The opening day of August and what a way to start the month for football fans as Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium. This match will be shown live around the world from 17:30 GMT and it promises to be a memorable occasion as two London clubs clash in the capital city to decide the winner of the English game’s best-loved trophy.
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Arsenal rank as the tournament’s most successful club and have a real chance to tighten their grip with a win on Saturday. It would give Mikel Arteta his first piece of silverware as a manager and cap what has been a decent debut campaign for the Spaniard. Across the hall and Frank Lampard hopes to add FA Cup success to his growing list of achievements after leading the Blues to a top-four finish in the Premier League and place in next season’s Champions League.
These teams have met on FA Cup action 20 times in the past with the Gunners leading the head-to-head stats. Arsenal have claimed victory on nine occasions with Chelsea picking up five wins and six games ending in a draw. The pair last met in the Premier League back in January when playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw. Will we see more goals here? Neutrals and armchair fans certainly hope so.
Gunners blast out Man City
The history books show Arsenal have won the FA Cup a total of 13 times in the past and that makes them the competition’s most successful team. They claimed their first medal back in 1930 and last finished as champions in 2017. The latter was achieved thanks to a win over Chelsea in the final at Wembley with 2-1 the final score that day. Sanchez broke the deadlock inside four minutes to give the Gunners a lead before Costa hit a reply on 76 minutes to get the Blues level. Ramsey scored what turned out to be the winning goal less than three minutes later. It was a gripping final and another competitive match is expected.
Arsenal booked their place in the final with a stunning 2-0 win over Manchester City at this venue on 18 July. Many football pundits and followers of the English game had Pep Guardiola’s side marked down as the most likely winners of that match, but this competition is famous for throwing up shock results and we got another that day. Aubameyang was the hero of the day with the attacker scoring both goals to sink the Cityzens. He fired his men into a lead on 19 minutes and got the second to put the game to bed with 71 on the clock. It may have been an upset for the formbook this season, but Arsenal fully deserved their place in the final.
Speaking to the press at the end of that match Arteta spoke of the confidence he has in his entire squad, knowing he can call on them to come in and do a job against any opponent. The inexperienced gaffer was also full of praise for the organisation shown by his team in that win over Man City, crediting the way they closed their opponents down when they had the ball and limited the space in their defence. Arteta will be asking for more of the same from his men in the final as they go in search of a 14th FA Cup title.
Blues down Man Utd
Flicking through the FA Cup record books and we see Chelsea have won the FA Cup a total of eight times in their history with the first coming in 1970. They were last seen lifting this trophy aloft in 2018 when beating Manchester United 1-0 in the final under manager Antonio Conte. The winning goal in that match came from the boot of Hazard who scored from the penalty spot on 22 minutes. The Belgian is now on the books of Real Madrid after the London club were forced to sell their top players and place their trust in the club’s youth system.
Chelsea reached the final of this season’s FA Cup with an amazing 3-1 win over Manchester United at Wembley on 19 July. It was a game that had been billed as a real 50/50 cup tie and one either side were capable of winning but it was Chelsea who came out on top and they finished fully deserving of their place in the final and crack at winning the trophy. The Blues blew away the Red Devils thanks to goals from Giroud, Mount and an own-goal from Man Utd’s Maguire. Bruno Fernandes scored a consolation goal on 85 minutes, but it was a case of too little too late.
Lampard has worked wonders at Stamford Bridge since returning as manager of the club he once captained as a player and fans hope a top-four finish and FA Cup win will be a sign of things to come. The manager has been forced to give youth a chance this season, but his young players have repaid that faith with some big performances and the future is looking bright for the club, both on and off the field of play. The squad will want to sign off for the season by winning the FA Cup and make it impossible for Lampard to replace them during the summer transfer window.
Arsenal vs Chelsea prediction
A meeting of two London rivals and this game has all the ingredients of an exciting final. Chelsea finished four places higher than Arsenal in the Premier League table but that will count for nothing on Saturday. This is a 90-minute match and shoot-out for the trophy. Arsenal will take heart from the club’s past glories in the FA Cup.
This Chelsea team may be young and inexperienced, but they are fearless and ambitious. Many watched recent FA Cup finals as fans of the tournament and will be itching to get onto the Wembley turf and write their names into the history books. A performance similar to the one given against Man Utd in the semi-final could be enough to see them lift the trophy.
FA Cup odds
Arsenal have been priced at 23/10 in the match winner market with Chelsea available at 6/5 to settle things in 90 minutes. The draw is 13/5 for those who expect this one to head into extra-time.