FA CUP FINALS
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS : ARSENAL VS CHELSEA
Arsenal ended a season of heartbreaks and disappointments with a magnificent display to win the FA Cup for the record thirteenth time in their history by beating 10 man Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley. Goals from none other than Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey denied Chelsea the double as Arsene Wenger became the most successful manager in the competition’s history. Having failed to qualify for the Champions league for the first time in 20 years, criticism of Wenger had reached unprecedented levels, but the cup’s victory potentially restored supporters’ faith to some extent.
Arsenal were quick off the blocks and Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead in controversial circumstances after only four minutes, when referee Anthony Taylor overruled his assistant after he had flagged for offside against Aaron Ramsey and the Blues claims for handball against Sanchez. The first half could have been much worse for the Blues had it not been for Gary Cahill clearances off the line. First int the fifteenth minute, he cleared a chip over the spread-eagled Courtois by Ozil then another on thirty, after ball appeared to creep in from a tight angle through Welbeck’s clip. Chelsea struggled to cope up with Arsenal’s intensity and impose themselves, with Gunners arguably producing their best 45 minutes of their season. Chelsea were lucky to only be one goal down at half time as they prepared themselves for a comeback.
Antonio Conte’s men made a marked improvement after the break and became the dominant force, but desperation soon crept into Chelsea’s improved second-half display. Victor Moses’ were given marching orders by Anthony Taylor after he was given second yellow card for appearing to dive, leaving Chelsea with a mountain. Diego Costa revived Chelsea’s hopes with 15 minutes to go as David Ospina failed to keep out his deflected shot at goal. Arsenal who were the better side for most parts of the night were back in front inside three minutes when Ramsey, who scored the FA Cup final winner against Hull City in 2014, did it again with a header from substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross. Both sides had further chances, with Ospina brilliantly denying Costa and Ozil hitting the post, but Arsenal just about did enough to cling on.
Wenger pumped his fists in delight at the final whistle, as a season that has brought so much criticism. Arsenal were the better side and thoroughly deserved the cup and it was amazing how ordinary they made Chelsea look for much of the evening as time was called on a memorable night for the fans to an otherwise forgettable Arsenal campaign.