2017 FA Cup Final
The match programme cover
|Event||2016–17 FA Cup|
|Date||27 May 2017|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
|Man of the Match||Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal)|
|Referee||Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)|
20 °C (68 °F)
The 2017 FA Cup Final was the 136th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest football cup competition. It took place on 27 May 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London, England and was contested between London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. Arsenal won the game 2–1 to secure a record 13th title, while manager Arsène Wenger became the most successful manager in the tournament's history with seven wins.
This was a rematch of the 2002 FA Cup Final and the first final since 2003 in which both sides split the league games against each other during the course of the season, with a 3–0 victory by Arsenal in September 2016, and a 3–1 win by Chelsea in February 2017. The game was broadcast live in the United Kingdom by both BBC and BT Sport. BBC One provided the free-to-air coverage and BT Sport 2 was the pay-TV alternative. In North America, this was the first FA Cup Final to be televised by CTV in Canada and by FOX in the United States.
Route to the final
In all results below, the score of the finalist is given first.
|3rd||Preston North End (A)||2–1|
|5th||Sutton United (A)||2–0|
|QF||Lincoln City (H)||5–0|
|SF||Manchester City (N)||2–1 (a.e.t.)|
|Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.|
Arsenal, as a Premier League team, started their campaign in the third round. In it, they were drawn away at Football League Championship Preston North End. At Deepdale, Arsenal won 2–1 with goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. In the Fourth Round, Arsenal drew fellow Premier League Southampton. At St Mary's Stadium, Arsenal won 5–0 with two goals from Danny Welbeck and a hat-trick from Theo Walcott. In the Fifth Round, Arsenal were drawn against non-league National League Sutton United away. At Gander Green Lane, Arsenal won 2–0 with goals from Lucas Pérez and Walcott. The match was also noted for Sutton United's reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw being investigated by The FA and Gambling Commission for eating a pie pitchside despite there being betting odds on him doing so. In the quarter-finals, Arsenal were drawn at home against National League Lincoln City. At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal won 5–0 with goals from Walcott, Giroud, an own goal by Luke Waterfall, Alexis Sánchez and Ramsey. In the semi-final at neutral Wembley Stadium, Arsenal played against Premier League Manchester City and reached the final after a 2–1 win with goals from Nacho Monreal and Sánchez.
In all results below, the score of the finalist is given first.
|3rd||Peterborough United (H)||4–1|
|5th||Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)||2–0|
|QF||Manchester United (H)||1–0|
|SF||Tottenham Hotspur (N)||4–2|
|Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.|
Chelsea also started in the third round where they were drawn at home against League One side Peterborough United. At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea won 4–1 with two goals from Pedro and a goal each from Michy Batshuayi and Willian despite having club captain John Terry sent off. In the fourth round, they were drawn with Championship team Brentford at home. Chelsea won 4–0 with goals from Pedro, Willian, Branislav Ivanović and Batshuayi. In the fifth round, Chelsea were drawn away against Championship Wolverhampton Wanderers. At Molineux Stadium, Chelsea won 2–0 with goals from Pedro and Diego Costa. In the Quarter-finals, they were drawn against fellow Premier League side and FA Cup holders Manchester United. At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea won 1–0 thanks to a goal from N'Golo Kanté. In the semi-finals at Wembley Stadium, Chelsea were drawn against fellow Premier League and London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea reached the final with a 4–2 win with two goals from Willian and a goal each from Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matić.
Arsenal were appearing in the final of the FA Cup for the 20th time, the club's third in four years. They had won the cup twelve times previously (in 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014 and 2015) and were beaten in the final seven times, most recently in 2001. By comparison, Chelsea were making their 12th appearance in a FA Cup final. The club won the cup seven times (1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and lost four finals. Arsenal and Chelsea had previously met 13 times in the FA Cup. Arsenal held an advantage in those meetings, winning seven of the last eight. Chelsea, however, won the last FA Cup tie, a 2–1 victory in April 2009. This was the second FA Cup final to feature both sides; the first was won by Arsenal in 2002.
