Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won the FA Cup for Arsenal with his Wembley double but left Gunners fans guessing about his future.

The Gabon striker dropped the trophy amid the celebrations but it was his only clanger of the day, after his two goals guided Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea.

His first goal was a confident penalty and the second strike was one to savour, twisting by Kurt Zouma before lifting the ball over Willy Caballero.

Asked what he could say about his future, given his contract expires at the end of next season, Aubameyang told BBC One: "Nothing, just today, trophy, that's it."

It was a day he and Arsenal deservedly relished, and a place in next season's Europa League awaits them.

"We enjoyed today. We are all happy," Aubameyang said.

"Emi [goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez] is crying. That shows that he's really implicated in this game and in this trophy."

Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal as head coach in November, and Aubameyang hailed his impact.

"I think he deserved this win. I think he did a great job and we are happy to have him on board. We just follow him," said the 31-year-old.

Discussing his dazzling winning goal, Aubameyang said: "Zouma knows me well. He knows I'm right-footed so that's why I said, okay, I went on the left there."

The Gunners frontman said his winner was like "Wrighty in the 90s" when told Arsenal great Ian Wright was lapping up the action from the BBC studio at Wembley.

Wright described Aubameyang's impact as "amazing finishes from the top man, the man that we needed." 

"He's come up with the goods," the former England international added.

In an FA Cup final that felt like a signpost for where two clubs at the transitional beginnings of new eras might be heading, the contributions of those who might not follow the journey through weighed heavily.

Chelsea were ravenous in their pressing and insatiable in the midfield battles early on, laying a platform for Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic to sparkle. An eventual 2-1 defeat seemed improbable right then.

Both wide forwards were involved when Pulisic nimbly opened the scoring – the subtle shift of the ball with his left foot to make a dinked right-footed finish possible underlining the USA star's technical prowess.

Olivier Giroud was naturally on the spot against his former club, playing an inevitably shrewd hand. A rush of goals for the experienced striker has suggested a possible new twist on his immediate future. If Timo Werner thinks Chelsea's rippling, roughhousing centre forward is going anywhere quietly he should think again.

The prolific run of six goals in the seven matches preceding the cup final – including strikes in each of the past four – gave way to 2018 World Cup Giroud in that fifth-minute breakthrough. During that tournament, France's number nine contributed no goals, but provided the canvas for the celebrated artists around him to dazzle.

Having bustled into the box to occupy three Arsenal defenders, Giroud's impudent lay-off was deftly perfect. Pulisic almost made it 2-0 all by himself but his evening ended in the cruellest circumstances.

Comparisons between the 21-year-old and Eden Hazard sometimes felt lazy as his debut season at Stamford Bridge blossomed, but the close control and sureness of his dribbling to break free of the Gunners' backline early in the second half recalled the Belgian at his best.

It looked glidingly effortless, only Pulisic's hamstring begged to differ. Curiously, Frank Lampard – whose use of Chelsea's youth products has been so celebrated this term – opted for the soon to be out-of-contract Pedro, 32, as the replacement.

A worrying stoppage-time injury for the ex-Barcelona man means he has probably played his last game for the Blues, but Callum Hudson-Odoi must wonder what a future featuring Hakim Ziyech holds.

With Pulisic incapacitated, there could be little doubt over the prime attacking talent remaining on the field. And he was not wearing blue.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's big-game temperament has been called into question during a prolific stint with Arsenal. The Gabon international tweeted to show he was in on the joke after a brilliantly taken brace saw off Manchester City in the semi-final.

After Cesar Azpilicueta, who preceded Pulisic as a hamstring victim, hauled Aubameyang to ground in the area there were demons to face. At the same end of a populated Wembley, Arsenal's star striker had a stoppage-time penalty saved against Tottenham last season. For good measure, Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero was Manchester City's shootout hero between those same goalposts in the 2016 EFL Cup final.

Of course, the elite performers tend not to concern themselves with such peculiarities or feel the need to indulge in introspection. There can be no doubt Aubameyang belongs to such company. Caballero guessed wrong. Had he gone the right way, there was no chance of him saving a perfect penalty.

If the shift in first-half momentum felt like a sharp fork in the road, Arsenal turned the wheel of the second period in their favour more subtly. At its midway point, one of the finest winning goals to grace this showpiece arrived.

