Arsenal ended a season of frustration and uncertainty with FA Cup glory, denying 10-man Chelsea the double as beleaguered Arsene Wenger became the most successful manager in the competition’s history.
Having stumbled home fifth and missed out on Champions League qualification, criticism of the Gunners boss has reached unprecedented and unpalatable levels.
Wenger has continued undeterred and, ahead of talks about his future next week, oversaw a record seventh FA Cup triumph on Saturday, with Aaron Ramsey securing a memorable 2-1 win moments after Chelsea’s Diego Costa had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s controversial strike.
Victor Moses’ sending off after taking a tumble added intrigue to a final that enthralled from the outset, when an offside call against Sanchez was rightly overruled – although his handball in the build-up was missed.
The first half could have been so much worse for unusually disjointed Chelsea, with Gary Cahill having to clear Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck efforts off the line, while the latter saw a header come back off the post and Ramsey directed the rebound on to the woodwork.
Desperation soon crept into Chelsea’s improved second-half display and Moses took a tumble in the box searching for a penalty, only to be deservedly handed a second yellow card.
The Blues responded manfully as Costa somehow beat surprise selection David Ospina, yet Arsenal were not to be denied a 13th FA Cup.
Ramsey, the match-winner in 2014 against Hull, ran through to head home as Antonio Conte’s men went close to a famous double, without a celebratory cigar.