Mikel Arteta led Arsenal to FA Cup glory as a player, captaining the side in the 3-2 win over Hull City in 2014 – now he looks for his first silverware as a manager, in the same competition, on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta treasures the pictures and memories from his first FA Cup final.
It was in 2014, Arsenal came from 2-0 down after eight minutes – only a Kieran Gibbs goal line clearance stopped it from being 3-0 – to win 3-2 against Hull City.
Arteta was captain that day, he admits they were overcome with nervous energy as they won their first trophy in nine years with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger under intense pressure.
But now Arteta wants to use that day as an inspiration for his Arsenal team to help them become a trophy winning machine like Chelsea who they face at Wembley.
Arsenal boss Arteta said: “Probably we had too much energy on the day because we wanted it so much that we were probably too excited.
“Then we were shocked when we started losing the game.
“It is not an easy thing to lift a trophy from losing 2-0. But we believed and when Santi Cazorla scored to make it 2-1, the game changed completely.
“You could sense it. We had the belief and the conviction that we were going to do it.
“I mention Arsene because we really felt a responsibility to him. I think it was a moment of gratitude from all of the players.
“We could say: ‘He deserves this, we want to stay with him.’ The best possible way to help him was to win that trophy.
“I have pictures, I have memories, I’ve got a lot of moments that made that day really, really nice.
“I think we have to understand the context of where the club was… I think nine years without a trophy.”
Chelsea go into the final as favourites, the serial winners with three trophies in the last three seasons, in the Champions League and Arteta wants Arsenal to have that same winning mentality in their squad.
“Absolutely,” said Arteta. “They have some very important core players in those winning teams and it has probably given them a platform to be consistent.
“They have had some really good managers, players and structure at the football club.
“But before the time you mentioned, they were not a winning team.
“But they managed to change that mindset and convince players and put the pressure on everybody at the club that the only aim and the only thing that was allowed at that football club was to win.
“It generates trust when you win a title. It generates moments when together you go through good emotions and at the end it brings everybody together and you have good memories.
“It’s about winning and winning a trophy that is so positive for any club and when you are in a process, obviously that makes it even more important, we have a great opportunity tomorrow, so let’s go for it.”
Arteta’s biggest regret is that there will be no fans in the stadium and no open top bus parade the following day and the Arsenal manager laughed when reminded about Jack Wilshere looking a bit worse for wear amid the celebrations.
He added: “The following day after winning it was great. The connection with your fans and enjoying those moments together, everyone is going on holiday afterwards, so the mood cannot be better.
“It’s the same for everyone. Nobody is coming to the game.
“Obviously my wife, my kids, my family… Every time I have been in this competition, whether it’s been as a player or as part of the coaching staff I have always had my family there.
“It gives me a lot of energy, the fact that they are there enjoying the day – it makes it a bit more special and I think we’re all going to miss that part.”