Glory for Gunners! Arsenal’s No 14 secures their 14th FA Cup title as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabs both goals to help Mikel Arteta’s men come from behind against London rivals Chelsea
- Arsenal have won the FA Cup for the 14th time after defeating London rivals Chelsea at Wembley Stadium
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice provided the goods, hitting a brace to send Arsenal on their way to victory
- Chelsea opened the scoring after just five minutes after a neat move was finished by Christian Pulisic
- Cezar Azpilicueta hauled down Aubameyang to give away a penalty, which the striker then scored
- Mateo Kovacic saw red on 72 minutes after referee Anthony Taylor issued him with a second yellow card
In the blasted landscape of a near-deserted Wembley, in front of the blank gaze of battalions of empty seats at the first FA Cup Final to be played without fans, an Arsenal team that has been withering and dying bloomed again like a red rose in a desert.
This is a cold climate for football and for our society but Arsenal have found love in it.
Most of all, they played like a team that has learned to love itself again. For as long as anyone can remember, certainly through the declining years of Arsene Wenger’s management, they looked like a team ill-at-ease, uncertain and vulnerable.
Finally, in our empty stadiums and sterile atmosphere, they have started to look like a team that is learning to enjoy its football again.
Arsenal have won the FA Cup for the 14th time after defeating London rivals Chelsea at Wembley Stadium
The Gunners have won the world’s oldest football competition trophy more times than any other English club
There was an awkward moment before the lift, as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped the famous silverware
Smiles burst out as the Gunners celebrated, while Aubameyang improvised by holding the trophy’s base upside down
Mikel Arteta now has his first piece of silverware as Arsenal manager after just seven months in charge at the Emirates
The Spaniard held the famous trophy with his star striker, and later admitted he was hopeful Aubameyang will be staying
Arsenal players huddled together at the final whistle after being confirmed FA Cup winners for a historic 14th time
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was overcome with emotion at the final whistle and burst into tears on the pitch
ARSENAL (3-4-3): Martinez 6; Holding 6, Luiz 7, Tierney 6; Bellerin 6, Ceballos 7, Xhaka 6, Maitland-Niles 7; Pepe 7, Aubameyang 9, Lacazette 6
Subs – Sokratis (on for Luiz 88), Nketiah (on for Lacazette 82), Kolasinac (on for Tierney 90+13)
Unused subs – Macey, Torreira, Nelson, Willock, Smith, Saka
Manager – Mikel Arteta 8
CHELSEA (3-4-2-1): Caballero 6; Azpilicueta 5, Zouma 6, Rudiger 5; James 6, Jorginho 5, Kovacic 5, Alonso 5; Mount 6, Pulisic 6; Giroud 6
Subs – Christensen 6 (on for Azpilicueta 34 mins), Pedro 5 (on for Pulisic 49 mins), Hudson-Odoi (on for Rudiger 78mins), Barkley (on for Mount 78), Abraham (on for Giroud 78)
Unused subs – Kepa, Kante, Tomori, Emerson
Manager – Frank Lampard 6
Referee – Anthony Taylor 6
When they came from behind to beat Chelsea and win the FA Cup for a record 14th time, their victory seemed to mean an awful lot more than qualifying for the Europa League next season.
It meant their quarter of a century of participation in European competition will continue but more than that, amid all the gloom of these troubled and strange times, it signalled hope and optimism for their future.
This victory, coupled with the semi-final triumph over Manchester City, has wiped out the disappointment of their eighth place finish in the Premier League and has brought huge credit to their rookie boss Mikel Arteta.
They have momentum going into next season. They look like a team that knows what it is doing again. They look like a team that is ready to stop being a laughing stock.
They look like a team that has finally had enough of being mocked by opponents like Troy Deeney for not having the bottle to stand up for themselves.
Perhaps the empty stadiums have given them space to breathe. Perhaps it is no coincidence that they have begun to flourish away from an Emirates Stadium that can quickly turn toxic.
Arteta and his players certainly celebrated like this was a result of huge significance. It may also help that, after falling behind to an early goal from Christian Pulisic, they overhauled Chelsea with two goals from their captain, talisman and prolific striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arteta and Arsenal are trying to persuade Aubameyang to sign a new contract. A victory like this could be a strong persuader.
