The Blues went into Saturday’s clash as slight favourites after finishing inside the top four at the end of the Premier League season, and enjoyed a perfect start to proceedings when Christian Pulisic fired his side ahead.
Their joy proved short-lived, however, as Arsenal turned the tables through the brilliance of Aubameyang, who was also Arsenal’s hero when he scored twice in the semi-final win over Manchester City.
The Gabon forward drew Arsenal level from the penalty spot before the break after he was fouled by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, then produced a moment of world-class finishing to make the defining contribution to the first behind-closed-doors FA Cup final.
Chelsea were hampered by a first-half injury to Azpilicueta and were struggling even further when they lost the outstanding Pulisic to a hamstring problem after the break.
As the Blues battled to overcome those setbacks, the brilliant Aubameyang was able to give Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as the Gunners’ manager.
Aubameyang, who Arsenal are understandably desperate to secure on a new long-term contract, turned Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma inside out in the 67th minute before delivering the most audacious finish, chipping over keeper Willy Caballero from an angle.
To compound Lampard’s frustration, Mateo Kovacic saw red for a second bookable offence while he lost Christian Pulisic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro to injury, causing an acute selection headache ahead of Chelsea’s imminent Champions League return.
And the manager pulled no punches after the final whistle as he looked back on a poor display.
“We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and created a few chances were in control of the game,” said Lampard. “But after that, we can only blame ourselves from that point in football terms.
“We got complacent. We took too long on the ball, we started playing short passes like it was a stroll. An FA Cup final can never be a stroll. We allowed Arsenal back in the game and from that point onwards, it’s always going to be difficult. A lot of today was on us.
“In the second half we came out brighter, if Christian goes through and scores as opposed to missing and doing his hamstring – well, the circumstances in the game conspired against us.
“It’s been a busy period for us. The players have given everything. With 10 men the last 20 minutes was a really difficult challenge for them. We shouldn’t become too stuck on today. Of course we are disappointed tonight, but over the season as a whole what we have managed to do, come where we did in the league, is a huge plus for us.
“Today would have been the icing on the cake but it wasn’t to be.