Today we turn the clock back to 2002 when Arsenal faced off against Chelsea in the final of the 2002 FA cup. For the Gunners this was the second FA cup final in a row, while for Chelsea it was their last chance of silverware that season.
Arsenal squad might have still being haunted by the memories of the last FA cup final which they lost against Liverpool, but they did set it right in this match.
Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri has come into this season with high expectations after having a busy summer transfer window. But it was an inconsistent season for the Blues. Arsenal on the other hand were on the verge of doing a double. The Gunners were sitting pretty at the top of the table and they have reached the FA cup final second time in a row.
It was expected to be thrilling match with both teams fielding their full strength line-up (Except perhaps for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who did start the match but was virtually playing on one leg). But the teams failed light up the occasion – at least in the first half. It was a cagey match with neither of the team willing to make any mistake.
Marcel Desailly, Frank Lampard and Emmanuel Petit were excellent for the Blues, but it was the duo of Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg who won the game for the Gunners in the end. It was two moments of brilliance that separated both the teams.
Both the Arsenal midfielders scored with two curling efforts – nine minutes apart from each other – in the second half as the Gunners lifted their first trophy of that season. Ljungberg became the first man to score in successive Cup finals since Bobby Smith did it for Tottenham almost 40 years ago.
The Gunners would eventually win the League title as well after Defeating Manchester United in the penultimate game. It was a memorable double for Arsene Wenger’s side, one that will initiate Arsenal’s dominance in England during that period.