Mikel Arteta hopes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal to lead the Gunners to more success after scoring twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Arsenal captain Aubameyang dropped the trophy before lifting his first piece of silverware since moving to English football from Borussia Dortmund two and a half years ago.
Victory secured Arsenal’s place in the Europa League next season as they risked missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years after finishing eighth in the Premier League.
But with Aubameyang facing another season without Champions League football and just one year left on his contract at the Emirates, the Gabon international has been linked with a move away this summer.
Arteta played his part to win a trophy in his first season in a senior managerial role after Chelsea made a blistering start in the eerie surroundings of an empty Wembley.
Here’s how the Arsenal manager responded after the match:
“He needs more experience with trophies. We can get him used to that [on Aubameyang dropping the trophy before lifting it in front of his teammates]. He knows what I think about him, I want to build a squad around him. I think he wants to stay, it is about getting the deal done. I think moments like that will help to realise and give him belief that we are in the right path and he is a big part of it.”— via AFP
“I am really proud of what we have achieved because I know the difficulties and everything we have been through.
“For me personally, it has been so tough over the past six months with a lot of things that have happened in our lives but I had just one mission when I came here and that was to make the players and staff believe we could do it.
“We had to change that energy and that mentality and just by seeing them in the dressing room all together, and the way they enjoy their profession and their time together, it makes me more proud and as a consequence of that after we can achieve things and win titles together.”— via BBC5 live
“Big games require big moments from big players, and [Aubameyang] delivered that in the semi-final and he’s done it again in the final. That’s why you ask about those players. Some were questioning that he couldn’t do it in big games. There we go. He was a big, big part of delivering this trophy. He’s done it and we are so proud to have a player like him in your squad.”— via Arsenal.com
The Blues had already achieved their primary goal from Frank Lampard’s first season in charge by securing a place in next season’s Champions League last weekend and started confidently as Christian Pulisic’s composed finish opened the scoring just five minutes in.
Chelsea were further hit by two big injury blows either side of half-time as Cesar Azpilicueta and Pulisic pulled up with hamstring injuries that will almost certainly rule them out of the Champions League last 16 second leg against Bayern Munich next weekend.
After Aubameyang’s second goal, worse was to come for Lampard’s men when Mateo Kovacic was inexplicably sent off for the slightest touch on Granit Xhaka, but Anthony Taylor’s decision could not be reviewed by VAR as it was a second bookable offence.
And a miserable day was rounded off deep into stoppage time when Pedro Rodriguez’s Chelsea career ended in the Spaniard also being carried off with a dislocated shoulder ahead of his move to Roma.
Here’s how Chelsea manager Frank Lampard responded after the match:
“We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and created a few chances were in control of the game. But after that, we can only blame ourselves from that point in football terms.
“We got complacent. We took too long on the ball, we started playing short passes like it was a stroll. An FA Cup final can never be a stroll. We allowed Arsenal back in the game and from that point onwards, it’s always going to be difficult. A lot of today was on us.
“In the second half we came out brighter, if Christian goes through and scores as opposed to missing and doing his hamstring - well, the circumstances in the game conspired against us.
“It’s been a busy period for us. The players have given everything. With 10 men the last 20 minutes was a really difficult challenge for them. We shouldn’t become too stuck on today. Of course we are disappointed tonight, but over the season as a whole what we have managed to do, come where we did in the league, is a huge plus for us.
“Today would have been the icing on the cake but it wasn’t to be.”— via Chelsea FC
While not blaming the refereeing decisions for the result, Lampard made his displeasure clear at Anthony Taylor as well as the VAR:
“What kind of rule is that [On VAR not used for yellow cards]? There’s always been this one that you couldn’t challenge two yellows. Someone’s sitting there really stubbornly sticking to their guns on that one.
“If we have VAR, that’s great, let’s use it as much as we can to get the right decision. That’s nowhere near, it changes the game.
“We pushed them a bit at the end, I can’t fault the lads’ effort for pushing. But it was never a red card. Again, I always try and come back to us and we didn’t do enough to win the final.”
— via Arsenal.com
“That’s what I do best, I work hard and everyone says when you work hard you get your rewards and I think I did that today. I’ve worked really hard at the club for 10 years for opportunities like this. I couldn’t be prouder. I spoke to [my family] the whole week and my dad didn’t want to speak a lot about it because he was too nervous, but I bet in Argentina they were all crying, 100%.”
With AFP inputs