Photo: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates his second goal for Arsenal against Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday. The Gunners won the FA Cup for the 14th time with a 2-1 victory over the Blues. (Getty images)
A brace from Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was enough to give the Gunners their 14th hold on the prestigious Emirate FA Cup trophy as they came from behind to defeat Chelsea 2-1 in the showpiece final at Wembley on Saturday.
The Gabonese's first goal came from the penalty spot in the 28th minute after he was brought down by Chelsea's captain Cesar Azpilicueta after latching on to a well weighted pass from Kieran Tierney.
Aubameyang's second came in the second half when Nicholas Pepe picked him out after marauding down the right flank. He then glided past Andreas Christensen and dinked it over Willy Caballero for a 2-1 lead.
Chelsea started the game like a house on fire with a trophy in sight and a $30 million dollar purse, they were certainly up to the task. On the other hand, with a $30 million dollar prize money and a Europa Cup spot for Arsenal there was no room for error.
In only the third minute, Kurt Zouma clattered into Alexandre Lacazette to give away an early free kick. A minute later Aubameyang signaled his intent after Ainsley Maitland- Niles got behind Chelsea's high line and whipped in a dangerous cross which, Aubameyang headed wide, signalling real intent from Mikel Arteta's men.
But the breakthrough came at the other end in the 5th minute when the in-form Christian Pulisic flicked the ball over Emiliano Martinez and into the corner of the goal after receiving a crisp pass from Olivier Giroud, much to the delight of Frank Lampard.
That goal was the first by an American in an FA Cup finals and Pulisic's 11th of the season. Pulisic's goal is also Chelsea's second quickest ever goal in a FA Cup final, after Robert Di Matteo's vs Middlesbrough in 1997 in the first minute.
Chelsea continued to press, looking for more goals through the prolific Pulisic. In the 10th minute he drifted inside from the left, took the ball past Dani Ceballos as though he wasn't there and tested Martinez who was equal to the task.
Kurt Zouma, Chelsea's preferred center back, looked the part early in the game when he intercepted the skillful Pepe's pass which was meant to Aubameyang. The resulting corner was pretty poor, with Pepe sending it straight out of play for a goal kick. Apart from Pepe going close after the resumption in the 7th minute Arsenal has failed to work Caballero as much as how Martinez had been worked.
Immediately after the first cooling break Arsenal's feathers seemed ruffled by manager Arteta and the team looked more purposeful going forward.
In the 25th minute Pepe curled a first- time shot away from Caballero from 27 yards but the offside flag had gone up a couple a seconds beforehand. Chelsea's players did not look as though they had even noticed, but Pepe's goal celebration was cut short.
A minute later VAR was called into action to stand by referee Anthony Taylor's decision after he signaled penalty for a reckless challenge by Azpilicueta on Aubameyang.
Aubameyang got up brushed himself off to convert a well taken penalty sending Caballero the wrong way to level things up before the half.
Aubameyang at 31 years old became the second oldest ever goals scorer in an FA Cup finals, after Bob John vs Newcastle in 1932 (at the age of 33). Azpilicueta who gave away the penalty was forced of the field shortly after with a hamstring injury to compound his misery. This injury makes him doubtful for the start of the next season given it starts only in six weeks time.
For the final 20 minutes of the half Chelsea came under tremendous pressure and just could not get the ball under control. Arsenal played the ball well from back and kept possession for long spells. The whistle could not have came any earlier for Lampard's men as the teams went in the dressing room even on goals.
Both teams went back out with an unchanged eleven. Five minutes after the restart, Pulisic knocked the ball past Rob Holding and carried it 40 yards up the field. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, his hamstring gave way and he went down in agony.
He was later replaced by Pedro, who is expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the next few weeks. Arsenals dominance continued and they kept asking questions of Chelsea's back four. Finally they got an answer in the 67th minute when Hector Bellerin carried the ball up pitch, then Pepe took over and slipped Aubameyang through with a sublime pass on the edge of the box. Aubameyang left Christensen on the deck before his audaciously dink took the ball over Caballero for his second of the game and a 2-1 lead for the Gunners.
Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Chelsea. With two players off due to injuries, Mateo Kovacic picked up a second yellow card (controversially) and was sent off following an incredibly harsh call. Chelsea were now being stretched and kept the Gunners at bay while they hunted for an equalizer, but were hit by another hammer blow.
Substitute Pedro who came close to scoring earlier, suffered a dislocated shoulder and was given oxygen and then stretchered off. This may possibly put his proposed move to Roma in limbo.
With 13 minute added time Arteta quickly made a defensive change to sure up the back and see out the game. The victory for Arsenal is their third in a row over Chelsea in FA Cup finals. The win also ensures they will compete in next season's Europa League.