Aubameyang ghosted into ample room on the left-hand side of the Chelsea penalty area. As he stood 69 goals into his Arsenal career - soon to be 70 - the obvious question was how does a man so prolific slip into the danger zone without close attention time and again? It is certainly a gift worthy of the heftiest of contracts.

As it happened, he checked back, seemingly deciding to take on Kurt Zouma for his own amusement. Then came the finish, a beautiful chip to leave Caballero hopeless for a second time. The bedlam that would have unfolded under whatever normal circumstances used to be was easy to imagine.

A Europa League place and the associated uplift in budget means Arsenal might just have the means to negotiate the next pivotal point for the club's trajectory. There will be no spectators there then, either, But if Mikel Arteta can persuade Aubameyang to pick up a pen (without dropping it!) and sign a new contract, it would be even more significant than this first richly deserved trophy of his coaching career.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang produced a moment of magic to give Arsenal their 14th FA Cup triumph in a dramatic 2-1 Wembley win over 10-man Chelsea.

The striker, whose future with the Gunners remains uncertain, slotted in a first-half penalty to cancel out Christian Pulisic’s opener, before firing home a classy match-winning strike in the 67th minute.

It meant the battle of the rookie bosses was won by Mikel Arteta, with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea ending the game a man down following a red card for Mateo Kovacic.

Arsenal’s success means they earn a place in next season’s Europa League, having finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League.

An early breakthrough came after five minutes for Chelsea when Pulisic clipped in a neat close-range finish after former Arsenal battering ram Olivier Giroud cleverly eased the ball into his path.

It made Pulisic the first American to score in an FA Cup final, but his match would later end in injury agony.

Arsenal briefly thought they were level when Nicolas Pepe thrashed a fine 20-yard strike past Willy Caballero.

An offside flag saved Chelsea that time, but moments later, in the 26th minute, Arsenal had a penalty after Cesar Azpilicueta dragged down Aubameyang.

Aubameyang lashed the ball into the bottom right corner, and Chelsea captain Azpilicueta suffered a further blow five minutes later when an apparent hamstring injury ended his involvement.

Pulisic darted through in the first minute of the second half, racing from his own half to the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. Glory was again in his sights but suddenly horror entered the Pennsylvanian’s eyes, a leg injury striking just as he shaped to shoot. As well as missing the target, Pulisic’s race was run, Pedro coming off the bench.

Where Pulisic had been Chelsea’s man most likely, there was no doubting who Arsenal were looking to, and Aubameyang delivered a delicious strike in the 67th minute.

Hector Bellerin charged out of defence and Pepe picked up possession, feeding Aubameyang, who had plenty of work left to do. The former Borussia Dortmund man made it look ridiculously easy as he zig-zagged past Kurt Zouma and floated a sweet finish over the diving Caballero.

Chelsea were in all sorts of trouble moments later when Kovacic received his second yellow card and subsequent red after he and Dani Ceballos battled for the ball, their challenge fading from that point.

Pedro was carried off in stoppage time to deal Chelsea another blow ahead of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich next weekend.

Philippe Coutinho has reportedly been offered to two Premier League clubs, while Manchester City are eyeing Sergi Roberto.

Coutinho is expected to leave Barcelona on a permanent deal this close season.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted for the playmaker, and it could be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – COUTINHO OFFERED TO TWO PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

Coutinho has been offered to both Arsenal and Tottenham, according to The Independent.

The report says Arsenal look the more likely to complete a deal for the Brazil international.

Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern Munich this season, having struggled since arriving at Barcelona from Liverpool in 2018.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are linked with a surprise deal. Sport reports the Premier League giants are interested in Barcelona's Sergi Roberto, who wants to remain at Camp Nou.

- Out of contract next year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move from Arsenal. The Daily Mail reports Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the FA Cup final on Saturday, were sounded out about a move for the forward in January.

- Inter continue to be linked with a move for Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Serie A giants are offering star defender Milan Skriniar to Spurs in their bid to land Ndombele.

- After struggling at Manchester City, John Stones is reportedly set for a move. The Sun reports the defender is poised for a £20million move to West Ham, where he would reunite with former Everton manager David Moyes.

- Sami Khedira's time at Juventus could be over. CalcioMercato reports Juve are negotiating to terminate the midfielder's contract.

- Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, who has been on loan at Sevilla, is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports says Everton lead the race for Reguilon after submitting a bid of £18million (€20m).

Alexandre Lacazette urged Arsenal to "save" their season by winning the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday.

Arsenal have endured a difficult campaign, including finishing eighth in the Premier League and bowing out in the last 32 of the Europa League.

But Lacazette believes they can rescue their season at Wembley, where Arsenal are bidding to extend their record to 14 FA Cup titles.

"We know in the league we finished in a bad position, we lost against Olympiacos early in the Europa League, so we missed a few of our targets," the forward said.

"That's why I say it would save our season."

Lacazette is one of several Arsenal players linked with a move away, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among them.

The France international hopes Aubameyang, who is out of contract next year, commits to the Premier League club.

"I think it's obvious. He scored 44 goals in the league in the last two seasons," Lacazette said.

"I think he has the record at the club [the fastest man to score 50 Premier League goals]. He is our captain as well and everyone likes him, he has the love from the fans.

"I think it's obvious Arsenal should keep him but afterwards this is a conversation between him and the club and we are not involved with this."

Lacazette also backed head coach Mikel Arteta to turn Arsenal's fortunes around, with the club having not won the Premier League since 2004.

"As players and fans we have to trust the board. They give us confidence when they signed me and it’s going to be the same in the future. I think it will be more shiny for the team," he said.

"We know the coach is clear about coming here to put Arsenal on top of the league in the UK and win lots of trophies."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has "matured" since being made captain and is "an important one to keep" for Arsenal, says former Gunners defender Kolo Toure.

Since making his Arsenal debut in February 2018, no player has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang, whose return of 68 is matched only by Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

The Gabon forward's importance to the club was emphasised when former boss Unai Emery handed him the captaincy in November, a job he kept when Mikel Arteta took over a month later.

Aubameyang's long-term future at the Emirates Stadium remains shrouded in doubt with the 31-year-old into the final year of his contract and yet to commit to fresh terms, although Arteta has stated his belief their prized asset can be persuaded to stay.

Toure, a member of Arsenal's 'Invincibles' title-winning team of 2003-04, said Aubameyang has shown the qualities needed to be a leader and is crucial for the Gunners.

"He's a top player. I saw him grow. I can see that he's matured now," Toure told Stats Perform News.

"You can see as a captain he's a leader, leading by example. He's very focused. He's working hard for the team.

"He's a great captain and a great example. It's really easy to talk but what are you showing us? Are you willing to fight for every ball? That's what [Steven] Gerrard, [Patrick] Vieira, those great captains did.

"He's an important one to keep."

Arteta assumed the reigns after Emery's tenure was ended 18 months on from being chosen as the successor to Arsene Wenger.

Toure believes Arteta has changed the culture at the club and the players are knuckling down for each other.

"I watched his first games. I was intrigued to see. I had an idea. In my mind I was thinking that the players were not playing together," he said.

"You could see the attacking players and midfield were trying to press, but there was a big gap between midfield and the defence. That's what he changed. When Arsenal press, they do so with high intensity.

"The back four are really high and the strikers are putting pressure to players on the ball, which is great.

"And culture – you can see every player is involved 100 per cent. They press together, when they defend deep, they defend all together. The strikers help.

"When they have the ball they can counter unbelievably with Aubameyang's speed.

"He's brought the team spirit and the mentality; 'we are in this together'. No one can cheat in the team, this is non-negotiable. That's the word he's used."

On Saturday, Arteta has the chance to win his first silverware as a head coach when Arsenal play the FA Cup final against Chelsea, for whom Frank Lampard is also aiming to end his maiden campaign in the Blues dugout with a trophy.

Toure is impressed by how both men have adapted to the touchline from their playing days.

"It's unbelievable either could win a trophy in their first year. For ex-players to do that is unbelievable," Toure said.

"Being an ex-player does not mean you are going to be a good manager. Their intelligence and understanding of the game, it's different to being a player.

"Where you are on the pitch, you have to make quick decisions. The touchline is different. You have to analyse the game and be able to see things to improve your team.

"You have to plan and spot weaknesses. They are an inspiration for us. It gives me the belief that when you've been a player you can make a career as a manager."

Mikel Arteta does not believe the FA Cup final will prove to be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's last game as an Arsenal player.

