3 things learned: Arsenal beat Chelsea in FA Cup final

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Here’s a look at three things we learned from Arsenal v Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley, as Arsenal stretched their lead as the most successful FA Cup team in history to 14 trophies.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch, Analysis ]

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in each half for Arsenal after Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea a deserved early lead, as Mikel Arteta delivered a trophy in his first season in charge of the Gunners.

Frank Lampard and Chelsea lost Cesar Azpilicueta and Pulisic to hamstring injuries and had Mateo Kovacic sent off for the final 15 minutes, while they looked sluggish after conceding a penalty kick in the first half and came up short as they to win silverware in Lampard’s first season in charge.

With the FA Cup win Arsenal also qualify for the Europa League group stage for next season, plus push Tottenham into the qualifying round and give this young Arsenal squad a key reference point in their rebuild.


AUBAMEYANG, CEBALLOS THE DIFFERENCE

This was a tight, tense final between two London rivals and it was a very good spectacle. There really wasn’t much between the two teams but Azpilicueta and Pulisic going off injured hurt Chelsea, so too did Kovacic being sent off late on, while Aubameyang and the brilliant Dani Ceballos led the way for Arsenal. In a game of fine margins, the quality of Ceballos on the ball and the finishing skill of Aubameyang was the difference. It really was as simple as that.


ARSENAL’S INTELLIGENCE, GRIT REWARDED

Chelsea were a little naive but Arsenal took full advantage of it. After a tough opening 20 minutes, Arsenal finally got to grips with the game and played the ball long and over the top of Chelsea’s defense and made the most of the big gaps in their wing back positions. Arsenal were so dangerous in-behind as Auba, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe worked hard defensively as well as going forward. It wasn’t the most fluid display from Arsenal but they worked Chelsea out. Of course, the injuries hit Chelsea hard, but Granit Xhaka, David Luiz and Emiliano Martinez were just a few of the unsung heroes for Arsenal as Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were also superb. Arsenal’s newfound grind and tactical intelligence under Arteta is clear for all to see and he will now be rewarded with buying new players to keep his rebuild going forward.


PULISIC MAKES HISTORY; SUFFERS BIG INJURY

Christian Pulisic had both a dream and nightmare outing in the FA Cup final, as he became the first USMNT player in history to score in the FA Cup final but looks to have severely injured his hamstring.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch, Analysis ]

Pulisic, 21, was superb in the first half as he scored, set up chances and had other opportunities. However, right at the start of the second half he raced clear of the Arsenal defense, again, but appeared to injure his right hamstring badly before he took a shot.

The sight of Pulisic screaming in agony before he took a shot was not what USMNT or Chelsea fans wanted to see, but he was hanging around the tunnel area after the game and seemed okay enough to be walking around on his own. Hopefully this hamstring injury isn’t as serious as it looked because Pulisic proved he is now Chelsea’s top player after his fine form since the restart continued in the FA Cup final and his injury swung the game in Arsenal’s favor as Chelsea lost their way without the American sensation.