Arsenal came from behind to beat Chelsea on Saturday in the FA Cup final, 2-1, qualifying for the Europa League as a result. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both goals for the Gunners, one on either side of halftime. Chelsea’s American star Christian Pulisic scored but left the game due to injury.
Pulisic scored just five minutes in to give the Blues early control, but Aubameyang scored a penalty kick in the first half and then put home a brilliant winner in the 67th minute that was a bit controversial due to a possible foul in the build-up. Chelsea finished the game with 10 men following Mateo Kovacic’s questionable red card in the second half, earning his second yellow for a challenge on Granit Xhaka.
The result is a massive one for the Gunners, who finish the season with a trophy, qualify for Europe and get revenge on their fellow London club after losing the Europa League final to them last season.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Arsenal deserved result despite poor officiating
In the end, Arsenal was the deserved winner for a few reasons. Aside from Aubameyang taking his chances, the club was simply sharper. The defense, which has long been a problem, played quite well. The Blues lacked creativity and Arsenal took control as the game went on. Now, there is no doubt the Gunners benefited from the officiating more than Chelsea did. There was the foul in the box by Cesar Azpilicueta to concede a penalty kick, which could have been given as a free kick outside the box, but that call was fine in the end.
Then there was the second goal from Arsenal where Hector Bellerin looked to have fouled Andreas Christensen in the build up, but it wasn’t given. Check out the finish though:
Kovacic’s red card was harsh, because he didn’t step on Xhaka. He actually was the one that got stepped on, and it’s baffling that VAR didn’t intervene.
In the end, Arsenal did what it had to do, but the calls went their way as well, and they’ll take it.
Who had the better season?
Let’s compare the seasons between the two, shall we?
- Chelsea: Qualified for Champions League with top-four finish in Premier League
- Arsenal: Won FA Cup, qualified for Europa League
Sure, Chelsea is still in the Champions League where it will face Bayern Munich in the round of 16 second leg trailing 3-0, but up until Saturday, the Blues were having the superior campaign.
It is all about hardware for these clubs, and Saturday’s result pushes Arsenal ahead when you look at the entire season. Sure the Blues were far better in the Premier League, but the Gunners won the match that mattered most. For Mikel Arteta, who became Arsenal’s manager in December, it was a dream end to the campaign and also increases expectations for next season.
Blues showed nothing after Pulisic’s injury
Chelsea with Pulisic on the pitch is like a roaring lion recently. Without him, the Blues are more like a cute little lion cub. There is just no bite without Pulisic in the lineup. The Blues started off strong with his goal and looked to have taken command of the game before conceding the penalty kick. But the moment Pulisic came off, the club no longer looked like a threat. Part of it was a lack of sharpness and Ross Barkley’s inability to pass, but it just goes to show how vital he is to the team. Without him, it seems impossible for a come back against Bayern Munich next week in the Champions League.
Arsenal 2, Chelsea 1 (FT)
⚽ Chelsea: Christian Pulisic (5′)
⚽ Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Penalty kick – 28′)
⚽ Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (67′)