The Arsenal captain, who has one year left on his contract, hopes to help his side to a Wembley victory over rivals Chelsea on Saturday and secure his first piece of silverware since moving to London in January 2018. 

Without a win, the Gunners will miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years.

Arteta concedes continental football is essential for a club of Arsenal's size and remains optimistic that Aubameyang can be persuaded to stay, particularly if he lifts the cup.

"No, I don't have that feeling," he told reporters when asked if he thought it would be the Gabon international's last match for the club.

"It is a package at the end, you need to have a lot of ingredients on the table to persuade a player of his level to be at this football club.

"It is a massive day. I wouldn't like to talk or link too much these two factors but it is a reality obviously that financially it would be really helpful and obviously from the sporting side as well to play in Europe for this club is a must.

"Don't forget that he still has a contract here with us and we want to keep him and do it in a more long term but at the moment he is with us and I think he should be really proud of where he is as well.

"Winning a trophy helps to really believe and make you feel, 'Wow, I want more of those moments as well'. Absolutely [it can encourage Aubameyang to stay].

"If you are wearing the armband and you are able to lift that cup, it is such a moment and this is going to help for sure."

Aubameyang, 31, scored both goals in Arsenal's 2-0 semi-final win over Manchester City earlier this month and has been linked with a host of Europe's top clubs.

Arteta, who took over as head coach in December after Unai Emery's sacking, acknowledged the importance of lifting trophies in building relationships with key players.

He continued: "It generates the trust when you are winning titles. It generates moments when together you go through good emotions and it brings everybody together.

"There is lots of things about winning and winning a trophy which is so positive for any group and that makes it even more important. We have a great opportunity so let's go for it

"We are very excited, it is a special day in this country and in this competition and we are linked as a club by how many times we have won it.

"We want to do it again, it would be so special to do it in my first season in charge and, again, the boys are really excited and looking forward to the game."

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has become the Premier League's oldest Golden Boot winner at the age of 33 after finishing the 2019-20 season with 23 goals.

Vardy fired a blank in Leicester's 2-0 loss against Manchester United on Sunday - a result that saw the Foxes miss out on a top-four finish - to make it three games without a goal to see out the season.

However, the ex-England international still finished a goal clear of Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Ings of Southampton at the top of the scoring charts.

He overtakes Didier Drogba, who netted 29 goals for Chelsea in 2009-10 at the age of 32, as the oldest recipient of the award.

Aubameyang shared the accolade with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah last season, though the Liverpool pair finished this campaign with 18 and 19 goals respectively. 

 

Arsenal held off a valiant comeback from Watford to triumph 3-2 at Emirates Stadium, a result that confirmed the visitors' relegation to the Championship.

An otherwise disappointing Premier League campaign for the Gunners ended on a winning note thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though their focus was always on next weekend's FA Cup final against Chelsea. 

Watford, in contrast, had plenty to play for. They kicked off inside the relegation zone but were unable to produce a final-day miracle, not aided by conceding a penalty inside the opening minute. 

Caretaker boss Hayden Mullins – who replaced Nigel Pearson with just two games remaining – watched his side fight hard after falling 3-0 down, yet even a defiant draw would not have been enough to spare them from the drop.

The Hornets were stung early when Craig Dawson's careless barge into the back of Alexandre Lacazette was spotted, albeit only after a lengthy VAR check. Aubameyang duly converted from the spot, though the away team had opportunities to hit back.

Roberto Pereyra had an attempt saved by Emiliano Martinez, while Rob Holding inadvertently blocked a Troy Deeney header with his face, before Kieran Tierney's shot found the net at the other end. 

Watford aided Aubameyang's ultimately failed quest to win the Golden Boot when allowing the striker to control a long throw and convert with an overhead kick from six yards out, though Arsenal returned the favour by gifting their opponents an opportunity to pull one back. 

David Luiz's sliding lunge only made contact with former Gunner Danny Welbeck, allowing Deeney to fire in a much-needed lifeline prior to the half-time interval.

Having rallied from 2-0 down to draw in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign, there was renewed belief of history being repeated when Welbeck tapped home in the 66th minute. 

However, the forward was denied an equaliser when his clever back-heeled effort was kept out by a diving Martinez, and the game was up once Deeney planted a late header over the crossbar.

