Final, 2-1 Arsenal: The referee blows the final whistle. Arsenal has won the FA Cup.
Aaron Ramsey’s goal made the difference in a pulsating clash between the London rivals. His goal came just two minutes after Diego Costa tied the score with a well-taken strike, and Arsenal was able to hold off 10-man Chelsea for the last 15 minutes to re-write the FA Cup record books.
Arsenal was the better team throughout the game, particularly in the first half where it deserved more than its one-goal lead on balance of play.
Chelsea will be disappointed with its performance, having faltered at the start and failing to maintain a foothold in the contest after equalizing.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
90th minute +3, 2-1 Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny replaces Alexis Sanchez, as Arsenal looks to seal the result with its final substitution.
90th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: There will be a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time in the second half.
88th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: Michy Batshuayi replaces Diego Costa in Chelsea’s final substitution.
87th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: Arsenal’s counter-attack leaves Chelsea’s goal at Mesut Ozil’s mercy, but the playmaker hits the post with his shot.
86th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: David Ospina denies Diego Costa a second goal with a stunning reflex save.
84th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: Hector Bellerin surges forward again and shoots from a tight angle, but it goes narrowly wide of the far post.
83rd minute, 2-1 Arsenal: The referee shows Francis Coquelin a yellow card. He has been on the field less than one minute.
83rd minute, 2-1 Arsenal: Francis Coquelin replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as Arsenal makes its second substitution.
82nd minute, 2-1 Arsenal: David Luiz flashes a header narrowly wide of Arsenal’s goal.
81st minute, 2-1 Arsenal: The referee shows Granit Xhaka a yellow card for a foul on Willian.
79th minute, 2-1 Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey heads Arsenal back in front.
The Gunners caught Chelsea napping, as Ramsey darted unmarked into the Chelsea penalty area and headed Olivier Giroud’s cross past Thibaut Courtois.
A resurgent Ramsey is no stranger to this stage.
78th minute, 1-1: Arsenal makes a substitution, replacing Danny Welbeck with Olivier Giroud.
76th minute, 1-1: Diego Costa scores and the game is tied.
The Chelsea striker knocked down a pass with his chest and shot to the near post. David Ospina could have batted it wide but didn’t make good contact and forced it inside his post.
72nd minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Chelsea makes another substitution. Pedro is off, Willian comes on for the Spanish forward.
The Blues are changing their tactical system, having been reduced to 10 men.
68th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee dismisses Victor Moses after showing him a second yellow card.
Moses initially tried to dribble past Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but went down on his own. The referee declined to award Moses a penalty kick, giving him his marching orders instead.
65th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: It’s more danger from Arsenal on the counter-attack. Hector Bellerin shoots low on goal, but Thibaut Courtois hits the deck, saves the shot and gathers the rebound.
61st minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Chelsea makes its first substitution, with Cesc Fabregas replacing Nemanja Matic.
Arsenal fans loudly boo their former captain upon his arrival into the fray.
59th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee shows N’Golo Kante a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Aaron Ramsey.
59th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Pedro misses narrowly wide with a curling shot from 20 yards out.
57th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee shows Victor Moses a yellow card for not letting Danny Welbeck go past him near the sideline, hacking down the Arsenal striker instead.
55th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Arsenal counter-attacks quickly, with Alexis Sanchez finding Hector Bellerin on the right side, but the Arsenal fullback can’t locate a teammate with his cross.
53rd minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee shows Rob Holding a yellow card for a foul on Diego Costa on the edge of Arsenal’s penalty area.
51st minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Diego Costa holds up play well and lays off a pass to Victor Moses, who shoots powerfully on goal. David Ospina saves it.
Chelsea started the second half like Arsenal started the first, albeit without scoring a goal after five minutes.
49th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: N’Golo Kante drives a shot on Arsenal’s goal. It takes a deflection, but David Ospina handles it without much fuss.
48th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Chelsea applies some early pressure, but Per Mertesacker is there to block Pedro’s shot.
46th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The second half is under way.
Chelsea didn’t just forget to start the game well. They also forgot their apparel tribute to the Manchester bombing victims.
Halftime, 1-0 Arsenal: That’s the end of the first half. Arsenal leads by one.
Alexis Sanchez’s controversial goal is the main talking point from the first half, but it shouldn’t distract from the teams’ performances. Arsenal seems to have returned to its best form, attacking and passing with purpose and defending with focus and comfort. The only downside to Arsenal’s first-half is that it only leads by a goal.
