Match Review – FA Cup Final: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

Match Summary

Chelsea fell to a disappointing 2-1 loss against Arsenal, as they failed to build on a bright start and a goal from Christian Pulisic, before a brace from Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – one from the penalty spot, and a terrific finish – settled the contest.

Mateo Kovacic was sent off for a questionable second ‘foul’, before Martinez got away with catching the ball outside the box as Chelsea struggled to create chances with ten men.

Lampard stuck with the same eleven that beat Wolves last week to secure Champions League qualification, with Caballero in goal, the back-three of Azpilicueta, Zouma and Rudiger, Alonso and James at wingback. Chelsea went with Kovacic and Jorginho in the middle of the park, meaning Pulisic, Mount and Giroud started up top.

It took just five minutes for Chelsea to open the scoring, and it was the main man since the restart, Christian Pulisic who opened the scoring for the Blues. Mason Mount was slipped in and his pass towards Giroud in the middle was flicked on expertly before the ball broke to the American who tucked it home from close range to give Chelsea the lead.

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Pulisic finished brilliantly despite heavy pressure. Image Credit: Skysports.

Despite breaking the deadlock, Chelsea didn’t capitalise on that by building the lead and only threatened again through a Pulisic strike from the edge of the box before Arsenal stepped it up and hit back.

Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe was the first to cause Chelsea problems, wonderfully striking the ball into the top left corner from the edge of the box however seeing it ruled out for an offside earlier in the move.

Taking inspiration from the disallowed effort, Arsenal grew in confidence after, and it didn’t take long at all before they managed to forge a chance to get themselves level.

A hopeful ball over the top was latched on to by the pacey Aubameyang, who had got the wrong side of Azpilicueta in the Chelsea defence, and left the Spaniard chasing shadows trying to regain ground on the Arsenal forward.

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Azpilicueta initially fouled Aubameyang outside the box.

A tangle of legs led to only one player going down, it was Aubameyang who hit the deck inside the area and he was appealing for a penalty – given by referee Anthony Taylor after 26 minutes and giving Arsenal the chance to level the scoring. The man who won the foul took the penalty and dispatched convincingly into the bottom right hand corner to make the score 1-1.

Az[pilicueta initially fouled Aubameyang outside the box. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Things got worse for the Blues a few minutes later as Azpilicueta went down with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Andreas Christensen. This clearly deflated Chelsea, whilst giving Arsenal an additional lift after the equaliser. Chelsea seemed to struggle after getting pegged back from their early lead and the final period of the second half was clearly dominated by the North London side.

Chelsea reached the second half with the scores level, and it didn’t take long after the restart for Blues hopes to be damaged – severely.

Just two minutes after the start of the second half, goalscorer Pulisic looked set to be running through on goal down the left hand side, before seemingly taking a shot on goal far too early which sailed just wide. However, when looking at the replay, it’s clear the American picked up an injury before striking the ball – which was confirmed as he hobbled off soon after as Pedro replaced him on the wing.

The American had been the best player on the pitch. Image Credit: Skysports.

An awful way for the American to end his first domestic final in a Chelsea shirt, the only saving grace being that we can all expect him to appear in at least another one final for the Blues sooner rather than later.

Despite this, Chelsea definitely looked better in the second half, perhaps Frank Lampard had told them the final period of the first half was simply unacceptable for anyone appearing in an FA Cup Final in a Chelsea shirt. Mount and Pedro both had half-chances, but Arsenal’s defence remained resolute

In testament to Chelsea’s terrible defense all season long, Arsenal scored against the run of play to make it 2-1 in the FA Cup Final.

Despite playing 5 defenders, Lampard’s side only had two defenders back after a Bellerin run from deep broke through two lines, and after some helpful deflections, and a ludicrous challenge from Rudiger, the ball found itself in Aubameyang’s path, with space on the left hand side. The Gabon forward chopped the ball past Zouma as if he wasn’t even there after a horrible attempted tackle, and the Arsenal forward chipped over the onrushing Caballero to make it 2-1.

Aubameyang tucked away confidently. Image Credit: Adam Davy/Pool/Reuters.

Soon after things went bad to worse for Chelsea, as a more than questionable decision left the Blues down to ten man. It was Mateo Kovacic who saw red, after receiving a second yellow card where it looked like no foul had even been committed. Anthony Taylor appeared to book an Arsenal player for protesting, before returning to book Kovacic almost a minute later in farcical circumstance. VAR was unable to interfere.

Kovacic’s challenge was innocuous. Image Credit: Thomas Lovelock for the FA/Shutterstock.

With ten minutes left on the clock, it looked as if Chelsea had been gifted a chance to get back into the game. A long ball over the top saw Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez charge off his line to claim the ball – seemingly outside the penalty area, however the referee saw nothing wrong and VAR didn’t look at it once. Replays have since shown the Argentine was outside of his box – but Anthony Taylor continued to make poor decisions.

Judge for yourself. Image Credit: Daily Star.

Without much if any fight from a Chelsea point of view, and struggling with ten men, the final period of the game fizzled out without any notable chances for either side.

Arsenal lifted the FA Cup in a 2-1 victory, after what was a very disappointing Chelsea performance, and in looking for a light amongst the darkness, the defeat will hopefully spur on our young players to not experience the same kind of cup final heartache again.

Match Stats

Match Stats provided by the BBC.

Player Ratings

Created using Lineup 11.

Concluding Remarks

A disappointing evening for Frank Lampard’s team caps off a helter-skelter season, as the Chelsea icon fails to win his first piece of silverware managing the Blues, losing to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at Wembley. Injuries, poor defending and abject refereeing mean it isn’t a very good evening at all.

Attention now turns to the summer transfer window, ahead of what is expected to be a period of upheaval. No doubt we’ll be welcoming new faces, as well as saying goodbye to old ones.

Roll on Saturday 12th September.

Written by Dom Domaingue

Edited by Rob Pratley

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