The defeat ruined Frank Lampard’s hopes of ending his debut season at Stamford Bridge on a high but Chelsea’s Champions League place was already secure and he can still look back on what he has achieved with great satisfaction.
In Pulisic, the first American to score in an FA Cup Final, he has a player who looks as if he will light up the league next season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s deft chipped effort midway through the second half turned out to be the match-winning strike
Aubameyang sent Kurt Zouma the wrong way before delicately flicking the ball up and over Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero
The striker pulled off his trademark front flip celebration after putting his side in the driving seat in the Wembley Stadium final
The game had been turned on its head after Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic was sent off for a second yellow offence
Referee Anthony Taylor showed Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta a yellow card on the sidelines during the tense final
Chelsea brought Pedro on as a late sub, but the Spaniard got injured in his final match for the club and needed a stretcher
A final that started with pop star Emeli Sande being projected on to the big screens singing Abide With Me from high on the stadium roof ended with Aubameyang picking the famous old trophy up from a plinth and carrying it over to his waiting teammates.
He dropped it before he had had time to hoist it. Arsenal will forgive him. As they celebrated, the tinny strains of Good Old Arsenal bounced around the vast expanse of the home of English football and the Arsenal players began an awkward lap of honour.
Arsenal forged their first chance inside three minutes with a lovely move that started deep in their own half when Kieran Tierney dropped his shoulder to deceive Mason Mount and floated a pass down the left wing for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to chase. Maitland-Niles got to the byline, cut back and curled in a cross which Aubameyang headed wide from six yards out when he should have scored.
Two minutes later, though, Chelsea were ahead. Pulisic has sometimes seemed like an unstoppable, uncontainable force in the matches since the restart and now he played both architect and executioner for the opening goal.
He took the ball in midfield on the half-turn, sprinted forwards and laid the ball out to Mount. Mount played it inside to Olivier Giroud who helped it on and Pulisic skipped past Tierney’s tentative challenge and clipped a clever finish over Emiliano Martinez.
Earlier, Aubameyang had got Arsenal back into the tie after sending Willy Caballero the wrong way from the penalty spot
The Gabon international kept his cool and stepped up to side-foot the ball into the bottom right corner of the Chelsea goal
Arsenal fans roared in the nearby Wembley Boxpark, where the match was screened for a select amount of spectators
Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic had set the match alight with a well-worked opening goal after just five minutes of play
Pulisic finished off a sublime move which he helped create by driving up through the middle of the field
The American finished the effort by slotting the ball past helpless Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez
Pulisic slid to his knees in the corner of the Wembley pitch and let out a roar of delight after getting on the scoresheet
Pulisic was joined by team-mates and Olivier Giroud (far right), who provided the assist with a delicate back-heeled flick
Kovacic was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a lunging tackle on Granit Xhaka and even though Pulisic was still causing Arsenal problems, Arteta’s team began to claw their way back into the game after the drinks break when they started to hit more long balls to exploit the space behind the Chelsea defence.
Nicolas Pepe thought he had scored one of the great goals in FA Cup Final history when his curling left foot shot from the edge of the area bulged the net but it was ruled out for offside against Maitland-Niles earlier in the move.
Arsenal were not discouraged, though. Maitland-Niles was causing problems down the Chelsea right and just before half an hour, they targeted the same flank and forced an equaliser. This time, it was Aubameyang who ran on to a long ball from Tierney.
He got the wrong side of Cesar Azpilicueta and even though Azpilicueta appeared to drag him back outside the box, there was enough contact inside the box for the referee to award a penalty and for VAR to confirm it. Aubameyang dispatched it past Willy Caballero with aplomb.
Azpilicueta, who was shown a yellow card for his foul on Aubameyang, was substituted with an injury ten minutes before half time and his replacement, Andreas Christensen, nearly gave away a penalty when he was bamboozled by Pepe and tripped him on the edge of the area in injury time. Alexandre Lacazette drove the free kick inches wide.
