Football Features

‘An absolutely magical moment’ – Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea FA Cup final player ratings

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:41, 1 August 2020 | Updated: 21:53, 2 August 2020

In an open evening of football, Arsenal came from behind to beat 10-man Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

The win was Arsenal’s 14th, a record in England’s oldest cup competition as the 139th showpiece was played without fans (for those counting, yes Arsenal have won 10% of all FA Cup finals to have ever been played).

Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:


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Arsenal

Emiliano Martinez – 7 – Strong save early from Mount. Done from close range by Pulisic, but did what he had to do otherwise.

Rob Holding – 7 – Burned for pace on more than one occasion. Otherwise was calm.

David Luiz – 8 – Another commanding performance from the Brazilian defender. Didn’t put a foot wrong against his old club. Went off late with an injury but more than showed his class over the semi-final and final. A true redemption.

Kieran Tierney – 7 – Awful defending to allow Pulisic to drift by him so easily for the Chelsea goal, but supreme in possession as Arsenal played out from the back and looked to hit Chelsea on the break.

Hector Bellerin – 7 – Ran hard. Tortured the left side of Chelsea defence. A scorching run through the heart of the Chelsea defence taking out two of their centre-backs led to Aubameyang’s winner.

Dani Ceballos – 8 – Too passive in the early going, allowing Chelsea incursions through midfield. Grew into the game and began moving the ball around the pitch nicely, dominating proceedings over the more regarded Chelsea midfield.

Granit Xhaka – 7 – Stepped it up in the second half after a lacklustre first-period.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7 – Lovely early runs, always stretching the Chelsea defence. Went quiet in the second half, focusing on keeping Reece James quiet.

Nicolas Pépé – 7 – Some nice runs, but wasteful. Supreme goal ruled out for offside. Grew into the game but never really used the ball well, even his assist for Arsenal’s second goal was a poor pass. Still, bundles of potential for the future.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 9 – The matchwinner, as always. A constant threat in behind Chelsea’s comedy defence. Won and converted Arsenal’s equalising penalty with nerveless precision, then sealed the victory with an absolutely outrageous goal. Put Kurt Zouma in the dirt then gently lifted it over Willy Caballero like it was nothing. An absolutely magical moment fit to grace any cup final.

Alexandre Lacazette – 7 – Worked tirelessly. linked play well but largely starved of service.

Substitutes:

Eddie Nketiah (for Lacazette 82′) – n/a – Came on late.

Sokratis (for David Luiz 88′) – n/a – Came on late.

Sead Kolasinac (for Tierney 90’+12) – n/a – Came on late.

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Chelsea

Willy Caballero – 5 – Besides the goals he had precious little to do. Helpless on the penalty but perhaps went to ground too easily for Arsenal’s winner.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 3 – Got given the run around by Maitland-Niles early on, then conceded a penalty by fouling Aubameyang, then got injured and had to go off. Not the best half an hour for the Chelsea skipper.

Kurt Zouma – 4 – Could do little when played in the middle but was more comfortable when switched to the right of the back three. That is, until Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cooked him alive for the match-winner.

Antonio Rudiger – 5 – Couldn’t handle Nicolas Pépé at all. Got absolutely blitzed by Bellerin for Arsenal’s winner.

Reece James – 6 – An endless source of width up and down the Chelsea right, but was rarely used.

Jorginho – 5 – Got bossed by Dani Ceballos for pretty much the entire game. Was not capable of dominating the game.

Mateo Kovacic – 4 – Early yellow. Tackled a lot. Never really got to grips with Arsenal and was sent off for a second yellow. The decision was ridiculous but kind of summed up the Croat’s night.

Marcos Alonso – 4 – A car crash in defence, and not effective in attack. A miserable performance. Chelsea need a left-back so badly.

Mason Mount – 7 – Some bright pressing. Nice early shot (shoulda played Giroud in). Always looked lively but did fade in the second-half.

Christian Pulisic – 8 – This natural born killer was too hard to handle. Arsenal were made to ride the lightning when Pulisic went slippin’ and slidin’ through their defence to get the party started with the opening goal. He continued to hit ’em high and was a troublemaker right up to the point where he went down taking a shot at glory.

Olivier Giroud – 7 – A sensationally deft assist for Chelsea’s opener. Had some other nice moments but was starved of service. “David Luiz has beaten him,” said BBC commentator Guy Mowbray, and he was absolutely right. Giroud’s 13th club game at the new Wembley and his first defeat. Unlucky.

Substitutes:

Andreas Christensen (for Azpilicueta 35′) – 5 – Came on and looked fairly solid until Arsenal’s winner when he went into a 50-50 and got overpowered by Héctor Bellerin. Not the best.

Pedro (for Pulisic 49′) – 7 – Added instant thrust and impetus to the Chelsea side. Took up great positions, ran with confidence and looked Chelsea’s only likely avenue back into the match. That he ended the match getting oxygen after dislocating his shoulder summed the Blues’ evening up, really.

Tammy Abraham (for Giroud 78′) – 5 – Had no service.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (for Rudiger 78′) – 5 – Couldn’t impact the game.

Ross Barkley (for Mount 78′) – 4 – Got booked.