 

What does it mean? Watford collapse a cautionary tale

It is easy to forget that the 2018-19 season ended with Watford reflecting on a mid-table finish and an FA Cup final appearance. A year and several coaching changes since, they are facing up to life in the Championship.

The manager's office would have been better off with a revolving door: Javi Gracia departed early, Quique Sanchez Flores returned with little success and while Pearson offered real hope, his surprise departure left the unfortunate Mullins to go down with the ship.

Auba fires yet again

Arsenal finish outside the top six for the first time since 1995, but Mikel Arteta's early months provide some promise for the future. The Spanish coach will hope he has convinced Aubameyang that his long-term future remains in north London.

Dawson's meek defence

Lacazette had his back to goal as he looked to control Aubameyang's cross, only for Dawson to intervene. The centre-back's foolish challenge put his team immediately on the back foot when they were already up against it.

What's next? 

While Watford focus on how to secure a quick return to the top flight, Arsenal know they must defeat Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday if they want to be playing European football next season.

The Premier League season concludes on Sunday, with Liverpool completing their victory lap at Newcastle United.

A dominant campaign from Jurgen Klopp's men means the destination of the big prize has long been decided, although there are still the matters of Champions League qualification and relegation to address.

The remaining top-four berths will go to two of Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United – with the latter two playing each other at the King Power Stadium in Sunday's standout clash.

At the other end of the table, two of Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth will be joining Norwich City in the Championship next season.

However, as we examine below, there are individual awards and achievements still up for grabs.

 

Vardy leads the way in Golden Boot race

A goal from Jamie Vardy against United could represent a huge step towards Europe's elite competition for Leicester City, while it will almost certainly mean the Golden Boot for the former England striker.

Vardy is on 23 goals, in a landmark campaign that saw him being up 100 in the Premier League. Of the 29 players to have reached a century in the competition, only Ian Wright (28 years, 286 days) made his debut at an older age than Vardy (27 years, 232).

The main competition comes from Danny Ings, whose 21 goal makes him the third Southampton player to score 20 or more in a Premier League season, following Matt Le Tissier (25) in 1993-94 and James Beattie (23) in 2002-03.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is next in line on 20. The Gabon international has also enjoyed a landmark campaign, becoming the sixth fastest player to 50 Premier League goals in history as he did so on his 79th top-flight outing for Arsenal.

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are the outsiders on 19 apiece. If Sterling nets against Norwich, he will become the first Englishman to score 20 times in a top-division season for Manchester City since Brian Kidd – now a member of Pep Guardiola's backroom staff – did so in 1976-77.

 

De Bryune hunting Henry's assist record

One man in particular will be keen on Sterling adding to his haul – provided it comes from one of his passes!

Kevin De Bruyne has 19 assists in the Premier League this season, placing him one shy of Thierry Henry's competition record.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil also assisted 19 times during 2015-16.

De Bruyne has been directly involved in 30 league goals this term, scoring 11 alongside his creative exploits. This is the most for a central midfield since Frank Lampard scored 22 and supplied 14 assists for Chelsea in 2009-10.

The efforts of Sterling and De Bruyne have gone a long way to placing City close to an impressive collective feat. If Guardiola's side score three times against Norwich, they will reach 100 goals for a third consecutive Premier League season.

 

Ederson and Pope battle it out for Golden Glove

Another City player looking after number one on Sunday is their number one. Ederson is on 15 clean sheets, putting him level in the Golden Glove standings with Burnley's Nick Pope.

The Clarets end another excellent season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and if Ederson and Pope cannot be separated at full-time the award will be shared.

Both men have a similar save percentage, with Pope stopping 70.7 per cent of efforts sent his way compared to Ederson's 69.6, but the Englishman has been far busier.

Pope has made 118 saves from 164 shots faced, compared to Ederson's 64 from 92.

Although impressive, neither man has been flawless, with Ederson committing three errors leading to goals and Pope culpable for two.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still waiting for Barcelona, while Manchester City could be set to sign an attacker.

Aubameyang's future at Arsenal is uncertain, with the star forward out of contract next year.

And the Gabon international seems to be biding his time.

 

TOP STORY – AUBAMEYANG WAITS FOR BARCELONA OFFER

Aubameyang is prepared to wait for an offer from Barcelona amid their apparent interest in Arsenal's top scorer, according to Sky Sport and Sport.

Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo reports the 31-year-old is considered an alternative if Barca cannot land Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Aubameyang has scored 25 goals in 42 games for Arsenal this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Valencia attacker Ferran Torres looks like he has decided on his next move. Sport Bild reports the 20-year-old has agreed to join Manchester City over Borussia Dortmund. The report says the Bundesliga club considered Torres as a potential replacement for Jadon Sancho, who is linked with a move away.

- Following some less-than-convincing performances from Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are apparently eyeing a goalkeeper this close season. The Manchester Evening News reports Chelsea are prepared to more than double Dean Henderson's Manchester United wages, with the shot-stopper having impressed on loan at Sheffield United this season. The Daily Mail says Henderson is set for talks with Manchester United next week.

- Atalanta star Duvan Zapata could be set for a move. CalcioMercato reports Juventus are interested in the striker, who it says was the subject of a €50million offer from a foreign club.

- Liverpool and Manchester City are reportedly interested in Sevilla defender Diego Carlos. Goal reports the LaLiga club have received two offers from England for the 27-year-old, although from which clubs remains unknown.

- Loris Karius seems set to make a permanent exit from Liverpool. Goal says the Premier League champions want €6.6m (£6m) for the goalkeeper amid interest from Marseille.

- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is on track for a move from Southampton. The Telegraph reports Everton's bid of around £25m for the midfielder has been accepted, but Tottenham have also submitted an offer.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal is the "perfect place" for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and expressed his confidence that the Gabon striker will extend his stay at the Emirates.

Aubameyang is out of contract in 12 months' time but Arteta says he "likes the way the conversations are going" regarding a renewal.

The 31-year-old former Borussia Dortmund striker scored both goals as Arsenal beat Manchester City on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final and is a key part of Arteta's plans to revitalise the Gunners.

Asked if there was a deadline for the deal to be concluded, Arteta told Sky Sports News: "I don't know, to put a date right now is very difficult.

"I like the way the conversations are going, I like what I'm hearing. I'm sure for both parties, the quicker we can do it, the better for everyone.

"I am confident he will extend his stay."

That confidence is built from dialogue with the player and his representatives.

Arteta added: "He's generally happy. I think he is enjoying his football. He is settled in the country and his family are good.

"I think he can sense - and we've told him - how much we like him, how much we value him. I think the connection he has with the fans is unique. I believe he is in the perfect place for him.

"Everything I have from him and the people around him is the same. So I don't have any arguments to say something different."

Arteta has made an impressive start to life as Arsenal boss having spent over three years as Pep Guardiola's assistant at City - highlighted by back-to-back victories over his former employers and, prior to that, league champions Liverpool.

The Spaniard had previously expressed concern at the level of backing he would get in the next transfer window but is now adopting a more optimistic tone.

He said: "I think we will get all of the support that we need.

"Some of the limitations that we have and the uncertainties that we have are going to be a little bit clearer in the next week or two weeks and then we will be in a much stronger position to know how much we can do or cannot do.

"But I am very positive because everything I'm hearing is that we want the same thing and that's the most important thing."

Arsenal will move up to eighth in the Premier League table with a win at relegation-threatened Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi should follow Granit Xhaka's example if they want to save their Arsenal careers, Mikel Arteta has said.

Ostracised Gunners pair Ozil and Guendouzi have been left on the outside looking in as Arsenal have enjoyed a resurgence under Arteta, who has guided the club to six wins in their previous eight games.

That run included back-to-back victories over Premier League champions Liverpool and then Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals last week, with Xhaka inspirational in both games.

It is a far cry from early November - almost two months before Arteta arrived as head coach - when Xhaka's future at Emirates Stadium looked bleak after he was stripped of the captaincy having reacted angrily to fans who booed him when he was substituted.

"The challenge with Granit was to convince him that there was still a place for him here - that I had big belief in him and that things can turn around pretty quickly in this industry," Arteta explained to reporters ahead of Tuesday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

"He had to send the right messages. First of all, he had to believe that he could do it and if that was the case, we were going to support him all the way through.

"I'm really glad to hear and sense the reaction from the fans towards him, I think they can appreciate what he's done. That's in the past, there's a lot of positives to take from difficult situations and we all learn from that.

