Per Mertesacker reveals what he and Rob Holding did to upset Diego Costa

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Football News

Arsenal pulled off an unlikely victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday to salvage something from a miserable season.

They were dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage once again after losing by an embarrassing aggregate score of 10-2.

They also fell away from title contention just after Christmas and finished 18 points behind champions Chelsea.

Worse still, they failed to finish in the top four for the first time in 20 years.

That meant the FA Cup presented their only chance of success this season - much like the last few years - and they seized the opportunity against a much-favoured Chelsea side.

Keeping Diego Costa quiet was always going to be a key feature of any Arsenal victory and there is no doubt Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding did a tremendous job of keeping him at bay.

But how did they do it? By getting under his temperamental skin.

Mertesacker said: “We went to work on Diego Costa. Rob was giving him a really hard time. I kept patting him on the back, being friendly, while Rob kept on talking to him. A good double act. It was very exciting to see how quickly things can turn.

“What was really important was that we kept on running with Costa, to make sure those long balls didn’t get to him.

“We were prepared for that. Especially when Fabregas came on, we were ready to run back to cut out those long balls over the top that he plays.

“You have to say it couldn’t have gone much better for us. The team’s performance was incredible. I don’t know how many would have expected that.”

The German international is right; not many fans really gave Arsenal a prayer against such a well-oiled Chelsea unit, but Arsene Wenger's men managed to get the job done.

Now, the manager's future needs to be sorted out in order for the Gunners to move forward with their summer business and prepare for next season.

Although any cup win is good, there is only so long that will placate a frustrated Arsenal fan base.

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David Luiz

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