The perennial rivalry between the two best teams in London, Arsenal and Chelsea, will definitely resurface as the two teams will now play in this year’s English FA Cup Final.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea cruised into the final with a deserved 4-2 victory over their London rival, Tottenham Hotspur in the first FA Cup semi-final match at Wembley stadium. Going into the game, the odds were even as both teams had earlier edged each other out in the Premier League.
Chelsea opened the scoring through Brazilian winger, Willian, as early as the 5th minute into the game. But ever scoring English striker, Harry Kane, put Tottenham Hotspur back into the game with an 18th minute leveller through an assist from Christian Eriksen. However, it was Chelsea who would go into the break with a 2-1 lead following a penalty goal in the 43rd minute, a second of the night for Brazilian winger, Willian.
The second half witnessed more goals as Nigeria-born England midfielder, Dele Alli, was again assisted by Christian Eriksen to put Tottenham Hostspur back into the game with a 52nd minute strike, his third goal against The Blues this season. He had earlier scored the two goals in their 2-0 bashing of Chelsea in the Premier League earlier this season. Both teams struggled for a winning goal thereafter, and it was the anointed league leaders, Chelsea, who would get that first through Eden Hazard. He scored the fifth goal of the match in the 75th minute of the game. Chelsea finally put the game to bed five minutes later when Serbian midfielder, Nemanja Matic, netted with a long-ranger with an assist from the Belgian, Eden Hazard, thus completing a 4-2 victory for the West Londoners over their bitter rival.
Tottenham Hotspur may have lost the match, but they will still want to slug it out with Chelsea in the battle for the Premier League trophy. Only four points separate the two sides on the table with two outstanding matches for both of them.
Meanwhile, Arsenal made this year’s FA Cup Final an all-London affair following their hard fought victory over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the second semi-final fixture at Wembley on Sunday evening. They fought back from a goal down to book their place in the final at the same stadium.
Manchester City opened the scoring with a second half strike from Sergio Aguero, with a clinical assist from Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure. For many, Arsenal’s Petr Cech is to blame for late response to the long pass from Yaya Toure. But, unusual goal scorer, Nacho Monreal, put Arsenal back on track by slotting home from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross. Two strikes from Manchester City players were denied entrance by the woodwork while Arsenal too also had a goal-bound strike smashed against the goalpost. Danny Welbeck missed a late minute chance that could have saved both teams the rigour of an extra time.
The extra-time of the game seems the most interesting as both teams laboured for the only one goal that would end the match without penalty shootout. Fabian Delph and Leroy Sane both missed their goal-scoring chances for Manchester City in the second half of the extra time. An Alexis Sanchez 100th minute strike was what Arsenal needed to seal off the game. It came from Mesut Ozil’s corner from the left. Danny Welbeck tried slotting in the ball but had it fall on Alexis feet who wasted no time in firing home from close range.
With this victory over Manchester City, the FA Cup Final will now be between the Gunners and their London rival, Chelsea. The match will be played a week after the final rounds of English Premier League fixture on the 28th of May. The last ten editions of the competition have seen Chelsea won four times and Arsenal two times. The last time the two teams met in the final of the FA Cup ended in Arsenal’s victory. A win for Chelsea this time might make it a double for them as they still also have the English Premier League title in bag. If Arsenal should win, it will make the team with the most FA Cup victory. So, you might want to keep a date on this fixture.