"He's a really good example for any player that is in a difficult moment that if you are willing, consistent and really want to do it generally, I think there's always a way back."

Ozil has not been involved since March, before competitions were halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, while fellow midfielder Guendouzi has not been seen in an Arsenal shirt since confronting Brighton and Hove Albion players in a 2-1 loss on June 20.

Asked whether Xhaka could be considered an example for those two in particular, Arteta replied: "That applies for any player, and any member of the staff.

"If you really show that then you're deciding to do the best, not for yourself, but for the team and for the club, I think everybody will welcome you.

"It's not just me that has to give the green light. It's everybody that has to be supportive and you need to feel as well that support from everybody because if not it's a very uncomfortable situation."

There is similar uncertainty about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future with Arsenal, though not because he is unwanted by Arteta, who is confident the player will sign fresh terms.

The Gabon striker is out of contract at the end of next season and Arteta is keen for the 31-year-old's future to be resolved soon as he pushes on with transfer plans.

"With Auba, I think I've been very clear with what I want - the quicker we do it, for me personally, the better because the player will be more focused, more determined, more calm," he added.

"But we have to respect the timings as well and the means that the football club has."

Mikel Arteta believes triumphs like Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City can convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay after the striker answered his critics with a match-winning performance on the big stage.

Aubameyang produced excellent finishes in each half as City failed to prevail in a domestic cup tie for the first time since February 2018.

The 31-year-old former Borussia Dortmund star has one year remaining on his Gunners contract and Arteta acknowledged experiences such as the one his players enjoyed on Saturday only enhance the prospects of their forward sticking around.

"Everybody has good and beautiful moments, they are better than the bad ones," Pep Guardiola's former assistant told a post-match news conference.

"The way I look at him, when I speak with him, he sounds pretty convinced.

"Obviously, if he can see that success and the direction that we are taking is the right one, I think he will be more positive about it."

Aubameyang posted on Twitter after the game to poke fun at those detractors who feel he is less effective against big-name opponents.

"He showed today on the pitch, not by talking, on the pitch," Arteta said.

Irrespective of Aubameyang's next move, Arteta plans to revamp his squad over the close season.

A piece of silverware and European qualification now being just a game away would obviously strengthen his hand.

"Listen, we are having these internal conversations and we are all on the same page," he said.

"We always agree with the plan we have in place – the communication is really clear and loud. 

"It's about the possibilities we may have, as at the moment we have some uncertainties.

"The way that we finish the season, if we're in Europe and we win [the FA Cup] we will be financially stronger.

"That's why we have to be a little bit patient." 

Mikel Arteta overcame his former boss Pep Guardiola as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double saw Arsenal reach the FA Cup final with a 2-0 win over Manchester City.

Arteta left his role as assistant at City last December to take charge at Emirates Stadium, and while it has been far from straightforward for the Spaniard since, he could be on course to finish a topsy-turvy campaign with silverware.

Aubameyang was the hero as he struck twice at an eerily empty Wembley, sending his side through to face Chelsea or Manchester United on August 1.

City huffed and puffed throughout but were unable to blow Arsenal's well-constructed house down, suffering their first defeat at the national stadium since going out to the Gunners at the same stage of the competition three years ago.

Guardiola fielded the same starting XI that won 3-0 when these teams returned to Premier League action in June, when the master easily overcame his former apprentice in Manchester.

However, the cup holders never hit the same heights in familiar surroundings in the capital, failing to respond after Aubameyang converted Nicolas Pepe's cross with a half-volleyed finish in the 19th minute.

The Gabon forward had missed a glorious chance earlier in proceedings, shooting straight at Ederson when clean through, but made no mistake when stretching out to poke the inswinging right-wing cross back across the face of the Brazilian goalkeeper and in via the far post.

Shkodran Mustafi saw a header tipped over in the closing stages of a first half that saw a rather sluggish City fail to muster a shot on target.

Raheem Sterling carelessly missed the target soon after the break, but Emiliano Martínez was finally called into action to keep out a low attempt by Riyad Mahrez, while the goalkeeper was grateful to see a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick ripple the outside of the net.

Aubameyang, though, had no such issues locating the goal during a rare Arsenal attack in the 71st minute, running onto Kieran Tierney's lofted pass before slotting through Ederson's legs.

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