But later in the match Pulisic had to withdraw, after pulling up in agony and appeared to have damaged his hamstring
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard began to toil on the touchline as his side lost their footing in the showpiece fixture
An eerie backdrop void of supporters had greeted the two teams as they headed out onto the pitch to warm up
The iconic Wembley way stood uncharacteristically silent on final day, as fans were not permitted due to the pandemic
Prior to kick-off singer Emeli Sande performed a rendition of ‘Abide with me’ from the roof of the national stadium
A minute after the interval, Pulisic began the second half as he had the first, bursting through the Arsenal defence and bearing down on goal. Thirty yards out, the American forward began to grimace in pain. He kept going long enough to slice a shot wide but then he collapsed to the ground in agony with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was taken off and will surely be a doubt for Chelsea’s Champions League second round second leg tie against Bayern Munich on Friday.
Arsenal were still playing with poise, though. They looked like they were relishing the game. Their attitude was personified when Pepe took the ball midway on the half way line with his back to goal and flicked it through Antonio Rudiger’s legs with a backheel. It was champagne football mixed with pragmatism. Altogether most unlike the Arsenal we have come to know in recent years.
Just before the second drinks break, Arsenal took the lead. The ball broke to Hector Bellerin inside his own half and he drove forward, bursting past Rudiger towards the edge of the Chelsea box. Christensen brought a sudden end to his run with a perfectly timed tackle but the ball broke to Pepe on the Arsenal right.
Pepe saw Aubameyang in space on the left and played the ball across the area to him. Aubameyang squared up Kurt Zouma, jinked past him and lifted an expert finish past Caballero.
Chelsea’s chances suffered another blow five minutes later when Kovacic fouled Xhaka again and was sent off for a second bookable offence by Anthony Taylor. Arsenal suffered one alarm when Martinez appeared to have gathered the ball outside his box but Mr Taylor waved play on and the comeback was soon complete.
Here’s how the FA Cup final action unfolded with Sportsmail’s DAN DAVIS.
We’ve reached the end of Sportsmail’s live coverage of the FA Cup final!
Arsenal emerged victorious for a 14th time thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double, and their celebrations are certain to stretch long into the night.
Thanks for sticking with us, take care.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was left crestfallen with his side’s frustrating display at Wembley.
He told the BBC: ‘We started well for 10-15 mins, score a goal, chances, control the game. We can only blame ourselves from that point in football terms.
‘We started to take our time, play short passes like it’s a stroll, a final can never be a stroll. A lot of today was on us. There are some elements in our game that we’ve worked on all year, but some bits are in you as a group.
‘United we moved the ball, hit the sides, today we were slow, invited pressure. We didn’t perform well enough to win a final.’
Mikel Arteta has just told the BBC that he thinks Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay with Arsenal.
He said: ‘Aubameyang knows what I think about him, I want to build the squad around him. I think he wants to stay. It’s about getting the deal done.
‘Moments like today will help him to realise and believe we are on the right path and that he is a big part of it.
‘He’s loved by everybody at the club so hopefully he can continue with him. I think he will continue.’
Arsenal are bound to enjoy this for hours to come!
It feels like dropping the trophy immediately after you’ve won it is the hottest trend in football! Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang is the latest to commit the gaffe.
The photo below says it all, although i’m sure he won’t mind too much.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang refused to comment on his Arsenal future in his post-match interview, and BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand believes the striker will be leaving this summer.
He said: ‘I think he’s [Aubameyang] gone from that reaction. He’s already decided, “I’m going to enjoy this with my team-mates”. He sounds like someone who is going elsewhere.
‘Arsenal need to do all they can to keep him. He was unbelievable, Jesus. The Arsenal fans adore him. Is he going to find that elsewhere in his career?’
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has just lifted the trophy, spoke to BBC Sport after the game and lauded goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
He said: ‘Big respect for this man, big respect. We enjoyed today, happy as you see, Emi is crying, it shows he’s really implicated in this game and this trophy. All happy.
‘He deserved this win, did a great job, and we are all happy to be on board. (Kurt) Zouma knows me well, right footed, so I went on the left.’
