Antonio Conte looks to win double, Arsene Wenger tries to salvage pride

Assistant referee Gary Beswick quickly raised his flag for offside against Ramsey, but the midfielder left the ball for Sanchez to race through and smartly direct past Thibaut Courtois.

Wenger only picked Mertesacker because Arsenal's top three centre-backs were all ruled out but as an emergency measure it worked perfectly.

That lead held up until well into the second half, and Chelsea's situation became even more dire after Nigerian winger Victor Moses was sent off in the 68th minute for diving.

The first all-London Wembley FA Cup Final since 1982 showed passionate football fans coming together with the city of Manchester in perfectly observing a minute's silence for the victims of that utterly terrible and cowardly act.

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker lifted the FA Cup for the Gunners on Saturday before insisting any criticism aimed his way only makes him a better player.

And it might just be enough to stem the tide of protests against Wenger, as the record 13-time FA Cup winners are yet to announce a new contract for the 67-year-old Frenchman for next season.

"I was nearly forgotten and that makes me stronger", Mertesacker said after the game.

Diego Costa revived Chelsea in the 76th minute when Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina failed to keep out his deflected shot.

"This team has suffered, but they're united and they responded".

"They only have this possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup", he said ahead of this match.

Antonio Conte
GETTYAntonio Conte has no fitness concerns for FA Cup final

"I think the first goal was very odd".

Antonio Conte's Blues could complete the domestic double by winning Chelsea's eighth FA Cup (and first since 2012).

Chelsea did not wear their black armbands in the first half after leaving them inside the jackets they decided against due to the warm weather - unusually sloppy from the west Londoners, much like their start.

"They showed strength and unity", Wenger said, "and we played spectacular football again".

Referee Anthony Taylor consulted the linesman but the concluded that the goal should stand, to give Sanchez his 30th goal of the season and the Gunners the flawless start at Wembley.

Rather than imploding, Arsenal was back in front within three minutes.

But it is the losers who still head in the off-season the most buoyant. "I'm proud having done this - winning the championship without losing and winning seven FA Cups".

Asked if his lack of game-time has made him think about leaving, he said: "Not necessarily, but in football you can never say never".

After finishing fifth in the league and missing out on Champions League qualification, the mood has been pretty bleak at Arsenal recently.

Underdogs Arsenal enjoyed a dream start although there was huge debate about whether Sanchez's effort should have stood.

  • Julie Sanders