AAP Soccer

Arsenal secure FA Cup glory once again

By AAP Newswire

The only time Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked uncertain on Saturday was when it came to collecting the FA Cup.

Two goals from the Gabon striker had turned around the final for the Gunners, sealing a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the first cup final to be staged without fans.

The coronavirus restrictions also meant there was no Prince William at Wembley Stadium to hand over the silverware in the royal box.

So Aubameyang had to pick up the cup himself on the field as captain.

Taking the base as well, no wonder Aubameyang dropped it.

The trophy was soon raised aloft, with gold streamer showering the Arsenal squad in a mostly-empty 90,000-capacity stadium after the 139th final of the world's oldest football competition.

"He needs more experience with trophies, we can get him more used to that," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.

"He knows what I think about him. I want to build the squad around him.

"I think he wants to stay and it is just about getting the deal done."

That is no certainty, with Aubameyang yet to commit to remaining beyond the end of his contract next year.

"I am really not thinking about this," he said.

Winning the record-extending 14th FA Cup gives Arsenal a spot in the Europa League, after they missing out on qualifying through the Premier League.

"The journey has been long," Aubameyang said.

"But today we enjoy it."

The FA Cup began on August 9 last year and ended later than it had ever done before - two months after the final was originally scheduled.

There was a dream start for Chelsea as Christian Pulisic opened the scoring in the fifth minute but that was as good as it got for the Blues.

Aubameyang equalised from the penalty spot on 28 minutes before Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta - who had given away the spot kick - hobbled off injured in the 35th.

Pulisic was injured early in the second half with both the American star and Azpilicueta to miss Chelsea's Champions League round of 16 second leg next week against Bayern Munich.

Aubameyang chipped goalkeeper Willy Caballero from close range in the 67th for the winner.

In only his 28th game in charge of Arsenal, Arteta won the FA Cup - just as he did as a player in 2014 and 2015.