It’s a tough one to take for Chelsea. They took the lead through Christian Pulisic, but looked shell shocked and deflated after their American talisman injured his hamstring early in the second half.
They will have their runners-up medals distributed behind the scenes due to coronavirus protocols.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has become the first person to win the FA Cup as both a player and a manager.
The FA Cup trophy is usually hoisted into the sky in the Royal Box, but not today.
Arsenal will instead enjoy the usual celebrations on the field.
That’s a 14th triumph for Arsenal now in this competition. They have sensationally won 10 per cent of all FA Cups throughout history.
It’s jubilation for Arsenal and agony for Chelsea at Wembley. That was a truly thrilling final!
Christian Pulisic had lofted Frank Lampard’s men into an early lead, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice to complete Arsenal’s comeback.
Mikel Arteta has a taste of silverware in his first season in charge at the Emirates, and Arsenal have also secured Europa League football for the next campaign.
90+7min: Pedro won’t be able to see this one out. He has been stretchered off and is being given air. It looked like a horrible shoulder injury, and that’s another cruel blow for Frank Lampard and his coaching staff.
Sead Kolasinac is about to be introduced for Arsenal as they look to kill a few more seconds.
90+6min: Pedro is down and clutching his shoulder. The substitute ran into Sokratis inside the penalty area, and the Arsenal defender was able to shepherd the ball back to Emiliano Martinez.
Chelsea appealed for a foul right on the edge of the box just before then after Nicolas Pepe challenged Pedro, but the referee deemed there was nothing doing.
90+5min: Two minutes left at Wembley. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been announced as the man of the match over the tannoy.
90+2min: Chelsea need to get shots away now to haul themselves level. It sounds simple enough, but they haven’t mustered an attempt on target since the start of the second half.
Emiliano Martinez has plucked another ball out of the air from Pedro’s delivery to steady the ship.
90min: There will be SEVEN minutes added time here! Marcos Alonso’s cross deflected behind for a Chelsea corner, but Emiliano Martinez fielded superbly. He’s been outstanding since Bernd Leno’s injury.
89min: Ross Barkley has been booked after challenging Eddie Nketiah right in front of referee Anthony Taylor. Time is running out for Chelsea and, as it stands, they look unlikely to get that leveller.
87min: Sokratis is on in place of the injured David Luiz after a bit of faffing around. He wasn’t immediately prepared to come on, but finally jogged on to the field after a classic piece of time wasting.
85min: David Luiz is down holding his leg and requires treatment.
Arsenal are edging ever closer to winning the FA Cup once again, and also clinching a spot in the Europa League next season. What a turnaround that would be for Mikel Arteta.
82min: Alexandre Lacazette has been replaced by Eddie Nketiah in Arsenal’s first switch of the evening.
81min: VAR scare for Arsenal and their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez! Tammy Abraham was certain the stopper handled the ball outside his area after a long punt forward, but a check showed that he gathered narrowly on the right side of the line.
79min: Chelsea have made a triple substitution. Ross Barkley, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi have replaced Mason Mount, Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger.
Arsenal are yet to make their first change.
77min: History at the national stadium. Mikel Arteta has become the first manager to be booked in an FA Cup final after a confrontation with Antonio Rudiger. The Chelsea defender was also shown a yellow card as tensions flared.
75min: It really is all kicking off at Wembley! The players took their second drinks break after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double and Andreas Christensen required treatment after clattering into Hector Bellerin.
The Arsenal full back played a key role in that goal, having hurtled forwards down the field before being tackled. The ball then fell loose to Pepe, and the rest is history.
73min: Mateo Kovacic has been sent off! Chelsea are falling apart, but that looked harsh. The midfielder was booked earlier, and was handed his marching orders after tackling Granit Xhaka.
67min: That’s a delightful finish! The Arsenal talisman has done it again, and Mikel Arteta’s men have come from behind at Wembley!
Nicolas Pepe had raced towards the Chelsea penalty area and laid the ball across for the waiting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The frontman jinked beyond Kurt Zouma and chipped an audacious effort over Willy Caballero and into the far corner. Breathtaking.
65min: Mason Mount has drifted several times into a dangerous position in and around the Arsenal backline. His flashed delivery from the left was wasted after none of his team-mates gambled.
