London, 1 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the hero with both goals as Arsenal came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.
Christian Pulisic put Chelsea in front after five minutes but Aubameyang equalized from the penalty spot on 28 minutes and won it with a brilliant finish midway through the second half.
Chelsea had Mateo Kovacic sent off for a second booking at 2-1 and Arsenal held on to clinch the FA Cup trophy for a record 14th time and a fourth occasion in the last seven seasons.
“It was a difficult start conceding a goal so early,” coach Mikel Arteta said.
“If I know something about these players, is that we weren’t going to give up. We played probably the best 30 minutes after (that) since I arrived.”
The result means Arsenal, who only finished eighth in the Premier League, will play in the Europa League next season, something Arteta said was important to everyone.
“I am so proud to represent these players and this club. It is a double reward for us. It is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe. We all did it so I am so happy.”
The Gunners will go into the group stage next season along with Leicester City while Wolverhampton Wanderers, seventh in the Premier League, miss out. They must now win this season’s Europa League to have European football next term in the form of the Champions League.
Sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur will now have to go into the Europa League qualifying rounds.
At a Wembley with no fans due to Covid-19, Pulisic gave Chelsea the perfect start when he showed good feet in the penalty box to put in the opening goal.
Nicolas Pepe thought he had equalized with a superb curling finish but it was ruled out for offside against Aubameyang.
But Aubameyang made amends soon after when he won and converted a penalty after Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilcueta was adjudged to have pulled him back.
Azpilcueta was then forced off through injury and at the start of the second half, Chelsea’s problems were doubled when Pulisic was also substituted with a hamstring injury.
Aubameyang then put Arsenal in front with a brilliant finish, turning Kurt Zouma and then dinking a subtle chip over Willy Caballero.
The Gabon striker, whose future at the club remains a matter for debate, said Arsenal owed a lot to Arteta, who becomes the first man to win the FA Cup for the club as player and manager.
“I think he deserved this win,” said Aubameyang, who dropped the trophy when trying to lift it during the celebrations. “I think he did a great job and we’re all happy to have him on board, very happy for him.”
Chelsea beat Arsenal in last season’s Europa League final but their job of getting back into this game was made harder when Kovacic, perhaps unfortunately, was sent off for a second booking on 73 minutes.
Pedro, who came on as a substitute in his final appearance for Chelsea before joining Roma, dislocated his shoulder late on as Frank Lampard’s men saw their chances of an equalizer disappear.
Lampard, whose team finished fourth in the Premier League to reach next term’s Champions League, said his team were responsible for their own defeat.
“We started well for 10 or 15 minutes,” he said.
“We can only blame ourselves in football terms. We decided to take control by being complacent…we allowed them back in the game. A lot of it is on us.
“Today we were slow, played back on ourselves, invited pressure and we didn’t perform well enough to win a final.”
Chelsea’s season is not yet over. They head to Bayern Munich next weekend for their delayed Champion League last 16 second leg, but they are already 3-0 down from the home leg.