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FA Cup Final: Match Report



Aubameyang double see’s Arsenal claim record 14th FA Cup


The FA Cup Final brought closure to the English season, after the Premier League came to an end a week ago. A London Derby in the final had every fan excited and on the edge of their seats. Arsenal pulled out a shocker against Manchester City side in the semi-final, who were disastrous at the back for the whole match. Chelsea on the other hand got past the Red side of Manchester. Chelsea showed their dominance throughout the match and got a much deserved result.

Both, Arsenal and Chelsea, have defensive problems but are equally good in the attack. We saw what Arsenal can go on the counter against City, they were compact and all players helped in defending, preventing City from scoring a single goal. Chelsea managed to score 3 past United and conceded only 1 goal. Looking at their performance in the Premier League, Chelsea just had a little edge over their rivals. Let us look into the match and try to break it down.


Chelsea’s Starting 11

There weren’t many surprises in the Chelsea lineup as they started with Caballero in goal. Lampard went with three at the back, Azpilicueta, Zouma and Rudiger. These three central defenders have been the best for the Blues. With the formation of 3-4-3, Reece James and Marcos Alonso started in the right and left wing-back positions with Jorginho and Kovacic playing in front of that back three.

Lampard went the in-form trio upfront. Pulisic on the left side, Mount on the right and Giroud as the No.9. Even though Kante was declared fit by Lampard, he didn’t start. Kante would have provided more security in defense but Lampard was not going to a risk him with his injury.

“It worries me that we as a club, as a team, think we achieved something last week by finishing in the top four, we are happy with that but that’s gone now. We don’t consider what it means for Arsenal – we want to win the match.” Lampard was critical before the final.

Pedro, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Barkley were on the bench. A name that was missing was that of Willian, who has been rumored with a move away from the Stamford Bridge. Lampard would try to crowd the midfield and allow Pulisic and Giroud to run behind Arsenal’s defense.


Arsenal’s Starting 11

Arteta also went with three at the back, Holding, David Luiz and Tierney. The tried and tested trio of Aubameyang, Pepe and Lacazette started. In the midfield, it was Bellerin on the right hand side and Maitland-Niles on the left. Saka was expected to start on the left after some good displays,with the selection of Maitland-Niles up for debate. The two midfielders to start were Dani Ceballos and Xhaka. Not many surprises from the starting 11 of Arsenal.

“Everyone’s worked so hard since I joined here to try to bring this club back to winning titles so if we can achieve that, I will be delighted” Arteta wanted to win the FA Cup for the fans and the players.

Pulisic going against Holding in a one-on-on situation might cause some trouble to Arteta’s side. On the other hand Bellerin could attack on the right side and with his pace he can also run behind the defense of Chelsea. Tierney and Luiz would be very important in that back three.


Match Analysis

First Half

It was an exciting first half at Wembley. It was nice start for Arsenal as the first chance of the match came to Aubameyang in the form of a header, which he put wide. Then it was Chelsea’s turn to take over and what a way to do it. As expected, Chelsea crowded the midfield. Pulisic played a good ball thorough to Mount, who played a nice grounded pass into Giroud who played a back-pass for Pulisic, who scored with a nice finish. Chelsea were one up within five minutes. But after the goal momentum started to shift towards Arsenal.

Maitland-Niles was making some good runs on the far side, where most of the Arsenal’s attack was coming from. One such attack lead to a penalty for Arsenal. A nice lobbed pass from the back released Aubameyang. Azpilicueta tried his best to catch him but instead gave away a penalty. Aubameyang took the penalty calmly and finished it in the corner. The match was level again. Later in the half Azpilicueta had to go off the pitch, which looked like a muscle injury making way for Christensen.

Apart from that goal from Chelsea, Arsenal were clearly dominant in that first half. A half which could have resulted in few more goals, a 1-1 scoreline looked quite fair. It was Lampard who had more to work aligned at the half-time break.


Second Half

The match resumed and in the first minute of second half we saw another Chelsea player go off with a muscle injury, this time it was Pulisic. Chelsea were controlling the second half with some nice crisp passing and putting continuous pressure on the Arsenal defense. Reece James was seen coming forward at times and trying his luck. Mount was getting more involved on the ball, making runs behind. Like against City, it took one chance for Arsenal to get the 2nd goal. An amazing counter attack lead by Bellerin, ending with a chip from Aubameyang.

It was the 72nd minute which saw Kovacic receive his 2nd yellow of the night. It was falling apart for Chelsea, a man down and no Pulisic or Azpilicueta on the pitch. Arsenal were putting pressure on Chelsea, putting in crosses from both the sides. Arsenal were closing in on their 14th FA Cup title.  Chelsea called upon all their resources, using all of their 5 substitutions. Even with 10 men, Chelsea were trying their best but still could not break Arsenal’s defense. As the final whistle was blown, it was the Gunners who were celebrating.

A nice match, with a bit of luck on Arsenal’s side saw them lift their 14th FA Cup title at Wembley. Lampard would be disappointed but it was not his team’s day. Arteta sealed a Europa League spot with the win.


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