Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will commit his long-term future to the Gunners after scoring twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday night.
Aubameyang dropped the trophy in his first mistake of the day before lifting Arsenal’s record 14th FA Cup and his first trophy since joining the Londoners from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018. The Gabon international has been prolific in his two-and-a-half years in England, attracting interest from around Europe with just one year of his contract at the Emirates left to run.
But Arteta is confident Aubameyang will be convinced to stay by Arsenal’s upturn since the Spaniard took charge in December. “He knows what I think about him, I want to build a squad around him,” said Arteta. “I think he wants to stay, it is about getting the deal done. I think moments like that will help to realise and give him belief that we are in the right path and he is a big part of it. He is loved by everyone at the club so hopefully he will continue with us.”
Victory also secured Arsenal’s place in the Europa League next season to ensure they did not miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years. Arteta warned that failure to qualify for Europe would further restrict his transfer budget before the new Premier League season starts in just six weeks’ time.
“It is a double reward for us, it is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe,” added Arteta, who became the first man to win the FA Cup for Arsenal as a captain and coach. “Winning this competition is part of our history. It’s 14 now, I contributed, we all did it, so I am so happy.”
Aubameyang paid tribute to Arteta’s impact after what had been a desperately disappointing start to the season under Unai Emery, but dodged questions on his future. “He deserves this win. He did a great job and we are all happy to have him on board,” said Aubameyang.
“Nothing,” he added when pushed for comment on his plans for next season.”Today, it’s just about the trophy.”
Lampard fumes after Chelsea’s FA Cup loss
Frank Lampard accused his Chelsea flops of complacency after they blew the lead in FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal. Lampard’s side made the perfect start at Wembley as Christian Pulisic fired them ahead. But Aubameyang equalised from the penalty spot before half-time and made it 2-1 with a fine finish after the interval. “We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and had other chances. From that point, we can only blame ourselves in football terms,” Chelsea boss Lampard said. “We decided to take control as in being complacent, let’s try and play short passes like it is a bit of a stroll. A final can never be a stroll and we allowed them back into the game.”
Lampard had tried to get his players to refocus, but he conceded Chelsea have been hampered by a lack of cutting edge and defensive mistakes all season. They weren’t helped by the extremely harsh second half dismissal of midfielder Mateo Kovacic and injuries to Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Denied his first trophy as Chelsea boss, Lampard couldn’t hide his frustration. “All I can do form the sidelines is shout. There are elements in our game that we have worked hard on all year, but that is in you as a group,” he said.
“We were slow, we played back on ourselves, invited pressure, then didn’t really know where to go from that. We didn’t play well enough to win a final. It doesn’t help to have two hamstrings (Azpilicueta and Pulisic) and a dislocated shoulder (Pedro), then Willian got injured yesterday and had to pull out.”
Despite their Cup final misery, Chelsea had already achieved their main aim by qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a fourth place finish in the Premier League.
Lampard’s season isn’t over as Chelsea travel to Bayern Munich on August 8 for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. But the Blues trail 3-0 from the first leg and Lampard did not want to think about that daunting task just yet. “I’m not even thinking about next week. It’s the end of a long, long season and it was the tipping point for us,” he said.
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