The Sunday papers agreed that this was one of the better Cup finals of recent years and all noted just how much Everton's fans brought to the occasion - outsinging Chelsea even in the minute after the final whistle blew- but the team could not hold on to their first minute lead, and Chelsea were clearly the stronger side after going 2-1 ahead.
That Everton were universally billed as plucky underdogs and unlikely finalists, despite having finished 5th in the league for the second season in a row, offered a striking illustration of the stratification into a new caste system. The bookies (sensibly) offered odds of 2:1 on Cup final morning against the Cup going to Merseyside.
You can see why when Chelsea's victory means that the 'big four' end up winning 19 of the 20 League titles and FA Cups this decade, denied a clean sweep only by Portsmouth's FA Cup victory in 2008. Five clubs have won the major domestic trophies in this decade - the most predictable and least broadly contested in English football history - yet twelve clubs shared those 20 trophies in the 1970s, when there were six league champions and nine different FA Cup winners.
The Fabian Society's research into football's collapsed social mobility also showed how the pool of FA Cup winners has narrowed. The Cup winners have, on average, finished third in the league in this last decade, compared to 11th in the 1970s and 8th in the 1980s. (The first final I remember - and among the greatest ever - was in 1981 between Spurs and Man City sides who had finished 10th and 12th in the league).
The Times had an interesting factoid yesterday morning: that 11 of the last 13 finals have been won by the team finishing higher in the league. Tellingly, the only exceptions were the victories of Chelsea (2nd) over Manchester United in 2007, and Liverpool (3rd) over Arsenal (2nd) in 2001.
This may explain why great Cup finals are now so few and far between: those finals with the potential to emulate historic upsets having too often turned into mismatches. Indeed, there has been only one classic in the Premiership years: the West Ham-Liverpool game in 2006. By contrast, in the previous two decades, the Cup finals of 1973, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991 were among those which could all stake reasonable claims to the all-time classics list.
The issue of predictability and stratification is increasingly dominant in the sports pages. Both Mark Reason in The Sunday Telegraph and Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times wrote about predictability killing the Cup on Sunday.
As Reason wrote:
OK, so occasionally miracles do happen. Last year, Portsmouth beat Cardiff City in the final. But that was a freak of nature – 17 of the previous 19 Cup finals have been won by Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool. Predictability kills nostalgia.
Who can really, truly remember much about those past 19 finals? ... If Saha's goal had proved the winner, if apples were oranges we might still have a smidgeon of faith. But a lot of us are now atheists as far as the FA Cup is concerned.
I was among those (mildly) offended by ITV's marketing of a "week of finals" to cross-promote the European Cup and FA Cup finals with the grand final of Britain's Got Talent.
Yet unlike the Wembley showpiece, the talent show did provide the kind of last minute giant-killing shock for which the FA Cup was once famous.