Ecstatic Arteta delights in European place
Mikel Arteta hailed the importance of qualifying for Europe after guiding Arsenal to a record-extending 14th FA Cup trophy with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Wembley.
The Blues got off to the perfect start when Christian Pulisic showed fantastic footwork in the box before dinking a lovely finish over Emiliano Martinez just five minutes into the game.
However, Arsenal were still looking threatening coming forward and, having got in behind Chelsea's defence a couple times earlier, they were awarded a penalty when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta, who went off injured minutes later.
It is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe.Mikel Arteta
The Gabon international, whose future long-term future at the Emirates is yet to be resolved, emphatically dispatched the spot-kick, sending Willy Caballero the wrong way, and the two teams went into the break with the scores locked at 1-1.
Arteta's men managed to grab the decisive goal in the 68th minute when Aubameyang produced a sublime finish in the box, lifting a shot over the on-rushing Caballero to become the first Arsenal player to score a brace in an FA Cup final since Reg Lewis in 1950.
The Blues were then reduced to 10 men as Mateo Kovacic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Granit Xhaka, and Frank Lampard's side couldn't muster a fightback as they went down 2-1.
Arsenal's 14th FA Cup final has secured their place in the group stages of next season's Europa League and Arteta knows just how big winning his first trophy as a manager could be.
"I am so proud to represent these players and this club," he told BBC Sport. "It is a double reward for us. It is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe. We all did it so I am so happy."
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