Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a match-winning brace as The Gunners came from behind to defeat Chelsea 2-1 and win a record 14th FA Cup at Wembley.
Frank Lampard's side took a dream lead in the first 5 minutes through a well taken goal by Christian Pulisic.
But two goals from Aubameyang saw Arsenal come from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 and ensured they did not suffer the embarrassment of missing out on European football next season for the first time in 25 years.
The Arsenal skipper was brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta inside the area and converted the resulting penalty for the equaliser and the first half ended 1-1.
Chelsea were hampered by a first-half injury to Azpilicueta and struggled even further when they lost the outstanding Pulisic to a hamstring problem after the break.
A brilliant finish from the Gabonese striker 23 minutes from time earned Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as Arsenal boss.
Chelsea were later controversially reduced to 10 men at the 73rd minute when Mateo Kovacic was shown a second yellow card for a soft foul on Xhaka.
Post match comment by Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard:
“We started well, scored a goal and controlled the game. And we can only blame ourselves from that point in football terms: we got complacent, playing short passes like it was a stroll. But a final can never be a stroll, and we let them back in the game. It’s hard to get yourself back in the game. We got back in the second half for big periods, but a lot today was on us. Today we were slow and invited pressure. We didn’t perform well enough to win a final. It all came together for us today, didn’t it? We were below par after the start, two hamstrings and a dislocated shoulder, Willian injured yesterday, Kante not fit, we’re at the end of a long, long season. I know everybody is, it’s not an excuse, but it felt like a tipping point today.”
Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, had this to say
“It was a difficult start. Sometimes you can go down. But if there’s something I know about this group of players, it’s that they weren’t going to give up. They reacted straight away and played the best 30 minutes since I arrived. We generated belief. Everyone worked extremely hard, and I am so proud to represent this club. It’s really important for this club to be in Europe, and winning this competition is part of our history. I want to build the squad around Aubameyang, I think he wants to stay but it’s about getting the deal done. We are on the right path and he is a big part of it.”
The victory secured Europa League football for Arsenal next season after their eighth-place finish in the Premier League table.
Never has an FA cup win been so vital to the club.