Arsenal ripped Tottenham Hotspur apart in the first half at the Emirates and it was enough to win 5-2.
These two clubs have clashed in at least one FA Cup final every season since 1993, and Arsenal have won the cup seven times against the last three title winners, so this has become quite a rivalry.
But Arsenal had things to prove, as they ended last season on a negative note, finishing fourth. As a result, Mauricio Pochettino had his side focused for this one game, and they made it a very short evening for the visitors.
Arsenal also managed to hammer home their advantage quickly and be awarded the first goal just two minutes into the game. A deep corner found Granit Xhaka, and he headed the ball down to Danny Welbeck, who banged in a header from close range.
Arsenal should have doubled their lead a few minutes later, when Mesut Ozil headed just wide of the goal. But Arsenal weren’t to be denied a second goal, as they went up 3-0.
The first goal was an Xhaka own goal, as Spurs had the ball in Arsenal’s goal and in a perfect position to score but couldn’t hit the target. Theo Walcott just saw the ball on the far post, and he fired it off and into the net to hand Arsenal a two-goal advantage.
Tottenham were quickly chasing their tails and Arsenal had the momentum. Their third goal came just two minutes later, after a shot from Ozil hit the crossbar and was cleared off the line, but Welbeck got to the rebound to tap the ball in and make it 4-0.
Danny Rose had to be stretchered off with an injury in the first half, and Spurs’ defense looked shaky, as Arsenal tallied five goals in the first half with a breathless attack.
Spurs might have been able to turn things around in the second half, as they had the advantage, but Arsenal rediscovered their form in the second half.
Ozil had a fantastic chance, but he inexplicably tapped the ball over the bar. This almost appeared to set up Tottenham with the chance to finish the match, but Arsenal took advantage of their extra man with goal from Alex Iwobi off a pass from Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal went ahead 5-0 when the ball was passed back to Petr Cech, who found Iwobi. Iwobi put the ball on the spot, where he made a nice finish past Hugo Lloris.
It was clear by the way Arsenal played that this wasn’t the same Tottenham team we’ve seen throughout the season. They looked out of sorts from the first whistle, as the midfield was decimated by injuries and injuries. They failed to have any defensive structure in the middle of the field and they were easily taken apart.
You had to wonder why it had taken so long for Arsenal to rack up all five goals if Tottenham played well throughout. Instead, Arsenal didn’t miss Cech when he was out and they picked up the goals.
All in all, Arsenal swept past their rivals to lift the FA Cup once again. It may have been a rivalry final, but it had to be a tougher test for Arsenal than North London Derby.
Next up for Arsenal is Chelsea, who they’ll host in the FA Cup final on May 19. And they’ll have to stop the Chelsea offense, which has now scored 42 goals in its last 12 league games.
Dale Young is the Assistant Managing Editor at Futuresport.com. He is also a former Arsenal player and goalkeeping coach.