The most recent meeting between the two teams was a league encounter in February 2017. Chelsea beat Arsenal by three goals to one, a result which moved them 12 points clear in first position. The win was significant given Chelsea lost the reverse fixture 3–0 in September 2016, a "watershed moment" in their season according to BBC journalist Phil McNulty. While Arsenal struggled to build momentum throughout autumn and winter, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's tactical switch from 4–3–3 to 3–4–3 thereafter resulted in a 13-match winning run. They won the Premier League with two matches to spare, and later set a new divisional record for the most wins (30). Arsenal ended the season in fifth place, their lowest placing under manager Arsène Wenger, and missed out on UEFA Champions League football for the first time in 20 years. Wenger's future had been cast into doubt following a bad run of form in February and March, which saw the team lose 10–2 on aggregate against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and four of their five league matches. To arrest the decline, Wenger adopted a similar tactical change to Conte, playing three defenders at the back. Arsenal went on to win eight of their last nine fixtures, but Wenger admitted his team were outsiders for the final: "This time we are not favourites, it’s quite even or maybe Chelsea are ahead, so it’s a bit similar to what happened in the semi-final against Manchester City. That’s part of what makes it all exciting as well." Of his future he said, "It will not be my last match anyway, because I will stay, no matter what happens, in football."
Conte described Wenger as one of the greats in football, and felt he would remain as Arsenal manager come the season's end. "He has done a fantastic job. Sometimes in England I think you undervalue the achievement of qualifying for the Champions League. Only this season they haven't qualified for the Champions League," he continued. Conte reiterated the importance of his players keeping their focus and wanted Chelsea to "pay great attention and focus" to their opponents. Hazard, who was playing in his first FA Cup final, was eager to win the competition: "For Chelsea, for such a big club like this, you need to win one, two, three trophies every season if you can. Now we have the possibility to win another trophy so all the players are ready for that. It's such a great competition for the fans."
Chelsea and Arsenal were expected to line up in a 3–4–3 formation. Whereas the former club had no injury or suspension worries, Arsenal had doubts over the fitness of Petr Čech and Shkodran Mustafi, and were already without defenders Laurent Koscielny (suspension) and Gabriel (ankle injury). Per Mertesacker was expected to start; the Germany international only featured once for Arsenal's first team during the season. The day before the final The Guardian reported that Wenger chose David Ospina to start in goal ahead of Čech.
Both clubs received an allocation of approximately 28,000 tickets. For adults, these were priced £45, £65, £85 and £115, with concessions in place. Chelsea supporters were situated in the west side of the ground, while Arsenal's were allocated in the east. The remaining 14,000 tickets were distributed to volunteers involved in the FA's work. Finalists stood to receive £900,000 minimum, the winners earned £1.8 million. Security at Wembley Stadium was tightened in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing; as a security measure Arsenal cancelled a screening of the game at their ground. Both clubs cancelled plans for open top bus victory parades.
Sol Campbell and Eddie Newton came onto the pitch to greet the supporters and place the trophy on a plinth. As they departed, the traditional Cup Final hymn, "Abide with Me" was sung by representatives of eight clubs, including Lincoln City, Guernsey, Millwall and Sutton United. The teams emerged moments later led by their managers, and players were greeted by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Soprano Emily Haig sang the national anthem and a minute's silence was then held to honour the victims of the Manchester attack. Prince William, Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and FA chairman Greg Clarke lay wreaths on the pitch in tribute.
Despite what was expected to be a tight affair, Arsenal dominated the early proceedings and opened the scoring with a goal from Alexis Sánchez in the 4th minute, shooting past the advancing goalkeeper from six yards out with his right foot. The goal was initially flagged as offside due to Aaron Ramsey being in an offside position. After discussing with his linesman, referee Anthony Taylor overrode the decision and awarded Arsenal the goal due to Ramsey not attempting to play the ball. Sánchez also handled the ball in the lead up to the goal but this was not seen by the referee. Arsenal then hit the post twice from close range in the first half through Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck.
In the second half, Victor Moses received a second yellow card for diving in the penalty box in the 68th minute, leaving Chelsea with ten men. Chelsea equalised through Diego Costa in the 76th minute when he controlled the ball on his chest in the penalty area before shooting low to the left with his right foot. Three minutes later Aaron Ramsey scored for Arsenal by heading in an Olivier Giroud cross from the left from six yards out.
Man of the Match:
|Shots on target||6||5|
|Shots off target||7||7|
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