London, United Kingdom | AFP | Arsene Wenger said Arsenal’s “spectacular” FA Cup final victory over Chelsea was just reward for an outstanding display from his team as they refused to be divided by a turbulent season.
Wenger’s side could have been forgiven for arriving at Wembley on Saturday at a low ebb after last weekend’s devastating failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.
But the wounded Gunners used that blow to their pride as fuel for a dominant performance that proved too much for Premier League champions Chelsea.
Saving their best for last, Alexis Sanchez put Arsenal ahead with a controversial early opener and even when Diego Costa equalised for Chelsea late in the second half, Wenger’s men had the perfect response as Aaron Ramsey bagged the winner moments later.
Wenger was full of admiration for the way his players took the fight to Chelsea, saying: “We had an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards.
“This team has suffered. but they’re united and they responded.
“I said last week this team will be in contention to win the title with one or two good buys.
“They showed strength and unity and played spectacular football today.”
Battered by criticism from furious Arsenal fans who called for his resignation throughout a troubled season, Wenger was finally able to celebrate as he won the FA Cup for a record seventh time.
The Frenchman claimed the triumph was one of his proudest moments, alongside the 2003-04 Arsenal team that won the title without losing a single league game.
“I’m proud to have won seven of these cups. I’m proud having done this – winning the championship without losing and winning seven FA Cups,” Wenger said.
Wenger, who has been in charge at Arsenal for 21 years, is yet to reveal whether he will sign an extension to the contract that expires at the end of the season.
Reports suggest the 67-year-old is leaning towards staying, but he refused to reveal his future and said the situation would be resolved at a board meeting on Tuesday.
“We have a board meeting on Tuesday. And on Wednesday or Thursday it will be clearer,” he said.