The Second Part of a Three Part Series looking at Cup finals between the two London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea,
For Part One please click here.
2007 League Cup Final
The 3007 League Cup Final was played at Cardiff because Wembley was still being renovated.
Chelsea, managed by Jose Mourinho in his first spell at the club, were very much the dominant team in England at the time. They had just one successive Premier League titles, and would go on to win the FA Cup that season. And they had the established stars like Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Didier Drogba.
Arsenal by comparison were a side in transition. The Invincibles side ha d been broken up, and many of them sold to raise funds for the building of the Emirates Stadium. Instead, their team was made-up of younger men, some who had just a handful of games to their name.
Despite that, it was a young Theo Walcott who put Arsenal ahead, with his first goal since signing from Southampton as a 16 -year old. The lead lasted only a matter of minutes before Drogba equalised, and he would terrorise Philippe Senderos in the Arsenal defence for much of the rest of the match.
In the 633rd minute, Terry was stretchered off after he was accidentally kicked in the head by Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby when attempting a clearance. But, without him, Chelsea continued top press forward and they secured the winger when Arjen Robben got free on the left and his measured cross found the head of Drogba who made no mistake.
There was still time for a brawl to break out involving both sets of players and coaching staff in injury time. When order had been restored, Arsenal substitute Emmanuel Adebayor was shown a red card for striking Wayne Bridge.
2017 FA Cup Final
The 2017 FA Cup Fianl was the last piece of silverware that Arsène Wenger won as their manager.
2019 Europa League Cup Final. But they went into the match as heavy underdogs against a Chelsea side under Antonio Conte who were going for the double, having already won the league title.
To make matters worse he was without his first choice centre-back partnership due to a combination of injury and suspension. Per Mertesacker, who had barely played all season was drafted in to play alongside the inexperienced Rob Holding.
Despite that, Arsenal started brightly and took the lead in the fourth minute, though there was a big element of controversy about it. Initially the goal was ruled out because Aaron Ramsey was adjudged to be in an offside position, and there was also a strong case for handball by Sanchez in the build-up. After consulting with his linesman, though, referee Anthony Taylor gave the goal.
Arsenal might have doubled their lead when Danny Welbeck’s effort struck a post and rebounded into Ramsey’s chest from almost point blank range, and then Gary Cahill scrambled a clearance off the line.
Early in the second half Victor Moses was shown a yellow card for hauling down Welbeck on the touchline, and then became one of the handful of men to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. He dived in the area looking for a penalty, and referee Taylor showed him a second card for stimulation.
The ten men though equalised when Diego Costa struck the ball past David Ospina in the Arsenal goal, who might have done better to save it. But whilst Chelsea fans and players were still celebrating they found themselves behind one more. Almost straight from the restart Sanchez fed the ball down the line to substitute Olivier Giroud. He crossed the ball to the near post where an unmarked Ramsey scored with a stooping header.
There was no way back for Chelsea after that, Mesut Ozil almost added a third when he hit the post in injury time, but, in the end it did not matter.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.