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Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double guides Gunners to FA Cup final win

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to help Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley

 

What a job Mikel Arteta has done since replacing Unai Emery.

I must admit when that semi-final draw was made I thought Arsenal were finished. But they’ve deserved this. It’s their 14th FA Cup title and fourth in just seven years. Astonishing really.

ARSENAL 2-1 CHELSEA

FT: ARSENAL HAVE WON THE FA CUP!

102: Pedro stretchered off on what’s surely his final Chelsea appearance. Tough on the winger. Sead Kolasinac replaces Kieran Tierney for the final few seconds. Quite literally.

100: Glum and worried looking faces on the Chelsea bench and on the field.

Incidentally, IF Arsenal complete the win – Tottenham have to go into the second qualifying round to make it through to Europa League

98: This Pedro injury is more serious that first thought. It looked innocuous enough but the Spaniard is still on the deck and the stretcher is brought on. Chelsea don’t have any substitutes remaining and will end the game with nine players on the pitch.

96: Hmmm. Nicolas Pepe looks to knock Pedro to the floor just outside the penalty area but referee Anthony Taylor ignores it. Not sure why. Anyway, Pedro managed to recycle the ball but over-runs it and hurts his shoulder. He’s now receiving treatment as the seconds tick away.

93: Wasteful. Pedro darts into the penalty area on the left but his looping cross is too close to Emiliano Martinez, who gathers once again. The Gunners are looking a bit panicked here with four minutes remaining.

91:… the ball is whipped in and Emiliano Martinez takes charge. Just what’s needed in the business end of a final. He’s hurt himself in the process and is receiving some treatment.

90: We have SEVEN minutes of added time folks. Seven minutes for Chelsea too find an equaliser… Marcos Alonso wins a corner…

89: Just not seeing anything remotely approaching an equaliser for Chelsea. There’s just no zing to they way they are playing. Ross Barkley booked for a late lunge on Nicolas Pepe. They just need to get the ball forward.

87: David Luiz goes down clutching his calf. The Brazilian doesn’t look like he’ll be able to continue as Sokratis Papastathopoulos is stripped and readied. He’s on.

85: Arsenal are less than 10 minutes away from the FA Cup, and a place in the Europa League next season. Playing quite well too.

82: Eddie Nketiah replaces Alexandre Lacazette. Incredibly slow leaving the field. Almost impressive.

80: Ey up! Chelsea are screaming for a penalty when Emiliano Martinez appears to handle the ball outside his penalty area. It goes to VAR… who say NO. The ball is apparently on the line when he touched it.

79: Triple change! Frank Lampard’s last roll of the dice. Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger are replaced by Ross Barkley, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Arsenal haven’t made a change yet.

77: Well… Arsenal will never have a better opportunity to win the FA Cup. One goal ahead, one man up and just over ten minutes left on the clock.

Disbelief on the Chelsea bench at the second yellow for Mateo Kovacic. For those asking, it wasn’t checked by VAR because they only check red card decisions.

75: Tempers flaring now! Mikel Arteta becomes the first manager to be booked in an FA Cup final. He was confronting Antonio Rudiger, who also got cautioned.

73: SENT OFF! Mateo Kovacic has been given his marching orders. Why? Well he’s got a second booking for… nothing really. The Chelsea star and Granit Xhaka basically touched boots when challenging for a 50/50. Anthony Taylor takes his time before giving him his marching orders. Not even sure it was a foul in all honesty.

70: Drinks break. Excluding home games, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is only the fifth player to score 2+ goals in a match at Wembley Stadium in club football more than once, after Ian Wright, Bryan Robson, Ian Rush and Eric Cantona. Good company like.

65: We have 25 minutes remaining and, as things stand, we’re going to extra time and potentially penalties. Plenty of time for things to change.

63: The pace of the game has certainly slowed down compared with the first half. Pedro injects some life into things but Reece James spanks his lay-off high into the stands.

60: Chances! At both ends of the field… Mason Mount narrowly fails to connect with a beautiful diagonal pass from Jorginho. A few moments later Alexandre Lacazette slides the ball to ball to an overlapping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after great work from Nicolas Pepe. He looks to pull the trigger but Andreas Christensen makes the block.

58: Chelsea have grown wise to Arsenal’s go-too tactic of pumping it long down the channel for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to chase. Chances drying up for Mikel Arteta’s side as the Blues start to regain some control.

55: Am I right in saying that Frank Lampard only has one more chance to make a substitute in normal time. So it’s either three at once, or he won’t be able to use five subs.

