Arsenal beats Chelsea to clinch record-extending 14th FA CUP

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clinched a record-extending 14th FA Cup for Arsenal on Saturday, scoring twice in a 2-1 victory in opposition to Chelsea at an empty Wembley Stadium.

Christian Pulisic had turn out to be the primary American man to attain in an FA Cup last however his fifth-minute opener was cancelled out by Aubameyang’s penalty within the 28th minute after he was dragged down by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

A 12 months into this pandemic-disrupted, longest-ever English season, Azpilicueta hobbled off injured in tears earlier than halftime. Pulisic solely lasted a minute after the break earlier than additionally pulling up with an obvious hamstring damage.

With Chelsea unsettled by the accidents, Arsenal took management and Aubameyang chipped goalkeeper Willy Caballero from shut vary within the 67th.

It not solely sealed Arsenal’s fourth FA Cup in seven seasons however a spot within the Europa League, having solely completed eighth within the Premier League.

Chelsea’s hopes of forcing the sport into further time have been dealt a blow when Mateo Kovacic obtained a second yellow card within the 73rd after softly catching Granit Xhaka. Chelsea completed with 9 males in stoppage time when Pedro was compelled off with a shoulder damage.

Frank Lampard can nonetheless full his first season as Chelsea supervisor by lifting a trophy however it could require the west London membership first overturning a 3-Zero deficit in opposition to Bayern Munich within the Champions League last-16 subsequent Saturday.

However in solely his 28th sport in control of Arsenal, Mikel Arteta received the FA Cup — simply as he did as a participant in 2014 and 2015.

“It was loads of religion to convey me right here and rebuild one thing particular,” mentioned Arteta, who changed Unai Emery in December. “Hopefully we made the followers proud.”

The coronavirus pandemic restrictions meant this 90,000-capacity stadium featured no followers.

There couldn’t even be a trophy presentation as ordinary within the Royal Field as a result of social distancing after this 139th FA Cup last. The gamers needed to get their very own medals earlier than captain Aubameyang collected the cup on the pitch.

“I noticed him strolling with the underside bit hooked up,” Arsenal defender Rob Holding mentioned, “and I used to be like, `You’ll want to take that off!”‘

A contest that started on Aug. 9, 2019, that includes groups from ninth and 10th tiers, ended later than it had ever accomplished earlier than — two months later than the ultimate was scheduled.

By no means earlier than had the FA Cup last been staged with out followers.

When the staff buses arrived, only one man in an Arsenal supporter was singing by the doorway.

Contained in the stadium, not even the standard cup last anthem — “Abide With Me” — was sung dwell. As a substitute a pre-recorded model was performed out, devoted to the victims of COVID-19 and racial injustice and carried out by Emeli Sande on the stadium roof.

“Love Justice Unity” appeared on the massive display screen on the stadium exterior that appears down Wembley Method the place the one crowds have been heading into the shopping center.

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