Arsenal salvaged some silverware from a traumatic season as they beat Premier League champion Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s late winner.
Chelsea had been hot favorites to complete a remarkable debut season for manager Antonio Conte but were not at their clinical best as Arsenal, who finished fifth in the league, lifted the Cup for the third time in four seasons.
They have now won it a record 13 times while manager Arsene Wenger, who is yet to say whether he will be extending his 21-year reign, is now the most successful manager in the history of the competition with seven wins.
Chelsea made a woeful start and were behind after four minutes thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s controversial opener but when Diego Costa levelled in the 76th minute, it seemed they would complete a memorable season.
Conte’s side had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Victor Moses was dismissed following a second yellow card for diving.
Ramsey’s header in the 79th minute knocked the stuffing out of Conte’s side and Arsenal could even have extended their lead in the closing stages as Chelsea finally buckled.
Wenger, who failed to finish in the top four for the first time since taking charge in 1996, celebrated with his players in front of the massed red ranks of Arsenal fans at the end.
“We had an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards,” the 67-year-old Wenger said.
“This team has suffered. They’ve united and responded. I said last week this team will be in the championship with one or two good buys. They showed strength and unity and played spectacular football today.”
Arsenal's Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey (R) celebrates with Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin after scoring their second goal during the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley stadium in London on May 27, 2017. (AFP)