62min: Pedro teed up Reece James on the edge of Arsenal’s penalty area after running into David Luiz, but the wing back blazed high and wide of the target.
Frank Lampard has plenty to ponder over the next five minutes or so. He has just one more opportunity to make a substitute after the two injuries, and can still bring on three more players.
58min: The action is flowing from end to end! Arsenal broke away down the right side and attempted to carve out an opening for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Alexandre Lacazette’s pass was slightly behind his strike partner, however, and Andreas Christensen did well to close down the shot.
57min: Chelsea looked to spring Mason Mount through on the counter after winning the ball back quickly. Jorginho lofted a delicate pass over the top, but Mount was unable to control cleanly and Emiliano Martinez gathered.
54min: It’s been very stop-start since the second half got underway. There will be cause for concern for Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta with both teams playing their way through midfield with ease so far.
52min: Christian Pulisic had clutched his hamstring straight away after curling wide of the far post a couple of minutes ago, but clearly picked up the nasty injury a few strides before his shot.
He endured the last few steps before falling to the turf.
50min: The substitute Pedro was involved straight away after haring down the left-hand side. His cross was deflected behind for a corner, but Emiliano Martinez rose highest to take a comfortable catch.
48min: Christian Pulisic has been replaced by Pedro, who is playing his final game for Chelsea today before joining Roma.
47min: This is not a good sight for Chelsea fans. Christian Pulisic weaved his way around Rob Holding midway inside the Arsenal half and then curled wide of the far post.
But the winger felt his hamstring go immediately, and even appeared in pain as he took the shot. He has been helped off the field by two medics and looks to be distraught. What a shame.
46min: Welcome back to Wembley, where the second half is now underway!
Let’s hope for more of the same!
Mikel Arteta was caught on camera delivering one final rallying cry before sending his players back out.
It was Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who wheeled away in celebration after firing his side level this evening.
Their fans will be hoping that’s a sight they can enjoy for many years to come.
That was a pulsating half of football! Both teams have gone hell for leather when flooding forward and equally look shaky at the back.
Christian Pulisic chipped Chelsea into an early lead after five minutes following a lovely piece of footwork inside the box.
But Arsenal then did well to haul themselves back level. Cesar Azpilicueta conceded a penalty after hauling down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the skipper tucked home from the spot.
After that, it has been all Arsenal and they are unlucky not to be leading! Join us for the second half very soon.
45+4min: Bit of a bizarre booking for Mason Mount. The Chelsea forward tussled with Dani Ceballos and was shown a yellow card, even though replays showed there was very little contact.
45+3min: David Luiz launched a long punt forward in search of the early ball for Arsenal’s strikers, but the ball was too powerful and fell through to Willy Caballero.
Chelsea will likely be relieved to enter the interval on level terms and have Mateo Kovacic to thank for that. The midfielder has kept his composure superbly as Arsenal continued to flood forward.
45+1min: There will be five added minutes at the end of the first half.
45min: Alexandre Lacazette took it this time but fired wide of the far post with a venomous effort. That was a difficult position to try your luck, to be fair to the Arsenal striker. The set piece had been awarded a matter of inches outside the penalty area.
43min: Nicolas Pepe is causing Chelsea all sorts of problems. The wideman looked to dance his way around Andreas Christensen, but the defender hauled him down right on the edge of the box at the expense of a free kick.
42min: Mikel Arteta’s men are well on top now as we edge towards the break. Nicolas Pepe’s cross was floated towards Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the far post, but a flapping Willy Caballero was able to use his fingertips to divert the ball away for a corner.
Pepe was then afforded space to shoot after Chelsea failed to clear their lines, but his powerful strike was blocked by the substitute Andreas Christensen.
40min: Nicolas Pepe looked to hand Arsenal back the momentum shortly after. The tricky winger cleverly threaded the ball through a defender’s legs before jinking on to his left boot, but he was unable to squeeze a shot away before being robbed of possession.
38min: After a slight reshuffle in Chelsea’s backline, Mason Mount teed up Jorginho at the other end. The midfielder could only side-foot over the crossbar with Marcos Alonso in his way.
