The Gunners’ comeback from 2-0 down after ten minutes was a sight to behold and a scintillating final for the neutral but how does Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup winning side of 2013/14 compare to the previous winners of 2004/05?
GK - Lukasz Fabianski v Jens Lehmann
The second-choice goalkeeper for much of the season in the Premier League was the man who got the Gunners to the Final and performed well on the day, undoubtedly deserving of his medal for his services to the club but, in his day, there is little doubt Jens Lehmann was one of the best stoppers in the world.
RB - Bacary Sagna v Lauren
The French right-back is likely to leave the Emirates this summer but over his eight years in North London he has been one of the most consistent and committed performers at the club and is probably in the top two in his position in the Premier League. In my humble opinion, he would definitely get the nod ahead of Lauren.
CB - Per Mertesacker v Kolo Toure
Likewise, Kolo Toure was at that time one of the best centre-backs in the league but I think the big German has come on leaps and bounds this season to become the most important member of the Gunners’ back line. His partnership with Koscielny has proven one of the most durable and reliable in England and, despite a scary start on Saturday; I would pick Mertesacker over the Ivorian in his prime.
CB - Laurent Koscielny v Philippe Senderos
This is probably one of the easiest decisions to make as Senderos never really cemented his place in the team at Arsenal. In fact one of the only things he really had going for him was that he wasn’t Pascal Cygan and that’s not really saying much, is it? Laurent Koscielny has become a top-level defender and has developed from a liability to one of the first names on the team sheet week in week out.
LB - Kieran Gibbs v Ashley Cole
Kieran Gibbs’ last ditch header off the line and his composure to deal with an incoming strike after Fabianski left his goal wide open is exactly what makes him a key player at Arsenal. There have been a number of moments like that over the last couple of years that he has alone been the difference between success and failure (that last-ditch tackle against West Brom to make the top four in 2011/12 springs to mind). But, alas, let’s not pretend he is at the level of Ashley Cole in his prime at Chelsea or Arsenal, if we’re being brutally honest.
DM - Mikel Arteta v Gilberto Silva
This is a tough comparison because the Spaniard has been a servant to the club and the manager since he arrived and his character, experience and discipline have become influential over the team but as a genuine defensive midfielder, the Brazilian was definitely the better enforcer and his presence is still missed in midfield to some extent.
CM - Aaron Ramsey v Patrick Vieira
Aaron Ramsey was the hero on Saturday with his overall performance and, of course, his scoring of the winning goal but he has some way to go yet before he stands up in a comparison with a World Cup winner and one of the best captains the Gunners ever had in France legend Patrick Vieira.
RW - Santi Cazorla v Robert Pires
Similarly the Spain international’s opening goal for the Gunners on Saturday kicked off the comeback and he has made some magical moments since he arrived in 2012 but he has some distance to go to be on a par with Bobby.
AMC - Mesut Ozil v Cesc Fabregas
This is a cumbersome question because the club record signing hasn’t been at his best this season as he has been adapting to life in London and the latter of the pair was a club hero and captain and, at the time, probably the best midfielder in the league.
If the question was whether Ozil has the potential to be as influential as Fabregas then I’d be inclined to say ‘yes’ but, on present form and function, I’d pick the former skipper in his prime prior to his move back home in 2011. However, the Fabregas of 2005 was a good deal younger and less developed so it’s a near-impossible decision. I’ll give the German the benefit of the doubt and pick him over an 18-year-old Fabregas.
LW - Lukas Podolski v Jose Antonio Reyes
This may be controversial but I think Lukas Podolski, despite the fact he is the most-oft substituted player at Arsenal, is the better finisher and more effective than the Spaniard was. Reyes never really took to English football and I think if I had 10 minutes to score a winner and both on the bench I’d bring on the German.
ST - Olivier Giroud v Dennis Bergkamp
This requires not even a second’s worth of deliberation. Bergkamp.
2013/14 Arsenal 5 – 6 Arsenal 2004/05