Aubameyang fires Arsenal to FA Cup glory
Gunners beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley to lift the FA Cup for a record 14th time – and in doing so earn a place in next season's Europa League
01 August, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
FA Cup Final
ARSENAL 2 (Aubameyang 28 pen, 67)
CHELSEA 1 (Pulisic 5, Kovacic sent off 73)
PIERRE-EMERICK Aubameyang was once again the Arsenal hero as he scored twice against 10-man Chelsea this evening to guide the Gunners to FA Cup glory.
Skipper Aubameyang found the back of the net either side of half-time as Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1 at an eerily-empty Wembley to lift the famous trophy for a record 14th time – and with it earn a place in next season’s Europa League.
But asked if he could tell fans anything about his future, the Gabon forward refused to offer up any assurances. He said: “Nothing. Just today and the trophy. That’s it.
“I am not thinking about my future. I just want to enjoy it with the guys and take the trophy now.”
Gunners boss Arteta, however, was a lot clearer about where he sees Aubameyang’s future, insisting that he wants “to build the squad around” his star striker.
“He knows what I think about him,” said the Spaniard. “I think he wants to stay and it is just about getting the deal done.
“I think these moments will help him to realise and believe that we are on the right path and he is a big part of that. He is loved by everybody at the club. Hopefully he can continue with us.”
Arsenal captured the cup the hard way, going a goal down inside the first five minutes.
Former Gunners striker Olivier Giroud’s clever flick released Christian Pulisic, who darted into the box and skipped past Kieran Tierney before slotting past Emiliano Martinez.
Arsenal gradually found their way into the match, and equalised shortly before the half hour mark. Aubameyang raced onto a ball over the Chelsea defence and was edging towards goal before being hauled to the ground by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, and Aubameyang perfectly converted his 28th goal of the season to make it 1-1.
Chelsea’s hopes of regaining their early momentum were lost through injury with their captain Azpilicueta and goalscorer Pulisic both limping off with hamstring injuries either side of the interval.
As the Blues battled to overcome those setbacks, Aubameyang struck again. He brilliantly turned Kurt Zouma in the box before audaciously chipping the ball over keeper Willy Caballero from an acute angle.
Chelsea’s hopes of finding an equaliser were all but ended in the 73rd minute when Mateo Kovacic was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence following an innocuous challenge on Granit Xhaka.
As if winning silverware in his first ever season as a manager wasn’t sweet enough, Arteta can now look forward to a European campaign, too.
Arsenal missed out on a Europa League spot after finishing eighth in the Premier League, but winning the FA Cup means they are now in the competition after all.
In the process the Gunners have also forced their north London rivals into an early return.
Spurs were initially in the group stages of the Europa League next season, but now Arsenal take their place, and Tottenham will have to play in a series of qualifying matches, starting as early as mid-September.
Arsenal: Martinez, Holding, Luiz (Sokratis, 88), Tierney (Kolasinac, 90+13), Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Lacazette (Nketiah, 82), Aubameyang
Substitutes not used: Macey, Smith, Nelson, Torreira, Saka, Willock
Chelsea: Caballero, James, Azpilicueta (Christensen, 35), Zouma, Rudiger (Hudson-Odoi, 78), Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount (Barkley, 78), Giroud (Abraham, 78), Pulisic (Pedro, 49)
Substitutes not used: Arrizabalaga, Kante, Tomori, Emerson