35min: Cesar Azpilicueta’s race is run. The Chelsea skipper went down with what appeared to be a nasty hamstring injury and has been replaced by Andreas Christensen. Insult to injury for the defender, who looked to be in tears as he limped off.
28min: Arsenal are level from the spot! It’s that man again, Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang who confidently stepped up before firing into the bottom left corner. Willy Caballero guessed the right way but was helpless.
27min: Well then, we’ve had yet more drama! Arsenal have a spot kick after Cesar Azpilicueta fouled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang!
The Chelsea skipper misjudged the flight of the ball over the top of the defence and always appeared in danger.
He was penalised for leaning into the Gunners striker, and a lengthy VAR checked rubber-stamped the referee’s decision. Azpilicueta was also booked for his troubles.
25min: Nicolas Pepe’s stunning finish has been chalked off. The winger fired into the top corner, but the linesman’s flag had been raised before the ball hurtled beyond Willy Caballero.
23min: We’ve just had our first drinks break of the evening. Frank Lampard will certainly be the happier of the two managers, but there have also been signs of encouragement for his opposite number Mikel Arteta. Plenty of time left in this one.
20min: That was better from Arsenal. Their backline has appeared startled, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, when Christian Pulisic has raced towards them but they kept their composure well in a tight spot to play out.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles then found himself with the ball at his feet from a tight crossing angle at the other end, but he stumbled under pressure from Cesar Azpilicueta and Chelsea were handed a goal kick.
17min: Arsenal were awarded another free kick, this time in a more dangerous spot, after Mateo Kovacic was penalised again.
Dani Ceballos tried his luck but skewed his effort over the crossbar.
Danny Murphy on BBC commentary duty believed that one was flying in for a split second.
15min: Mateo Kovacic has been booked early on by referee Anthony Taylor after clattering Granit Xhaka in the centre of the park. No holds barred on that one.
13min: It’s well and truly been the dream start for neutrals! Both sides have looked dangerous when springing forward, but it’s that moment of brilliance from Christian Pulisic that separates them.
11min: Christian Pulisic is lighting up Wembley! The winger went off on another dazzling run at the Arsenal backline, and forced Emiliano Martinez into a simple save.
Nicolas Pepe tested Willy Caballero at the other end just a minute after Pulisic had opened the scoring.
5min: Wow! Chelsea take the lead! It was a flowing move from Frank Lampard’s men, and Christian Pulisic finished beautifully.
Mason Mount cut a ball across the box for Olivier Giroud after a drive forward from midfield, and the frontman cleverly flicked across to Pulisic.
The American did the rest, cutting beyond the defender and poking home.
4min: Chelsea almost struck back immediately. Mason Mount curled an effort towards the far corner from the edge of the box, but Emiliano Martinez flew to his left to palm clear.
Olivier Giroud was fuming with his team-mate and believed he could have been slotted clear on goal instead. Lightning start to this one!
3min: The first chance has fallen to Arsenal! Ainsley Maitland-Niles did superbly to wriggle his way into a crossing position from a long punt forward, and his delivery was nodded wide by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
2min: Both teams are easing their way into this one. Remember they have matched each other in formation.
1min: We are underway for this year’s FA Cup final!
Both teams and the match officials had gathered around the centre circle for a minute before the first whistle went to acknowledge the Heads Up campaign – which is to raise awareness of the nation’s mental health.
The two teams have emerged from the Wembley tunnel and are lined up for the national anthem. That has been belted out by the socially distant British Youth Opera.
Prince William can’t give a prediction for this one because of his role as FA President, but he has tipped there to be plenty of goals.
Let’s hope he’s right!
‘Abide with Me’ has been performed, as is tradition ahead of the FA Cup final, by award-winning artist Emeli Sande on top of Wembley. It was pre-recorded but spectacular nonetheless.
Arsenal XI: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Substitutes: Macey, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Smith, Willock, Nelson, Saka, Nketiah
Chelsea XI: Caballero; James, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Giroud, Pulisic
Substitutes: Kepa, Christensen, Tomori, Emerson, Kante, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Abraham
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is well aware that history is written by the victor. He’s had his fair share of highs and lows in finals, let’s not forget, and will certainly be hoping to make more memories tonight in the strangest of circumstances.
