Arsenal Triumph at Wembley – Wenger’s Last Hurrah?

Arsenal fans will be wondering just where that performance came from, as the gunners put on one of their best performances of the season, to win the FA Cup.

Going into this game, Arsenal had defensive problems with Gabriel and Mustafi out injured and Koscielny suspended. That left Per Mertesacker, a player who had not started a game all season. Arsene Wenger fielded a back three, consisting of Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal. Arsenal were the underdogs, Chelsea were firm favourites to lift the FA Cup. That was not the case as Arsenal were sharper and dominated this Chelsea side.

Playing a back three suits Arsenal, as it has Chelsea. Arsenal were pressing Chelsea, Antonio Conte’s men hardly had a second on the ball before a red shirt came towards them. It was a magnificent performance by the gunners, Arsenal fans will obviously be elated with the result and performance. However, many of the fans will be questioning where that Arsenal team has been for much of the season. Arsenal took the lead inside four minutes, David Luiz’s clearance was blocked by Alexis Sanchez, who appeared to use his hands to deflect the ball into his path. Sanchez tried to play the ball to an offside Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman stood back as Sanchez continued his run, slotting the ball calmly past Courtois. The linesman had flagged for offside, referee Anthony Taylor ruled the decision after thirty seconds of deliberation.

Chelsea looks out of sorts and very leggy. Arsenal’s pressure continued, Danny Welbeck was a constant menace up front. Arsenal could have doubled their lead after sixteen minutes, when Mesut Ozil took advantage of the huge amounts of space in the Chelsea defence. The Germans effort was cleared off the line by Gary Cahill. Three minutes later, another chance went begging. This time Welbeck’s headed effort hit the post from Ozil’s corner, the ball rebounded to Ramsay three yards out, he could only follow suit by hitting the post from a tight angle.

Chelsea look a little better in the second half, Pedro curled a shot wide from the edge of the area on 59 minutes. Victor Moses, stung David Ospina’s gloves from 15 yards out. With Chelsea slowly getting back into the game, Victor Moses had a moment to forget, as he blatantly dived in the penalty area. Having already been booked, Moses was shown a second yellow, Chelsea’s task became even harder with ten men.

Many thought that would be the end for Chelsea, Diego Costa had other ideas. The striker turned inside the area, his shot took a deflection as it went past Ospina. The Arsenal goalkeeper, having got a hand to it, would feel he should have done better. Costa’s goal stunned Wembley, game on, or so we thought. Welbeck’s replacement Olivier Giroud, ran in behind Luiz and Cahill and delivered a fantastic ball to Aaron Ramsey who headed past Ospina from 12 yards.

With Arsenal in the lead once more, the gunners pushed for a third late on. Ozil came close as he struck the post. Diego Costa almost got another unlikely leveller as he tested Ospina from close range. But it was Arsenal’s day, every player gave everything. The plaudits went to Sanchez, who was by all accounts outstanding, a special mention should go to Mertesacker who was starting his first game of the season. The German was phenomenal in a defence that had been doubted by so many.

The final whistle blew, bringing massive cheers from the Arsenal bench and their fans. Arsene Wenger becomes to the only man to win the competition seven times. The next few days will bring answers regarding Wenger’s future, if he is to leave – Leaving on a high would be appropriate for a man who has given so much to Arsenal for so many years.

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