KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Guestimates at both ends of the spectrum swirled around Arsene Wenger after Arsenal managed a record-extending 13th FA Cup triumph in one of the most dramatic finals of recent years with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea .
Now the focus of attention swerves back to the manager and what may emanate on Wednesday and Thursday after a board meeting on Tuesday on which his proffered two-year contract extension is top of the agenda.
Wenger, who has made history as the only manager to win the FA Cup seven times, said: “I’m especially proud of the way we won the cup this season. We had to play Manchester City here in the semifinal and then Chelsea and we made two outstanding performances so this cup was won with special spirit and special attitude.”
He dismissed a question about whether victory would be decisive in a decision over his future from American owner Stan Kroenke who made a rare transatlantic trip for the final and can only have been impressed by what he saw.
Wenger said: “It would be a bit ridiculous that the work of 20 years should depend on one game, that the future of the club should depend on one game.
“Now it’s down to the board to decide whether I am the right man to take this club further and for me to decide whether I am the right man. It’s not about popularity but about competence.
“As for me, you cannot make 35 years at the top level if you believe you’re not the right man to do the job.”
How much Wenger valued this victory was evident in that he changed his tradition of giving his medal to a member of the office or backroom staff.
He said: “For once I have kept my medal so you can tell it’s a special night for me.”
Chelsea manager Antonio admitted that his team never quite recovered from a bad start exacerbated by two crucial refereeing decisions.
Conte said: “Our start wasn’t good enough. Arsenal started better than us though, honestly, I think the goal after three minutes shoudl have been disallowed because there was a handball.
“In the second half we started well and created great chances to equalise but the second yellow card [for Moses] was for sure one of the two key moments. We were able to equalise but then we conceded the second goal after only one more minute.
“It was the key moment for our loss and then it was very difficult.”