Mertesacker returns to inspire Arsenal's Cup glory

Arsène Wenger described winning his seventh FA Cup as one of the proudest moments of his career because of the criticism he faced this season, before going on to criticise some of the supporters who would like him removed for creating a hostile environment in matches.

Captain Laurent Koscielny (suspension), Gabriel (knee) and Shkodran Mustafi (concussion) all miss out, meaning a first start of the season for former Germany global Per Mertesacker.

Alexis Sanchez has admitted that he does not know if he will be staying put at Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

And Aaron Ramsey's victor moments later ensured Mertesacker would complete his fairytale return by lifting the Cup in front of Arsenal's jubilant fans.

As well as Arsenal moving ahead of Manchester United as the most successful team in the history of the FA Cup, Saturday's win also secured Wenger's spot as the competition's best manager. It's for me afterwards to decide, if they want me, whether it's yes or no, " he said.

Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal complete the back three alongside the former Germany global, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back from a hamstring strain to start at left wing-back.

Aaron Ramsey's late goal earned Arsenal their thirteenth FA Cup triumph at Wembley.

The element of weariness in the Chelsea display did not bode well for next term, when they will once again have the additional commitment of Champions League football.

"The start was not good enough", the Italian said. Even if the first goal should not have been given we still took nearly half an hour to get going.

Sanchez's goal was a confusing affair. But the decision by Anthony Taylor's assistant was overturned by the referee.

As well as handball, there was a suspicion that Ramsey, standing metres offside but deemed not to be interfering, had made a move towards the ball.

And Arsene Wenger says he drilled into his players that succeeding against Chelsea was more important than what his own future holds. And the Frenchman believes the victory over Antonio Conte's Chelsea is proof enough that he is the right man to continue as Arsenal boss.

When Moses was dismissed for a theatrical dive, Chelsea's hopes looked shot but a few minutes later they levelled when Costa's weakly-hit shot brushed off the excellent Mertesacker and past the flat-footed Ospina.

  • Leroy Wright