He told BBC Sport: ‘This is the new normal but hopefully not for the long term. I think we’ve got used to it. It means we can focus more on what happens on the pitch. We miss our fans but we can’t let the lack of crowd affect us. It’s a huge game.
‘If you lose the final you are very quickly forgotten and we are here. I do have experience of good finals and not so good ones. You can lose a final but it can’t be on us and how we prepare and come out. It feels like they are ready.’
Both sides are currently going through the gears on that hallowed Wembley turf.
We’re just over 20 mins away from kick off!
Research from bookmaker William Hill has discovered that history will be on Chelsea’s side ahead of this one!
Both Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta are targeting a trophy in their maiden seasons in charge of their clubs – and it has been revealed that nine Chelsea managers have won a major piece of silverware in their debut campaigns compared to Arsenal’s one in the last 50 years.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has told BBC Sport that it was difficult to pick a team for this evening, and wants to win the trophy because silverware is ingrained into the ‘history’ of the club.
He said: ‘It will be so special. Basically, for our players, our staff and our fans we know it has been a difficult season so it will be a great way to end it.
‘It’s the history of this football club – the demands are so high. We have a chance to lift a trophy today so let’s go for it and the future will look so much better.
‘It’s what we have. At least we have the opportunity to play. It’s such an honour to be in this competition and in the final so let’s enjoy it.
‘This last week, they were all putting everything into every training session so it was hard to pick. We need everybody.’
Olivier Giroud is hoping he can add another FA Cup trophy to his collection with Chelsea today. He of course has already won it with Arsenal in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and also managed to lift it with the Blues in 2018.
He told BBC Sport: ‘I had the chance to win three FA Cup finals with Arsenal, but one with Chelsea already. I hope another one today. It’s going to be a special game for me but i’ll be focused on the game. I just want to win with Chelsea and that’s what matters.
‘When you have a great atmosphere at Wembley with the stadium in two parts it’s amazing. We miss our fans but we have to deal with it.
‘The most important thing is to win. If I score it means i’ll help the team to win. I just try to be efficient and decisive for the team.’
Perhaps the understatement of the year from Granit Xhaka, who is hopeful Arsenal will seize the chance to secure Europa League football for next season this evening.
He told BT Sport: ‘It’s been a crazy season but we have a chance to qualify for the Europa League. Mikel (Arteta) has had a big impact on our side. If we believe in ourselves we can beat anyone.’
The Arsenal fans packed into Boxpark outside Wembley are already having a great day, but it could yet get even better for them!
Both teams have arrived at Wembley and are taking in the sights before the warm ups begin!
It’s the casual look all round. Arsenal have turned up in open neck shirts (much to the dismay of club legend Ian Wright!), and their opponents are in tracksuits.
It’s a case of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it for Frank Lampard! He has named the exact same starting XI that beat Wolves last weekend.
That, of course, means that Willy Caballero is given the nod between the sticks once again. Kepa Arrizabalaga will have to settle for a spot on the bench.
Mikel Arteta has made one change to the side that beat Watford on the final day of the Premier League season. Hector Bellerin comes in for Joe Willock.
Starting XI: Caballero; James, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Giroud, Pulisic
Substitutes: Kepa, Christensen, Tomori, Emerson, Kante, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Abraham
Starting XI: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Substitutes: Macey, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Smith, Willock, Nelson, Saka, Nketiah
The team news for the FA Cup Final will drop in just a couple of minutes…
How are you feeling, Arsenal and Chelsea fans?
Here’s a sneak peak at the matchday programme, courtesy of Sportsmail’s Oliver Holt.
It really is a shame that supporters won’t be able to watch this historic clash in person, but remember you can watch it on BBC One or BT Sport 1.
Let’s hope it goes down as a classic despite the strange circumstances!
Arsenal have arrived!
Mikel Arteta will be hoping to win his first piece of silverware as their head coach this evening, don’t forget.
We’ll find out who he has selected to start for this one in just ten minutes.
