It is almost the end of the English Football season with The FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium as two London giants Arsenal and Chelsea meet on Saturday.
Chelsea would love to win the domestic double in manager Antonio Conte’s first season at the club while Arsenal would surely want to finish a rather disappointing season on a high.
- Arsenal vs Chelsea
- FA Cup Final
- Wembley Stadium
- Kick off: 17:30 BST
- Live on BBC One/ BT Sport 2
Chelsea have won the Premier League title and have played beautiful football throughout the campaign consistently. They finished 18 points clear of Arsenal and the Blues have been picked as favourites to win the game by a lot of people.
Arsenal on the other hand finished 5th, the lowest since Arsene Wenger took over. The Gunners will play Europa League football next season, something very unusual for Arsenal fans. The FA Cup is the only hope for any silverware Arsenal could possibly get their hands on this season. But it will not be easy for the Gunners to defeat the mighty Blues.
Tactical Change at both ends
Arsenal defeated Chelsea 3-0 in the first meeting of these teams this season. That defeat led to the change in formation by Antonio Conte, who started playing 3 at the back since. A change that worked out well for the Italian, who won the Premier League, eventually.
Arsenal too, after a disastrous run going through December to March, had a similar change that saw them playing three defenders at the back. The change saw Arsenal getting back to winning ways as well, as they ended the season in good form. The change has certainly brought the best out of some of Arsenal players like Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka and especially Aaron Ramsey, who looks in great touch.
Chelsea will be looking to complete their first domestic double since 2010. While for Arsenal, it could mean much more. The future of manager Arsene Wenger, key players Alexis, Özil and Oxlade Chamberlain might just have a lot to do with the result of this game.
Laurent Koscielny picked up a Red card against Everton, and has received a 3 match suspension, which rules him out of this game. Gabriel as well, is out for about 8 weeks as he got injured in the final League game against Everton. Mustafi is battling concussion and is a major doubt for the game. Which leaves Arsenal with Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and Per Mertesacker, as the only three recognizable central defenders, who could start. Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s club captain, will start his first game this season if Mustafi is to be declared unfit for the game.
Manager Arsene Wenger has a lot to do, if he wishes to lift the Cup for a record 7th time as a manager. Stopping the likes of Hazard, Costa, Pedro and Fabregas would be incredibly difficult for a new 3 man pairing in the defence.
Injuries and Suspensions
Koscielny will serve a three match suspension following his red card, while Gabriel and long term absentee Santi Cazorla are unavailable for Arsenal due to injuries. Mustafi is a major doubt for Arsenal, while Oxlade Chamberlain and Alexis are set to start after minor setback.
For Chelsea, they have almost everybody fit and available except Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who’s suffering from back pain. Conte has a lot of options to choose from for his starting XI.
Arsenal: Cech; Monreal, Mertesacker, Holding; Gibbs, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Alexis, Özil; Welbeck
Chelsea: Courtois; Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Alonso, Kante, Matic, Moses; Hazard, Pedro, Costa
Chelsea are 2/5 to lift the FA Cup while Arsenal are 2/1 to claim the famous old trophy for a record 13th time. If you think the game will go to extra time, you can get good odds of 14/5 on the draw after 90 mins. It is 13/2 for the game to be decided on penalties.
It is sure to be a tight game at Wembley. Less than 3.5 goals in the game is 4/9, but if you fancy a goal fest, over 4.5 goals is 4/1.
Diego Costa is favourite to open the scoring at 3/1, while Cesc Fabregas is 10/3 to score against his old club. Sanchez is 7/4 to score anytime.
Odds provided by our betting partner SkyBet. Take advantage of your Football Faithful offer, you get a £20 free bet, when you bet £5. Just click the banner below!
Arsenal might not be at their best and they will be facing a team who are the Champions of England. However, I do feel that like always, Arsenal might just somehow manage to turn up for the FA Cup game and scrape their way through this. In what will be a very close game, I still go for a surprise Arsenal victory.