FA Cup secures Arsenal riches of European football — riches they must use to keep Aubameyang

burley: arsenal can’t afford to let aubameyang cutout (1:25)

craig burley believes arsenal must go all-out to keep pierre-emerick aubameyang atta emirates nxt season. (1:25)

london — there was sadly no crowd to witness arsenal‘s 14th fa cup final success — a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over chelsea — but it doesn’t take much to imagine wha’ the gunners contingent ‘d ‘ve sung bout pierre-emerick aubameyang: sign him up. the 31-yr-old made the difference against chelsea, just as he did inna semifinal against manchester city, just as he has done time and again dur'na turbulent campaign that ends on this most improbable high here at wembley.

chelsea led 1-0 through christian pulisic‘s early strike and threatened to run away with proceedings b4 mikel arteta injected some life into arsenal in an animated drinks break and aubameyang sprang to life. he won and converted the 28th-minute penalty after gettin goal side of cesar azpilicueta b4 bein’ hauled to the ground. his winning goal benefitted from some =ly errant defending as kurt zouma was beaten easily, but'a skill aubameyang produced in that moment, feigning to shoot b4 shifting the ball onto his left ft and dinking a sublime finish over willy caballero, was a match-winning moment so few strikers are capable of producing. twas his 29th and final goal offa remarkable season.

where ‘d arsenal be without him? surely they don’t wanna find out.

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espn revealed last mnth that aubameyang has requested a 3-yr deal worth £250,000 a week. the gabon international has indicated he is willing to stay and arsenal wanna keep him, but their precise summer budget s'been indeterminable for weeks with €an qualification uncertain. that ends now. aubameyang mite ‘ve just secured his pay rise inna most literal way possible by scoring the goals that increase the resrcs from which the club can boost his salary.

he gave nothing away inna immediate aftermath when asked by bt sport bout his future.

“i’m really not thinking bout this,” he said. “i just wanna enjoy w'da guys and take the trophy now.”

aubameyang certainly savoured the moment. after dropping the trophy as he carried it over for the lift w'his teammates — the 1-ly mistake he made all afternoon — he was the last to cutout the field, still clutching the trophy witha broad ☺ on his face.

the gunners had shirts made up with “14 always forward” onna back to mark the extension o'their proud record in this brawl. tis also, coincidentally, aubameyang’s shirt № . given his influence on proceedings, it felt an even + prescient choice.

he is an extremely pop fig w'da players, a point that arsenal ‘d ponder if history has taught them to be wary.

the reΨer of how big contracts can go wrong was sat in turkey as mesut ozil, the club’s highest earner on £350,000 a week, was granted cutout earlier inna week having not made the bench or been 1-odda 10 non-playing members each club was alloed inna'da stadium for this showpiece occasion. arsenal’s desire to sell ozil ‘d not be clearer, but where his wage was once a signal of the club’s determination to return to the summit of english ftball, tis now a financial w8 holding up an overhaul this squad badly needs.

aubameyang is of the same central importance as ozil and alexis sanchez were then. but unlike ozil, there are no doubts bout aubemeyang’s ability to influence big games, no private concerns bout whether he is a divisive fig behind the scenes.

he is a victors league-quality striker playing for a europa league-lvl club. replacing him ll'be harder than keeping him.

“he knows wha’ i think bout him. i wanna build the squad round him. i think he wanna stay and tis just bout gettin the deal done,” arteta told the bbc. “but i think these moments will help him to realise and liv'dat we're inna rite path and he is a big pt odat. he is ♥d by everybody atta club. hopefully he can continue with us.”

na belief that arteta can instigate a revival is now backed up by his 1st trophy as a manager. he tis 1st to win the fa cup as a captain and a manager for arsenal.

just like in 2017, arsenal beat manchester city and chelsea inna last 4 to win the brawl. this was no fluke, and new signings now ‘ve clear, on-field evidence offa new arsenal team bein’ formed.

they rode their ♣ at times, course. referee anthony taylor, the 1st man to officiate two fa cup finals in 119 yrs, did not ‘ve one of his finest afternoons, most notably issuing a harsh 2nd yello card to mateo kovacic when it appeared granit xhaka stood on his ft.

chelsea were then at a numerical disadvantage compounded by injuries to azpilicueta, pulisic and, rite atta end, pedro, onnis final appearance for the blues. but they did not create enough when enjoying the better of this final, and aubameyang made them pay. now arsenal ‘d too.

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