FA Cup 2017: Final Schedule After Semi-Final Results

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2017

Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel during the FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley stadium in London on April 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Arsenal will meet Chelsea in the 2017 FA Cup final on Saturday, May 27, after beating Premier League rivals Manchester City 2-1 after extra time in the semi-final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. The Gunners won a day after Chelsea had already booked their place in the final thanks to a 4-2 win over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, in a match that also required extra time to separate the two teams.

Arsenal's win has earned the north London club a distinctive place in the history of this famous competition, per Squawka Football:

Squawka Football @Squawka

RECORD: Arsenal are the first team in history to qualify for 20 FA Cup finals. šŸ‘ https://t.co/juHZrr1oZl

It's a record achieved thanks to the Gunners' recent habit of delivering at Wembley:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Arsenal have now won their last seven games at Wembley Stadium: WWWWWWW They love making this trip. šŸŸ https://t.co/dBqKI2ci5R

The stage is now set for Arsenal and the Blues to contest an FA Cup final for the first time since 2002. Arsenal won 2-0 15 years ago, but Chelsea are likely to be fancied in 2017 when the two meet on May 27.

After all, the Blues lead the league table, while the Gunners sit seventh, seven points adrift of their familiar place in the top four. Even so, Arsenal will be confident after surprising City with a cagey tactical approach the men from Manchester couldn't break down in the semi-final.

Much-maligned Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stuck with the same 3-4-3 formation he had switched to for a recent 2-1 win over Middlesbrough in the league. The change meant Wenger's men ceded possession, but City failed to make the most of their territorial advantage.

Those struggles meant the first half ended goalless. Even though Arsenal had frustrated City, the Daily Mail's Jonny Singer wasn't impressed with either side at the break:

Jonny Singer @Jonny_Singer

What a terrible half of football. City, for all their possession, barely had a shot. Arsenal so uncomfortable in the new system

Singer might not have liked what he saw, but the Gunners were staying in the match. At least they were until Sergio Aguero lifted the ball over Petr Cech to give City the lead on 62 minutes.

The goal meant Aguero continued his terrific run in this competition, per BBC Match of the Day:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

1ļøāƒ£5ļøāƒ£ #FACup appearances for Man City 1ļøāƒ£4ļøāƒ£ goals Sergio Aguero āš½ļø #AFCvMCFC https://t.co/vTbvZ1yTCf https://t.co/F0HeIo2JKw

To their credit, Arsenal only needed nine minutes to find an equaliser. It came when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, outstanding on the day, lifted a deep cross left wing-back Nacho Monreal met cleanly on the volley.

Spaniard Monreal usually saves his best for the FA Cup:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Nacho Monreal's last two goals for Arsenal: vs. Man City in the FA Cup šŸ”µ vs. Man Utd in the FA Cup šŸ”“ The scourge of Manchester. https://t.co/McoSE2jTRW

The same is true of Alexis Sanchez, who pounced from close range to give Arsenal the lead in extra time. Attacking talisman Sanchez loves this competition:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Alexis Sanchez has now been directly involved in 13 goals in 13 FA cup games for Arsenal. 7 goals āš½ 6 assists šŸ…°ļø Huge goal. https://t.co/EvhlLxfnVa

The Chilean is also fond of thriving at Wembley, according to OptaJoe:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

4 - Alexis Sanchez is now Arsenal's all-time top scorer in games at Wembley (4 goals). Hero. https://t.co/HoxR5i93fv

Arsenal protected their lead well to book yet another final appearance. It means Wenger now has the chance to win this famous competition for a record seventh time.

However, Chelsea are sure to do all they can to deny Wenger a piece of history. The league leaders are loaded and proved the quality of their squad during the win over Tottenham, when non-regulars like two-goal hero Willian and former Gunners schemer Cesc Fabregas helped make the difference.

Yet it was the introduction of star duo striker Diego Costa and winger Eden Hazard, who scored Chelsea's third, that emphasised the Blues' match-winning potential.


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