Arsenal and Chelsea in the FA Cup final… sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Both these sides have met in this showdown three times before, with Arsenal coming out on top in the previous two.
Will it be a similar result tonight?
The shirts are up inside the Arsenal dressing room, waiting for the players to pull on before they step out under the famous Wembley arch…
And there’s a few legends of yesteryear in here!
Chelsea and Arsenal meet this Saturday evening in the FA Cup final at what will be an eerily empty Wembley.
But while the supporters must stay away, it promises to be an entertaining contest with both Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta desperate to win their first trophy in management.
This will be the fifth time the two clubs have met in a cup final this century and the third time in the FA Cup final.
We take a look back at the previous four encounters here.
They won’t be allowed in, but that has not stopped them from congregating outside Wembley in their numbers on what is the biggest day of their season.
Another picture showed more fans queuing up to get into BOXPARK nice and early ahead of tonight’s 5.30pm kick-off.
Arsenal have won both the previous FA Cup final meetings against Chelsea, the first in 2002 and in 2017.
Both teams have very good records in the FA Cup in recent years, between them the two clubs have won eight out of the last 13 finals to be held at the new Wembley.
Chelsea have won seven of their last FA Cup finals, while Arsenal have won eight of their last nine, six in a row. You’ve got to say these two clubs have the best FA Cup record of any in recent years.
Olivier Giroud is a man I think could threaten Arsenal today, he’s scored for them in the FA Cup final in 2015 and he could be the second player to score for two clubs in the FA Cup final, the only other player to have done this is Frank Stapleton, who scored for Arsenal against Manchester United in 1979 and then for United against Brighton in 1983.
Though he might be outdone by the man who has been knocking them in for Arsenal, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, 22 goals in the league, two in the semi-final and I think he could be the match-winner.
Chelsea hit the top four in mid-October and stayed there for the rest of the season, which means that there’s no European football riding on this for them, but there is for Arsenal.
If Arsenal don’t win today they’ll be out of Europe next season, if they do win then they will go into the Europa League and it was in that final last season in Baku that Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1, a result that Arsenal would love to reverse today and they do want their revenge.
Chelsea haven’t been out of the top four since October, they’ve replaced Arsenal and the Gunners never regained the top six after November, so that mirrors their season in a way.
I think because they need it more, Arsenal will win today. I think the score will be Arsenal to beat Chelsea 2-1 or 3-1.
Chelsea have only beaten Arsenal in an FA Cup tie once in the last 70 years, does that suggest that Arsenal win today?
Odds via Fitzdares
Olivier Giroud to score anytime – 11/8
Arsenal to win 2-1 – 10/1
Arsenal to win 3-1 – 25/1
Arsenal to lift the trophy – 5/4
Chelsea to lift the trophy – 8/13
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Mustafi has delivered a rousing message to his team-mates ahead of the FA Cup final.
The defender will miss the game due to injury but called on his fellow Arsenal players to be ‘a pack of lions out there’ and to finish what has been a poor season on a high by winning the trophy.
And it’s Arsenal who will have the physiological edge.
Sportsmail spoke to Arsenal legend David Seaman ahead of today’s FA Cup final.
The former Gunners No 1 talked about ‘brilliant’ Emiliano Martinez, under-fire Kepa, THAT famous Cup save against Sheffield United and why a win for Arsenal today won’t mean a successful season for Mikel Arteta.
The wait is nearly over as London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea get ready to battle it out for FA Cup glory at Wembley.
It is a repeat of the 2017 final, when the Gunners overcame then Premier League champions Chelsea – who were looking to do the Double under Antonio Conte – thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey.
Saturday’s game, with kick-off at 5:30pm, is set to be a thrilling encounter. Can Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side end a horrid season on a real high or will it be Frank Lampard getting his hands on his first trophy in management with Chelsea?
Our experts have their say on how the final will go and who will be celebrating at the end.
Good afternoon and welcome. It’s finally here. FA Cup final day.
Two teams fighting for one goal: To lift this famous trophy at Wembley.
Sportsmail is on hand to run you through the match between Arsenal and Chelsea but first let’s bring you some build-up.
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