357 days after the 2019-20 FA Cup kicked off, it is now time for the 139th FA Cup Final as Arsenal face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Victory for Arsenal would see them qualify for next season’s Europa League at Wolves’ expense despite finishing lower than them in the Premier League.
A Chelsea win however would guarantee Wolves a second consecutive Europa campaign, but only if Wolves fail to win this season’s competition which has Champions League qualification attached to the prize.
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Bernd Leno could return in goal for Arsenal from a knee injury which had sidelined him for the last six weeks.
Mesut Ozil (back) and Matteo Guendouzi (disciplinary) could also return, although Hector Bellerin is a doubt with a calf issue.
Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli (both knee), Pablo Mari (ankle) and Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) are all ruled out.
Willian is a doubt for Chelsea after missing their final league game against Wolves with an inflamed Achilles tendon last weekend.
N’Golo Kante however could return for Chelsea after missing their last five matches with a hamstring injury.
Billy Gilmour and Marco van Ginkel remain absent with knee injuries alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek who is out with an unspecified injury.
Route to 2019-20 FA Cup Final
|QF||Sheffield United (A)||1-2|
|SF||Manchester City (N)||2-0|
Arsenal overcome Leeds United in a tightly fought Third Round encounter through Reiss Nelson’s 55th minute strike, before taking dominant away wins over Bournemouth and Portsmouth.
Dani Ceballos’ late effort secured Arsenal a huge Quarter-Final win at Sheffield United after David McGoldrick cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s opener, as the Gunners became the only London based club to beat the Blades in all competitions this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace in the semi-final eventually secured Arsenal a place in this season’s final, knocking out reigning champions – Manchester City who dominated but failed to find that clinical touch to score.
|3||Nottingham Forest (H)||2-0|
|4||Hull City (A)||1-2|
|QF||Leicester City (A)||0-1|
|SF||Manchester United (N)||3-1|
Chelsea enjoyed a dominant start to their FA Cup campaign with home wins over Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, either side of a hard fought victory away at Hull.
Ross Barkley netted his third FA Cup goal of the season to defeat Leicester in a scrappy Quarter-Final clash at the King Power Stadium, before the Blues then ripped Manchester United in a dominant 3-1 Semi-Final victory.
- Arsenal have won two previous FA Cup Finals against Chelsea, winning 2-0 in May 2002 then 2-1 in May 2017.
- Chelsea have won five of 20 previous FA Cup meetings against Arsenal (W5, D6, L9).
- Arsenal have won the FA Cup in each of the last three seasons in which they reached the final (2013-14, 14-15 & 16-17)
- Frank Lampard can become the first English winning FA Cup manager since then Portsmouth boss – Harry Redknapp in 2008 if Chelsea lift the trophy.
- If Arsenal win then Mikel Arteta will become the fourth Spanish manager to lift the FA Cup, and also mark the first time that Spanish managers have won the FA Cup in consecutive seasons.
This is a huge test for Arsenal who have been inconsistent in recent weeks despite beating Liverpool in league and defeating Man City in the semis, yet the Gunners continue to concede with just one clean sheet in their last six.
Chelsea on the other hand can play dominant attacking football if are able to get on front foot early, but their performances are often more inconsistent than their actual results which is surely a slight concern for Frank Lampard.
I therefore do expect a good game given the strong quality in both teams but unless Arsenal can execute a great counter-attacking strategy again to defeat Chelsea in a third FA Cup Final meeting, this should be a Blues win if can score first.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Result: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea