FA Cup Final: Who wins the battle at Wembley?
A London team will win this year’s FA Cup as city rivals Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 1.
It’s been a scrappy season for Arsenal and Chelsea, as the two London sides will hope to prove a point in the FA Cup final.
It’s also interesting to see the two of the most successful clubs in the competition’s history do battle in the final, led by their new managers, who have lifted the trophy as players themselves.
The match will be played behind closed doors at Wembley Stadium with no fans due to government guidelines regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard and Arsenal’s boss, Mikel Arteta, once rivals on the pitch, will pit their fresh philosophies against one another off the pitch in the Wembley dugout.
Arsenal‘s season is not a nearly as disappointing one.
The Gunners stunned holders Manchester City 2-0 in the semifinals, while Chelsea saw off Manchester United 3-1 to leave Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard within one game of glory in their first seasons in charge.
“We are really happy with what has happened in the last four or five days,” explained the Gunners’ manager.
“To beat probably the best two teams in Europe is the nicest thing to do so credit to the players for what they are doing, their performances and the level of fight they are showing.”
Arteta also reckons that an FA Cup success would convince Aubameyang to remain with the club, following months of speculation over the striker’s future: “Good and beautiful moments, they are always better than the bad ones,” said the Spanish tactician.
“As I told you, the way I look at [Aubameyang] when I speak with him, he sounds pretty convinced. But obviously, if he can see that success and the direction, we are taking is the right one, I think he will be more positive about it, yes. Hopefully, it will help him to be more convinced we are going in the right direction.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, put in arguably one of their best performances of the season to defeat Manchester United 3-1 in the other semi-final. The Blues suffocated the Red Devils and claimed a deserved victory, with strikes from Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount and an own goal from Harry Maguire.
Chelsea will be looking to win the FA Cup for a ninth time, with their most recent success arriving in 2018 when they defeated Manchester United 1-0 in the final. Manager Frank Lampard believes reaching the FA Cup final is a sign of his side’s improvement.
“It is a great achievement for us to get there,” Lampard explained. “To win a semi is a great thing but to win a final is the thing. We are progressing, we are getting better. There have been recent bumps but [the semi-final win] was a performance of huge character and personality, work ethic and quality.”
Head to Head Stats
Arsenal has won on 76 occasions, Chelsea 65, with 59 draws shared.
Of their FA Cup clashes, Arsenal has won nine to Chelsea’s five, with six draws.
Arsenal and Chelsea contested the 2017 FA Cup Final, with the Gunners winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey either side of a Diego C
Bernd Leno is aiming to return to training soon, but will not be ready for the final and that means Emi Martinez will remain in goal.
Gabriel Martinelli (knee), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Pablo Mari (ankle) and Calum Chambers (knee) all remain sidelined by injury.
Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi are technically available, but it remains to be seen whether Arteta will restore either to his matchday squad.
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi will miss the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Aug. 1 because of a hamstring injury, the Premier League club said.
Mustafi, 28, sustained the injury during the closing stages of Arsenal’s 2-0 semi-final victory against Manchester City at Wembley last week.
“Mustafi will miss remaining matches of this season. Further details on recovery programme will be confirmed in the coming days,” Arsenal said.
The German defender has received plenty of criticism for his inconsistent displays for the north London club since he arrived from Valencia in 2016 but has enjoyed a renaissance under Mikel Arteta, starting 12 of their last 15 Premier League games.
N’Golo Kante is facing a race to return from a thigh injury. Even if he returns, it will most likely be as a substitute.
Billy Gilmour is out for the season after knee surgery, while Willian missed Chelsea’s final League game against Wolves through injury.
Given the two sides’ respective League form, Chelsea is book favourites. However, Arsenal’s recent wins against Premier League champions, Liverpool and FA Cup favourites, Manchester City show they are capable of upsetting any English team on their day.
Much will depend on how Chelsea sit up. If they plan to dominate possession with a high line as both Liverpool and Manchester City did, they could be caught out by Arsenal’s frontlines.
Chelsea’s key aim was Champions League qualification, and a Premier League top-four finish means cup glory would be the icing on the cake for Lampard if Chelsea lifts the FA Cup.
As for Arteta, there are definite signs of the coach imprinting his style and identity on Arsenal already, but the worst League finish in 25 years has given the prospect of winning a record 14th FA Cup added importance.
The Gunners will be hoping this will be a repeat of 2017 final in which they defeated Chelsea 2-1.