Which begs some questions.
Chelsea was far from its best in the first half, as Antonio Conte’s team appeared to be shell-shocked by Arsenal’s fast start and Sanchez’s goal.
The Blues won’t win a double playing like this. They’ve been second to every loose ball and have lacked ideas when in possession.
45th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: There will be a minimum of two minutes of stoppage time in the first half.
39th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Pedro misses high and wide after Eden Hazard creates the space and passes to him inside Arsenal’s penalty area. It’s just Chelsea’s second real chance on goal so far.
37th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez runs in behind Chelsea’s defense, but Gary Cahill recovers his position and blocks the Chilean’s tame shot at the near post.
32nd minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Granit Xhaka volleys a shot on Chelsea’s goal, but Thibaut Courtois saves it out for a corner kick. Arsenal still appears to be on the march in the first half.
30th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Chelsea dodges another disaster as Danny Welbeck takes Hector Bellerin’s pass inside the Blues’ penalty area and shoots on goal. Thibaut Courtois saves Welbeck’s shot, Alexis Sanchez tries to slam home the rebound, but Gary Cahill is there again to block the Arsenal star’s effort.
28th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Pedro sends a long pass into Arsenal’s penalty area, Diego Costa holds off Rob Holding and manages to shoot, but David Ospina makes a fine save having left his goal line to intervene.
23rd minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Chelsea appears to have an opportunity at Arsenal’s goal, but Per Mertesacker clears the danger before Diego Costa can reach the ball and shoot from around 10 yards out.
19th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Danny Welbeck heads a corner kick past Thibaut Courtois, but it hits the post. Aaron Ramsey is standing nearby but can’t chest the ball into the goal. His effort hits the outside of the post and goes out of bounds.
16th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Mesut Ozil takes a pass from Alexis Sanchez and beats Thibaut Courtois with a clipped shot, but Gary Cahill races back and clears the shot off the goal line with a heroic back-heel flick.
Arsenal should have scored there.
14th minute, 1-0 Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez receives a pass from Danny Welbeck and shoots powerfully over Chelsea’s goal.
Arsenal has been in total control of possession and territory in the first 15 minutes.
Ninth minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee shows Aaron Ramsey a yellow card for tugging Pedro’s shirt, a professional foul aimed at stopping Chelsea’s counter-attack.
Fifth minute, 1-0 Arsenal: The referee has awarded the goal.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante appeared to kick the ball into Alexis Sanchez’s hand, with the Chilean collecting the deflection, side-stepping Aaron Ramsey and beating goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from close range. Everyone thought it was a handball and/or offside, but the referee saw nothing wrong with it.
Sanchez means everything to Arsenal’s attack.
Fourth minute, 0-0: Arsenal appears to have scored, but the referee’s assistant has ruled Aaron Ramsey offside.
Third minute, 0-0: Arsenal has sustained possession early on, but much of it has come near the halfway line. Chelsea merely is sitting deep and waiting for a chance to counter-attack.
Kickoff: The 136th FA Cup final is under way.
Both teams are enjoying an FA Cup final winning streak, but something has to give in 2017.
Pregame: The teams are out on the field, and the FA Cup and national anthems are complete.
The teams will observe a minute’s silence for the victims of Monday’s bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is trying to mitigate his team’s injury crisis with veteran center back Per Mertesacker, who’ll partner Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal on a three-man back line.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns from injury to man the left flank in Kieran Gibbs’ absence.
Chelsea counters with a familiar-looking lineup. The only notable choice manager Antonio Conte makes is opting for Pedro over Willian among the front three attackers.
11:45 a.m.: Here are the starting lineups:
11:30 a.m. ET: Perhaps it’s fitting top-flight action in the English soccer season will culminate in London.
Arsenal and Chelsea will face off Saturday at Wembley Stadium, English soccer’s spiritual home, in the FA Cup final.
The fortunes of the London-based teams contrasted this season, with Chelsea winning the Premier League and Arsenal finishing in fifth place, it’s worst final position in the last 20 years. Their respective seasons and Chelsea’s recent success against the Gunners make the Blues the favorite to lift the oldest trophy in the soccer world this season.
But Arsenal and Chelsea can end their season on a higher peak or lower depth, depending on how they perform for 90-plus minutes on the final day of the domestic season.
Join us right here for all the action from Wembley Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/NBC Sports