Arsenal restored some much needed pride to end what had so far been a rather dismal season for the Gunners, beating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley, to win the FA Cup for the 13th time in their history and for the 7th time under the reign of Arsene Wenger, making the under pressure Frenchman the most successful Manager in the history of the world’s oldest football competition.
Arsenal made an exceptionally bright start to the game, but took the lead in rather fortuitous circumstances with Alexis Sanchez prodding home with the outside of his right boot after following in his own deflected attempt to pass the ball over the top of the Chelsea defence.
With Sanchez having got a hand on the ball as he attempted to block N’Golo Kante’s clearance and Aaron Ramsey in an offside position and definitely affecting the play it was indeed a surprise when Referee Anthony Taylor overruled his Assistant, who had initially flagged Ramsey offside, to award Arsenal the goal.
As the first half continued though, Arsenal were more than good value for their lead, and perhaps more than a little unfortunate not to add to it with Gary Cahill making a terrific goalline clearance to deny Mesut Ozil, before Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey both hit the same post in the same passage of play as Chelsea failed to clear a corner.
Chelsea had half chances to get back into the game, but the Gunners were clearly the better side in a first half wherein the team in red and white showed a lot more hunger and desire.
Chelsea predictably came out of the blocks faster in the second half and attempted to lay siege on the Arsenal goal, but the Gunners’ three man backline protected excellently by Granit Xhaka, having his best game of the season, appeared to be comfortably holding Chelsea at bay.
In fact, it was Arsenal playing on the counter who came perilously close to adding to their lead with Hector Bellerin in particular making a nuisance of himself down the right flank, but failing to provide that final ball that would kill the game as a contest.
Arsenal were handed a man advantage with a little over 20 minutes left in the contest when Victor Moses was shown his second yellow card of the evening, this time for diving in the Arsenal box in an attempt to win his side a penalty.
However, despite being a man down it was Chelsea who got the next goal, Diego Costa getting the better of a flapping Ospina, who was partially wrong footed by a deflection as the Gunners’ defence attempted to close down the Spanish striker, only to see the ball brush off his hand and into the back of the net.
Chelsea though were level for barely a couple of minutes with Arsenal substitute Olivier Giroud making an impact 38 seconds after being sent on, producing a pinpoint cross for Aaron Ramsey to nod home into an empty net as Chelsea went to sleep from the kick-off.
Arsenal could have added to their lead again, but it was not required in the end as the Gunners held on to record a memorable win.
Arsenal: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 82′), Alexis (Elneny 90+2′), Ozil, Welbeck (Giroud 78′)
Subs: Cech, Elneny, Coquelin, Iwobi, Lucas, Walcott, Giroud
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses (sent off 68′), Kante, Matic (Fabregas 61′), Alonso; Pedro (Willian 72′), Costa (Batshuayi 88′), Hazard.
Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Ake, Fabregas, Willian, Batshuayi.
Final Score: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea (Sanchez 4′, Costa 77′, Ramsey 79′)