54: Steady on, Pedro! The Spaniard didn’t have any time to warm up and he’s just gone on a blistering run down the left channel. No end product but promising signs from the substitute.

51: Christian Pulisic is helped off the field with a medical person on either arm. A really sad sight for Chelsea and the neutral. No Willian to replace him – so there’s an unlikely appearance for Pedro! The Spaniard is joining Roma for next season and this will surely be his final game for the club.

48: No change in tactics from either side. Everyone present and correct in the 3-4-3 formation. Christian Pulisic embarks on a mesmerising run, gliding past Rob Holding and firing narrowly wide.

But… he’s injured himself in the process. The US international has done his hamstring. In fact, he screamed in anguish before pulling the trigger. The second Chelsea player of the afternoon to succumb to a hamstring injury

ARSENAL 1-1 CHELSEA

HT: Well… it’s been a half of two halves. Chelsea started the brighter and got their reward through US international Christian Pulisic. Arsenal then came back with a bang and have dominated since the drinks break. Mikel Arteta’s side are in the ascendancy folks.

45: Danger! Arsenal playing with real confidence now. They have a free-kick in a really dangerous position after Andreas Christensen’s clumsy swipe on Nicolas Pepe. This is RIGHT on the edge of the box.

Now who’s going to take this… it’s Alexandre Lacazette. He hits it with venom but the ball slides wide. Mason Mount booked.

44: Arsenal win three corners on the trot. Chelsea don’t deal with them particularly well but well enough to hack the ball clear.

43: Arsenal in control now. Chelsea finding it difficult to keep up their level of intensity with the press. Nicolas Pepe drifts a cross to the back post. Willy Caballero flaps at it and just about gets a fingertip to turn it behind.

Corner to the Gunners.

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley (Image: GETTY)

40: Can’t take your eyes off this game for a second. Nicolas Pepe cuts inside from the right but can’t quite squeeze a shot off in time or find the overlap of Hector Bellerin.

37: So that change has seen Frank Lampard reshuffle his pack. Kurt Zouma now playing on the right of the three with Andreas Christensen in the middle. The Frenchman will be heavily involved over there with Kieran Tierney constantly pinging balls for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang down that channel.

Mason Mount carries the ball into the box, cuts it back for a waiting Jorginho who can’t quite keep his effort under the bar.

35: A rough few minutes for Cesar Azpilicueta. Gives away the penalty then does his hamstring.

34: Injury! Bad news for Chelsea. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta falls in a heap clutching his hamstring. He’s in a lot of pain as the medical staff rush onto the field. The defender is in tears as he limps off the field. Andreas Christensen replaces him.

32: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the oldest player to score for Arsenal in an FA Cup final since 1932, when Bob John netted for the Gunners against Newcastle (33y 80d).

30: Olivier Giroud screams and falls to the deck after a collision with David Luiz. Referee Anthony Taylor asks VAR to take a look but there’s nothing sinister. The Frenchman should be fine to continue.

ARSENAL 1-1 CHELSEA | AUBAMEYANG

27: GOAL! No mistake. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sends Willy Caballero the wrong way and we are all square at Wembley. Emphatic finish.

26: PENALTY TO ARSENAL! Stonewall at first glance. Cesar Azpilicueta misjudges the flight of a long ball forward and wrestles Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the floor. VAR have a quick check… it’s given.

25: Disallowed! Nicolas Pepe scores with a cracking first-time finish from the edge of the penalty area but the flag was up for offside. Correct call.

23: Mikel Arteta was very animated during the drinks break. Not a happy manager as he rants and raves at Kieran Tierney. I notice neither manager wearing a suit today…

22: Wolves supporters will be hoping it ends like this. Remember, if Chelsea win then Wolves get a Europa League place. Drinks break.

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley (Image: GETTY)

21: Chelsea pressing high. It nearly pays dividends with Nicolas Pepe forced into a mistake, which he just about cleans up. Pressing high also means playing with a high line – and that is giving Arsenal’s quick attack some joy.

18: Risky from Mateo Kovacic, who gifts Arsenal another free-kick within shooting range. No second booking but he needs to be careful.

David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos are all standing over the ball. Luiz is the first to walk away leaving it to Ceballos to hammer it over the crossbar. “It’s in” says Danny Murphy, as the ball clearly is about to sail over the bar.

15: Booked! Mateo Kovacic wins the first yellow card of FA Cup final day. Congratulations to the midfielder, who is cautioned for sliding through Granit Xhaka.

13: Arsenal now attack and win a corner. The commentator talks up how terrible Chelsea have been at defending set-pieces… and Nicolas Pepe fires the ball straight out of play.

10: Saved! Great feet again by Christian Pulisic. Arsenal simply can’t deal with him when he drifts in from the channel. He tip-toes past Dani Ceballos before testing Emiliano Martinez with a powerful effort.

7: Nicolas Pepe looks to restore parity straight from kick-off but his long-ranger doesn’t threaten Willy Caballero. Christian Pulisic is the first American player to score in an FA Cup final, while it was Chelsea’s quickest goal in the final of the competition since Roberto Di Matteo in 1997 (first minute v Middlesbrough).

ARSENAL 0-1 CHELSEA | PULISIC

5: GOAL! Did I really say this would be a low scoring affair? Foolish.

We have lift-off in the FA Cup final and it’s Captain America Christian Pulisic with the breakthrough. Olivier Giroud cleverly flicks Mason Mount’s cross into the path of Pulisic, who dinks the ball past Emiliano Martinez. The Gunners were asleep.

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley (Image: GETTY)

4: Chances! Well… that should really have been 1-0 to Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles does well to wriggle his way past Cesar Azpilicueta down by the corner flag. His cross is perfect for the arriving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who glances wide.

Chelsea break upfield and Mason Mount forces a fine, full-stretch save from Emiliano Martinez. Olivier Giroud is furious because he was wide open.

3: Should be interesting to see who takes charge of this one. Both playing a 3-4-3 and both prefer playing on the break. Everyone’s saying they expect goals – but I’m predicting a low-scoring affair. Quite a cagey opening with most of the play rattling around the midfield third.

ARSENAL 0-0 CHELSEA

1: PEEP! We’re underway in the FA Cup final, folks! An almost deserted Wembley heard a terrific a rendition of the traditional FA Cup Final hymn “Abide With Me” by Emeli Sandé. She sang it from the roof of the stadium! Good view for the game actually…

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates from Wembley

Arsenal vs Chelsea LIVE: Score and FA Cup final latest updates 

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With Ukeje’s Return, PDP will Bounce Back in Bende – Ikpeazu

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Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has commended the people of Bende Local Government Area for honouring their daughter and former Member representing Bende Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon.

Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.

The Governor made the remark today during a civic reception organised in her honour at the Bende LGA headquarters. He said the reception would serve as a tonic to propel her to do more in uplifting the polity of Bende in particular, Abia and Nigeria in general.

Governor Ikpeazu said hosting the former federal lawmaker showed that the people of Bende were knowledgeable and strategic, and urged them to rally round her.

The Governor used the opportunity to reiterate that he would sustain his membership of the PDP as it is the party that has favoured Ndị Igbo greatly, pointing out that it was the PDP that gave the South East the Senate Presidency, made an Igbo man the Chief of Army Staff, Inspector General of Police, among others unlike the APC that has created little or no space for the Igbo man, saying the event had many significant importance including the fact that Bende LGA is the gateway to Abia North and that it proves that Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje places Abia State above her personal interests.

The State Chief Executive saluted the youths of Bende Local Government Area for recognizing the good works Hon Nnenna Ukeje whom he described as “a priceless Jewel of Abia politics.

Also, the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu stated that the absence of Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje in the party has affected the party but by her coming back, the PDP in Bende looks good to reclaim its place of pride. He said if Bende was strong again, Abia North would be stronger.

Contributing, the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji urged the Governor to rebuild Bende PDP around Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, saying that she has the capacity to regain the confidence of the party in the LGA. He maintained that Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje was duty-bound to rebuild the PDP in Bende.

In their various speeches, some stakeholders in Bende LGA including Hon. Emmanuel Ndubuisi of the State House of Assembly, Barr. James Okpara, Chief Gabriel Okereke Elendu and Chief B. A Meregini
appreciated the Governor’s efforts in fixing Abia State. They said Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje is an exceptional politician, who did her best and gave the Bende people a humble service and deserves to be rewarded.

They thanked the youths for organising the event and said that her home coming would help in rebuilding PDP in Bende LGA

In an address, the Chairman Organizing Committee and Deputy Chairman, Bende LGA, Hon. Promise Uzoma Okoro said the youths of Bende in conjunction with Abia Democratic Initiative considered it imperative to celebrate Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje for her contributions in Bende Federal Constituency. He described her as the Commander of the First Eleven in Bende politics and assured that the youths would continue to support her to bring about the needed greater development.

