those Cup victories back in 2014, he becomes the first man to both captain and manage an Arsenal team to an FA Cup title.
And Arteta can take plenty of credit in how his side ended what’s been an unprecedented campaign in football following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as his team stuck rigidly to their game plan and exploited Chelsea in all the right areas to seal victory against their London rivals.
They had to show their resolve too, as it was Chelsea who started the game with a flourish and could easily have been two goals ahead within ten minutes.
Frank Lampard’s side began the game with bite and deservedly edged ahead after just five minutes through Christian Pulisic.
After collecting the ball from Reece James just inside the Arsenal half, the American threaded a pass through to Mason Mount on the left and when Mount’s low centre was back-heeled by Olivier Giroud in the box, Pulisic was there to pick it up and clip home past Emiliano Martinez.
Chelsea’s hopes of a response were further dashed with 15 minutes to go when Mateo Kovacic collected his second caution of the game, both for fouls on Granit Zhaka, and was duly sent off.
For Arteta and his squad, the victory secures European football at the Emirates Stadium next season as well as another Wembley appearance at the end of the month for the Community Shield on Saturday 29 August.