Arsenal won the Arsene Wenger Invitational FA Cup.
It was a nervy opening few minutes but Arsenal overcame the shaky start to exert control and emerged deserving winners. Arsenal are back in Europe (Sp*rs now have an extra-long qualification period to deal with, lol) and hopefully should have a bit more money to back Arteta with to help build on this win for next season.
It wasn’t the greatest season and sure as hell was weird with a lockdown in the middle but at least it ended with silverware and a high note.
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
xG Shot Table
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: By the numbers
In the opening 22 minutes (before the hydration break):
|12||Final third entry||4|
|2||Completed Pass in the box||3|
|1||Very Deep Completion||1|
The rest of the match after the first hydration break:
|30||Final third entry||12|
|4||Completed Pass in the box||12|
|0||Very Deep Completion||3|
The start of this match scared the crap out of me.
Arsenal looked incredibly nervy, Chelsea looked good, Arsenal had no answer for Christian Pulisic and the worry that Baku would happen again crossed my mind.
After the first hydration break, Mikel Arteta seemed to have been able to calm his team down and the stats show that they absolutely dominated things from this point forward. Arsenal still had less of the ball, but they were certainly more dangerous with it getting the ball into deep and dangerous locations.
One of the things that stands out to me is that Chelsea was able to have more possession in the attacking third but they seemed to have to work a lot harder to get the balls into those locations and from there they could not convert those into dangerous passes. Arsenal completed 21 progressive passes to 15 for Chelsea (my definition of a progressive pass is one that moves the ball at least 25% closer to the goal than where the possession had been) and completed 3 passes within 15 yards of goal to 0 for Chelsea.
Chelsea really ran out of ideas towards the end trying crosses (they attempted 13 crosses in the match and completed 0. Giroud was handled.) and long shots. The last few minutes got a bit nervy but none of the pressure ended up with actual shots on goal.
Take out the opening 23 minutes and this was a perfectly executed game plan. Including the opening shaky spell, it was a great recovery and a well-won trophy.
Arsenal’s left side was excellent
7 – Progressive passes completed by Kieran Tierney (led Arsenal)
5 – Completed passes into final third by Kieran Tierney (led Arsenal)
4 – Deep completions for Kieran Tierney (2nd on Arsenal)
1 – Tackle by Kieran Tierney
2 – Clearances by Kieran Tierney
0 – Fouls by Kieran Tierney
Tierney has been simply incredible in his first season at Arsenal. He has surpassed all of the expectations that I had for him this season. Some of the long balls that he played to release Aubamayang were sublime.
3 – Completed Final Third Entry for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
2 – Progressive Passes for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
3 – Completed Pass in the box for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
1 – Very Deep Completion for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
2 – Deep Completion (not cross) for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
1 – Key Pass for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
83.9% pass completion on 73.4% expected passing for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
2 – Interceptions for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
1 – Clearance for Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Maitland-Niles is not a natural left-sided player but he showed his versatility and did an excellent job as the left wing-back in this match. He seemed like he was on his way out of the club not too long ago but now I really feel like he is a very versatile and important member of the squad. He may not be the first choice in any one position but his skill set and athletic ability let him play in multiple positions which is so helpful to have when you build a team. I really hope he stays this summer because I think that there will be lots of minutes for him next season.
4 – Shots for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (led Arsenal)
2 – Goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
1 – Successful dribble for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
1 – Tackle for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
1 – Interception for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
1 – Dropped trophy (lol)
Where would Arsenal be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this season? Probably a few positions lower and without silverware this season. He is an amazing attacking player and we are all so fortunate to be able to watch him play for Arsenal. (I have major concerns about how a new contract might work out for him; the last few years of the contract make me worry it will be another Özil situation but that is another worry for another day)
In this match, like so many this season, he was the reason Arsenal emerged with the points/victory. Thank you captain.
1 – Trophies won by Mikel Arteta as manager of The Arsenal
0 – Trophies won by the greatest manager in the history of Tottenham Mauricio Pochettino
0 – Trophies won by José Mourinho, who forced his team to celebrate 6th place like it was an accomplishment so that the Amazon Documentary can end on a high note (LOL).
14 – FA Cup wins for The Arsenal, more than any team in the world