WHAT a simply fantastic performance by Arsenal.
And they owed Arsene Wenger that one, because too many players have been hiding behind the uncertainty over his future.
It was too easy to use that as an excuse. But at Wembley there was a commitment and a unity about Arsenal that meant they were not prepared to accept second best again.
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They were at Chelsea from the first minute to the last, and every one of their players was a yard quicker to the ball. They just wanted this one more than Chelsea.
I don’t know how much partying Chelsea have done since they were presented with the Premier League trophy — but on this showing, I suspect it was quite bit.
This was not the hungry, swarming Chelsea team we have seen for most of the season. But take nothing away from Arsenal.
None of us predicted the outcome, especially with the injuries and the suspensions they had to deal with going into the Cup final.
No one could say they did not fully deserve this victory, and it was a personal triumph for their boss Wenger. He got his tactics spot-on.
Throwing in Per Mertesacker, who had not played a full 90 minutes all season, was a real gamble.
But it meant they could stick with the three-at-the-back formation that has proved so successful in recent games. Mertesacker was magnificent.
He has his limitations, but Arsenal might be looking forward to yet another Champions League campaign if he had been fit for even half of the season.
Their big players — Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, etc — all delivered, and, with his seventh FA Cup victory, Wenger has now won it more times than any other manager in history.
This was his day, no doubt about that, and after taking so much criticism recently he is entitled to feel very satisfied over the way he orchestrated this victory.
If that proves to be his swansong as Arsenal manager, it will be a fitting way for him to go out.
To win so many FA Cups is a staggering achievement. As he said himself after the game, it’s not easy to win one, let alone seven.
His team have proved to be great cup fighters, winning their last six finals they have played in, and their 13 FA Cups is another record.
But that sums up this Arsenal outfit. On their day, they can beat anyone.
But over a 38-match Premier League season they just don’t have the depth to sustain a title challenge.
And that is not a new problem. Wenger’s side were champions three times in his first few seasons, including two league and cup Doubles.
But the last time they won the Premier League title was in 2004.
That is just not acceptable for a team as big as Arsenal.
This squad is not good enough to change that.
So whether it is Wenger in charge next season or someone else, they clearly need to strengthen in every department.
The key is obviously holding on to Sanchez — and with only Europa League football to look forward to, that is not going to be easy.
But even if he stays, Arsenal still need another central defender, at least one midfielder, and a proven goalscorer.
As for Wenger’s future, I don’t have any inside information, but my guess would be that he ain’t going to be manager next season.
That is simply based on the belief that if he was going to stay on, why wouldn’t they have said so weeks or even months ago?
The uncertainty has definitely been a distraction — and, as I said earlier, a convenient excuse at times.
If I’m right, it will be sad to see him go.
But he would undoubtedly have bowed out on a real high note.