The scene was set for the final game associated with the 2019-20 Premier League season. The FA Cup tournament is one of the most historically rich sporting competitions in the world and it was fitting to have two rivals duke it out for the coveted domestic trophy. Chelsea and Arsenal are London rivals that have both won the tournament once in the last three seasons. Dating back to 1871, winning the FA Cup is easily the second most important trophy to hoist in the United Kingdom (the first being the Premier League trophy).
With the first ever FA Cup final hosted behind closed doors ready for action, it’s been noted that Chelsea were the betting favorites to win the fixture. In the Premier League, Chelsea finished in 4th while Arsenal fell down to 8th.
The quality that splits the two sides was on display immediately as it was the American youngster, Christian Pulisic, who found himself in space in the Arsenal 18-yard box and finished an easy goal in the 5th minute of the game. Pulisic became the first-ever American to score a goal in an FA Cup final game. Once again, Arsenal’s defensive leaks continue while Chelsea’s high octane offense refuses to settle down.
Confidence was oozing from Pulisic as he took on the entire Arsenal defense and created a shot on goal by himself in the 10th minute. These attacking chances were alarming for Arsenal because if they didn’t find an answer for Pulisic, then Arsenal would be in for a long match.
Arsenal had their perseverance pay off in the 28th minute thanks to a foul in the box by Cezar Azpiliceta that led to a penalty kick. It was Arsenal’s striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who converted the penalty kick and leveled the score.
To make matters worse for Chelsea, Azpilicueta ended up suffering an injury that forced his early substitution in the 34th minute for Andreas Christensen. It was a major blow to the Chelsea back line that the team would need some time adjusting to the resulting position changes. Arsenal saw themselves with more of the game’s chances towards the end of the first half while Chelsea dropped back to alleviate the Gunners chances.
With the halftime score at 1-1, Chelsea would need to get back to their high possession, high attacking work rates to regain their lead while Arsenal need to continue their attacking press that helped them tie the game.
Almost immediately after the second half resumed, Christian Pulisic went down injured after an attempt at goal that saw no contact from an Arsenal player. It was truly heartbreaking to see Pulisic go down with an injury on his own, but Chelsea had to regroup and sub in Pedro.
Chelsea didn’t let up on their possession in the second half as Arsenal began settling down defensively and allowing chances to creep in. This subsequently led to Arsenal relying on counter attacking chances to catch Chelsea behind.
Arsenal finally found a way to turn around the game.
It was again Aubameyang who delivered a fantastic chip over the Chelsea goalkeeper to make it 2-1 as Chelsea were once again caught napping defensively and it bit them. It continued to get worse for Chelsea as Matteo Kovacic was sent off in the 73rd minute to leave Chelsea with just 10 men for the last leg of the game.
With seven minutes of added time, Chelsea needed to start creating opportunities at goal in order to salvage something from the finals. Unfortunately for Chelsea, extra time wasn’t in their future as Arsenal were crowned FA Cup champions for a 14th time thanks to their comeback effort from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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