Responding, the celebrant, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje said she was overwhelmed by the honour done her by both the Governor and the people of Bende. She said PDP was back in Bende and that she, in collaboration with the people, have the responsibility of building back Bende, assuring that she was committed to ensuring that PDP bounces back in the Local Government Area. She thanked the people for their kind words and gestures, and described Bende as the gateway to success in Abia North.

The event featured conferment of a chieftaincy title of ADA UKWU BENDE by the Bende Council of Traditional Rulers led by Eze Uwakwe Ukaegbu.

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 2023: We don’t Want Christian President Again MURIC tells Obasanjo

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The Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC, has opposed the rumored drafting of the current president of the African Development Bank, ADB, Akinwunmi Adesina, for the 2023 presidential race by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, made this known in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Mr Akintola stressed that whereas three Yoruba Christians had occupied Aso Rock villa, no single Yoruba Muslim has held the post of president or vice president since independence.

The Statement reads:  “Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is reportedly making attempts to draft the current president of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, into the 2023 presidential race.

“We remind the former president that as a Yoruba Christian, he has led Nigeria twice.

He spent 3 years and 258 days as a military head of state (1976 – 1979) and another 8 years as a civilian president (1999 – 2007).

Two other Yoruba Christians have also occupied Aso Rock. Chief Earnest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan was the interim head of state from 26th August 1993 to 17th November, 1993.

“The current vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is also a Yoruba Christian.

“Obasanjo’s attempt to drag Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina who is also a Yoruba Christian into the presidential race negates the principles of fairness, justice and equity.

“It is an attempt to rob Yoruba Muslims of the presidential slot and it violates a cardinal principle of democracy, namely, inclusiveness.

“It is an open secret that Yoruba Muslims who form the majority of the population in the South West are being denied their Allah-given fundamental human rights.

“This has led to complaints and court cases initiated by Muslims across Yorubaland over political and religious persecution. Yoruba Muslims are at the receiving end of deprivation of civil liberties.

“It is our contention that another Yoruba Christian presidency will usher in another opportunity for Christian hegemony and the marginalisation, stigmatisation, repression and persecution of Yoruba Muslims.

“Let Obasanjo tell us how many Yoruba Muslims were ministers in his administration. Even in Kwara State which is also a predominantly Muslim territory, Obasanjo picked two Christians as ministers (C. O. Adebayo and Funke Doyin). But he could not extend such ‘luxury’ to Yoruba Muslims in the South West.

“MURIC rejects this grand design to keep Muslims in Yorubaland in perpetual bondage. There are many Yoruba Muslims who are eminently qualified for the post of president.

“We also believe that the interest of the Yoruba people will be best served if they will channel their grievances towards ensuring that a Yoruba man emerges president instead of pursuing a separatist agenda that may lead them nowhere.

“We advise ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to relax his grip on the Nigerian jugular vein. He should stop pushing Yoruba Muslims to the background. Christians are not the only human beings in Yorubaland.

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It’s All About El’rufai 2023: Bala Usman, Embattled NPA Boss’s Travails To Gov. El Rufai’s Ambition

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Those close to Hadiza Bala Usman, suspended MD, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, believe that her current travails is linked to his closeness to Nasir El Rufai’, Governor, Kaduna State, believed to be nursing presidential ambition ahead 2023.

Usman and El Rufai’s closeness is well documented in the public domain with some speculating familial ties.

The speculations took a life of its own during 2015 general election and political activism for which Usman was a key player.

Some traducers of El Rufai’ are just bent on destroying Hardiza because they feel that she is helping the governor amass money for his 2023 presidential ambition,” explained a close source to the embattled NPA boss who asked not to be mentioned in name because of the political volatility of the matter.

The source, however, insists that he enjoys closeness to Usman, enough to know that there is more to the probe of the suspended NPA boss.

Usman was placed on suspension over alleged looting of N156.3bn under her watch at the NPA.

Summarising the allegation against Usman, the House of Reps minority caucus said that apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the supervisory Ministry, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleaze, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.

The legislative caucus said the summary is also in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.

“The real issue here is that some political players believe that Usman has been using the NPA to warehouse money for El Rufai’ to prosecute a presidential ambition,” explained ElombahNews informer.

Before 2015, Usman was keenly involved in the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign which many saw as political tool to uppend former administration under People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

Not a few political players insist that the BBOG movement had the imprematurs of El Rufai’ at the time.

But El Rufai’ has always contended that the choice of the next president after President Mohammed Buhari should come from the south of the country which in effect excludes him, a Northerner, from contesting the presidential election in 2023.

These, for some pundits, is El Rufai’s scheme of campaigning for the slot of vice presidency under a Southern President.

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