Aubameyang breaks three records in defining Arsenal FA Cup final win

The Gabonese forward scored from the penalty spot in the first half at Wembley after he had been hauled to the ground by Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta, and added a second in the second period as Arsenal won 2-1.

Chelsea couldn’t live with him, and Arsenal can’t live without him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace won Arsenal the FA Cup at Wembley, and underlined just how vital he is for the Gunners on what could be his final appearance for them.

On a day when the Gabonese broke three records, he also picked up his first major trophy since winning the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 2017, a success which had stood as half of the major honours he’d ever won – after the French League Cup with Saint-Etienne in 2013.

Records tumbled for the forward as he steered his side towards another FA Cup and a tangible symbol of their recent progress under Mikel Arteta.

But it is progress that is utterly dependent on him being around.

“When you look at [Aubameyang’s] goals to game ratio for Arsenal… When you look at Arsenal without him, they would be in a poor position,” said the Gunners legend said when speaking on BBC One.

“He is the focal point. He’s the kind of player that when he gets that half chance, he is fantastic.

“He will be the most important signing that Arsenal make [if he signs a new contract].”

So will he?

That remains to be seen, but on a day when he inspired a final turnaround that showed all that is good about this evolving Arsenal, his place in Gunners folklore was secured.

Firstly, Aubameyang became the first African man to ever captain a side in the FA Cup final, with his brace ensuring that it was an appearance which will be forever associated with his name.

We’ve had the Matthews final and the Gerrard final, and the Aubameyang final might not have been controlled by him in the manner of those previous personal successes, but the piercing nature of his two finishes will be remembered by the very privileged few who were there.

Then secondly and thirdly, Aubameyang is now the first Arsenal player to score twice in a Wembley FA Cup final since Reg Lewis against Liverpool in 1950, and, at 31, the oldest Gunners scorer in a cup final since Bob John netted against Newcastle in 1932.

That he both won and scored the penalty that was Arsenal’s equaliser was one thing, but the stunning manner in which he took his second was quite another.

He might be a player who operates on the fringes of matches, but his mere presence serves to give Arteta the ruthless cutting edge that can buy him some time and give his ideas the very real sense of shiny, silvery progress.

It was a day when Aubameyang shone and the Gunners benefitted.

Now to see if it was the start of something special or just a golden goodbye.