Concluding the three part series looking back at the Cup finals featuring the two London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.
2019 Europa League Final
In 2019 the two London clubs met once again in the final of the 2019 Europa Cup, which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. That was an unpopular choice, given that there were no direct flights to the city form London, and it meant many fans were priced out of attending the game in person.
It was the tenth tournament final to feature two teams from the same football association.
The first-half was goalless, although Arsenal came closest to scoring with a Granit Xhaka effort that clipped the top of the bar. But, if the first-half was even, the second period was anything but, as Den Hazard took control for Chelsea. They took the lead in the 49th minute, through ex-Gunners forward Olivier Giroud who scored with a header.
They then doubled their lead from via Pedro, and then raced into a three goal lead from the penalty spot, courtesy of Hazard. Substitute Alex Iwobi pulled a goal back, but Hazard scored again, but Hazard netted again and Chelsea ran out easy winners.
It was Hazard’s last match for Chelsea. He was sold that summer to Real Madrid for a fee close to £100 million, but injuries and loss of form mean that the Spanish club have never seem him replicate that level of performance.
And it was also the beginning of the end for Unai Emery and star midfielder Mesut Ozil. Emery would be sacked within six months, and Ozil , who was withdrawn for Joe Willock in the 77th minute, found himself out of favour with three successive Arsenal coaches.
2020 FA Cup Final
Arsenal were the clear underdogs going into the 2020 FA Cup Final.
They were now managed by Mikel Arteta who had taken over as manager of the club at Christmas. That was after the dismissal of Unai Emery the previous month and the brief caretaker spell of Freddie Ljungberg.
The Gunners were only to finish eighth in the league that season, with only the Cup giving their supporters reasons for hope. Still, they has caused a major surprise by winning their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, thanks to two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea were chasing their first silverware under Frank Lagend, the club legend taking over as manager the previous summer.
They started much the brighter and were ahead as early as the fifth minute when a swift break found the Gunners defence on its heels, and Christian Pulisic was able to slide the ball home.
Gradually, the side from North London hauled themselves back into the match, and the found themselves level when Aubameyang broke in behind their backline and was hauled down by captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the box, who was lucky to escape a red card.
However, he lasted only two minutes more before he was forced to hobble off with an injury.
The decisive moment came in the 67th minute when Arsenal broke from deep with full-back Hector Bellerin. The ball landed at the feet of Nicolas Pépé who transferred it to Aubameyang in the edge of the box. He turned Kurt Zouma inside out and then kept his composure to score with a chipped finish.
The only disappointment for Arsenal fans is that none of them were in Wembley to see it. Covid restrictions meant that the match was played behind closed doors.
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.