Cup Finals Day: Chelsea get Burnt by Arsene Attack!

By on May 28, 2017

Does anyone else have a strange sense of Deja Vu so far in 2017? This year’s football storylines seem to be running parallel to 2015 and the more time passes, this year feels like 2015 on repeat with 2016 sandwiched in-between like some sort of dream. The last time the year ended in an odd number, Chelsea won the English Premier League title, there was a general election vote in the UK and Arsenal lifted some silverware with the FA Cup. That last one was a bit of a spoiler to this article, as I reflect on the 2-1 victory for Arsenal over Chelsea in the 136th Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley this afternoon. It was a repeat of the 2002 final, which Arsenal also won 2-0, thanks to strikes from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg (now playing number eight in India for Mumbai City). Chelsea have been through a fair new few managers since then, yet Arsenal’s remains the same, but for how much longer? (Two years at least, probably!)

Also, if you still do not get the feeling of Déjà Vu (a bit of French there, to link in with ‘the Professor’ of the FA Cup!), in 2015 we saw Manchester United qualify back into the UEFA Champions League (then in fourth, now by winning the Europa League) after a year out, Leicester City finish in the bottom half of the top-flight, an Africa Cup of Nations taking place in January (ok, that happens every two years!) and Italian champions Juventus reached the Champions League Final, where they faced the La Liga champions. Plus, Watford changed their manager, but that is more frequent than Joey Barton picking up a betting slip. Also, the FA Community Shield in 2015 was contested between Chelsea and Arsenal, so guess what will happen this August, that’s right, a repeat of the recently finished 2017 cup final, with Chelsea out for revenge for the Gunners bursting their double bubble before the season starts. Arsenal lifted the Community Shield two years ago and convincingly beat Man City in 2014. Another link to 2015 is that pop star Ariana Grande’s track ‘One Last Time’ is back in the Official British Chart at number eleven this week after a couple of years post release, just this time for a much more poignant reason, beyond music or football.

Back to the 2017 FA Cup…

Wenger is in Seven Heaven!

People can fly as many planes with ‘Wenger Out’ banners over the Emirates Stadium as they like, but no one can change the fact that the 67-year-old Frenchman is now the most successful manager in the history of the oldest club competition in world football. Wenger lifted his seventh FA Cup trophy today in sizzling North London temperatures, as the Gunners claimed a record 13th cup title and the third FA Cup in the last four seasons (2014 – 3-2 vs Hull, 2015 – 4-0 vs Aston Villa and 2017 – 2-1 vs Chelsea) – that is why they call it the ‘Emirates FA Cup’, because it barely leaves that North London ground, especially in the last few years. Unlike their last two triumphs, this campaign ended with a first finish outside the top four in 20 years for Arsenal, so another trophy on the mantelpiece comes at the cost of no Champions League football in 2017/18 for the first time under Wenger’s guidance. Many supporters still believe this should be the year that sees a ‘Wexit’ from the club, as their league position underwhelmed and they were thrashed 10-2 by Bayern Munich in Europe.

Wenger has yet to confirm whether or not he will continue at the Emirates, but rumours suggest he will sign a new two-year deal this summer. However, three trophies in four years, compared to the barren run between 2005 and 2014, as well as overtaking legendary Aston Villa manager George Ramsey in the managerial success stakes in the FA Cup with seven wins compared to the previous joint record of six he shared with him. It was also Arsenal’s number seven who inspired the latest victory over London rivals Chelsea, as unlike North London rivals Tottenham, Alexis Sanchez loves playing at Wembley. The Chile international scored a stunner in the 2015 final and was quick to get off the mark again at the home of football, as the 28-year-old former Barcelona frontman opened the scoring after 5 minutes against Antonio Conte’s champions, despite claims of handball and a delay in the goal being given, as a result of some confusion over the offside rule. Sanchez has been linked with a £50million move to Bayern Munich this summer, but sorting out his future is arguably more important than the manager’s contract. The Arsenal number seven now has seven goals in his last five Wembley starts for club and country, having also scored in the 2-1 semi-final win over Manchester City at the national stadium, in front of 90,000.

The Won of Rambo!

There is someone who enjoys playing at Wembley and FA Cup Finals even more than Alexis Sanchez and almost as much as manager Arsene Wenger, with Welsh midfielder Aaron ‘Rambo’ Ramsey scoring the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory over off-colour Chelsea. Ramsey grabbed the winner in extra time against Hull in 2014 and was at it again with a diving header finish to seal the cup from a Olivier Giroud cross. Speaking of diving, Victor Moses thought he was parting the Red Sea with a dive that left him seeing something red, but it wasn’t the sea. Instead, Moses was correctly shown a red card by referee Anthony Taylor on the 68th minute, which left the Blues with an even harder task under the Wembley arch. Moses will need to cut that out of his game if he wants to remain a first team fixture at champions Chelsea next year, as retrospective bans will be in place for diving under new rules. However, Conte’s men had hope when striker Diego Costa bundled in an equaliser on the 76th minute, only for Ramsey to put Arsenal back in control three minutes later. Costa could have scored his last goal for Chelsea at Wembley past hapless goalkeeper David Ospina, as he has been linked with a big money move to China, while we definitely know John Terry’s career is over in blue, with the 36-year-old English defender failing to make it off the bench, having exited Stamford Bridge last weekend with a controversial guard of honour after 26 minutes. If Terry was one experienced defender having a disappointing afternoon, it was the opposite for Arsenal’s ‘BFG’ (Big Friendly German), as makeshift captain Per Mertesacker put in a faultless display, despite making his first start in 13 months and only playing as a result of suspension and injury to the other Gunners defenders.

Ramsey and Sanchez scored the Wembley goals and added more medals to their collection, but unsung heroes like young defender Rob Holding and wing-back Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deserve a mention, although the day belongs Arsene Wenger, as a season where he suffered so much criticism and a first failure to qualify for the Champions League, he still manages to set records which we remain almost as long as he has at Holloway Road.

2016/17 Cup Trophy Winners across Europe on 27th May 2017:

Emirates FA Cup: Arsenal
Scottish Cup: Celtic
Copa del Rey: Barcelona
DFB-Pokal: Borussia Dortmund
French Cup: Paris St-Germain

Read: Richard Lewis’ two previous FA Cup final recaps (2015 & 2016) on FBED:

About Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis can relate almost anything to football and quite often does! You may have seen Richard's previous ideas and work in the BBC Match of the Day Magazine, from 2011 to present. He is a Manchester United and England fan, but has gone to see Leyton Orient play with his O's season ticket in the 2013/14 campaign. Aside from football, Richard has written articles on Doctor Who and studies English Language and Linguistics at the University of Westminster. Aspiring sports journalist.