Arsene Wenger should go out on a high following Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea


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THANKS for the memories, Arsene.

This is the game to go out on, to leave Arsenal supporters debating over their chai lattes about whether this squad could go on to win another Premier League under Wenger.

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Arsenal put in a dominant display to win the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea at Wembley

The FA Cup — his competition, his trophy, his record — is a fitting farewell for the most successful manager in Arsenal history.

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Instead, there are already fewer than 11 weeks to go before it all flares up again.

The first defeat will prompt another fly-by over the stadium demanding Wenger’s resignation.

There will be more protests, with noisy fan groups whipping up some more hysteria on social-media platforms.

When they lose 3-0 at Palace, 3-1 at West Brom, or 2-1 at home to Watford, the ‘Wenger Out’ mob will take the banners from their duffle bags.

At least they have escaped the annual Champions League humiliation like the one where they were marmalised 10-2 by Bayern Munich earlier this year.

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The Frenchman won a record seventh FA Cup trophy

Arsenal were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich

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Arsenal were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich

Instead, they are a Europa League side after finishing a staggering 18 points behind champions Chelsea.

All that was temporarily forgotten on Saturday when Wembley was awash with emotion after goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey secured a 2-1 win and Wenger’s historic seventh FA Cup.

It is a ridiculous number of wins, an outstanding achievement for a manager who has been on the rack ever since the 4-3 defeat against Liverpool on the opening day.

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea : Chelsea fail to do the double as Arsenal win the FA Cup at Wembley

He has a love affair with the FA Cup like no other manager, using his success in the competition to keep the majority of fans onside while he works out how to win another Premier League title.

That is beyond him and it is beyond this bunch of players.

True, they played like champions on Saturday, set up tactically to deny Chelsea time and space on a slightly bigger pitch than Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte’s side could not adapt their ultra-successful hustling, harrying, bullying game to the conditions.

That suited Arsenal just fine.

Arsene Wenger hints at desire to stay at club after FA Cup win

Alexis Sanchez scored the opener for Arsenal, but he is rumoured to be a top transfer target for other teams

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Alexis Sanchez scored the opener for Arsenal in the FA Cup final

Wenger’s side were excellent, going on to lift the Cup after Diego Costa had scored a dramatic 76th-minute equaliser for Chelsea.

By then the champions were down to ten, a man short after Victor Moses was sent off for a shameful attempt to win a penalty.

He is better than that, or at least he ought to be.

Despite Costa’s equaliser — and Wenger’s fears that Arsenal would collapse like a pack of cards — Chelsea could not find their rhythm. This was one game too far, one game when the watching world had pretty much predicted a glorious domestic Double in Conte’s first season in English football.

Even the Italian struggled to work out why his players had performed so poorly.

There were too many fives and sixes, with Eden Hazard, Pedro and the rest of the gang failing to perform to their full potential.

Too many did not turn up.

Diego Costa celebrates after scoring in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday

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Diego Costa drew the Blues level at Wembley

They really wanted the Premier League, a competition they dominated from the moment Conte switched to 3-4-3 following the defeat at Arsenal last September. The FA Cup? Not quite as much.

This was Arsenal’s day, with Ramsey meeting substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross from the left to head past keeper Thibaut Courtois from inside the area.

It was a stunning finish, giving Arsenal the lead again less than three minutes after Costa’s goal.

They held on, easily as it turned out, to get their hands on some silverware on the final day of the English football season.

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It is a remarkable end to it, certainly for Wenger.

To win seven FA Cups with one club, to form a bond and an affinity with the competition like this is truly unique.

For some reason, Wenger has real affection for it, targeting it along with the Premier League at the start of every season.

Even after this magnificent seven, the anxiety, the occasion, the tension still gets to him.

Wenger said: “It’s the intensity of the emotions. You go out there at Wembley and where can you get that feeling?

Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in the 79th minute in the FA Cup final

Action Images Via Reuters

Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in the 79th minute in the FA Cup final

“It’s a special day for a football club and the Cup is hugely popular in every country.

“It’s just the explosion of the passion of people. When a team is on a high like Chelsea, to break that takes something special.

“When they equalised I thought, ‘Here we are, that will give them momentum and we will feel guilty’ — I was worried.”

Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell shares his video of Arsenal lifting the FA Cup

Instead, Arsenal scored the ­winner three minutes later with Ramsey turning superhero when he beat Courtois from close range.

It prompted some pretty wild celebrations with Wenger embracing his coaching staff and clenching his fists when referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle.

Today, Wenger should do the same.

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