The Premier League season is officially over with the new campaign now scheduled to kick off on September 12. Before the curtain can be lowered on the unique 2019-20 season, however, the FA Cup Final must be played at Wembley. Two of the competition’s winningest teams over the last 20 years will do battle in the showpiece final.
Chelsea ended the Premier League campaign claiming Champions League football and fourth place. They are guaranteed European football next term and winning the FA Cup Final would offer Wolverhampton Wanderers the chance to enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round after they finished seventh in the league.
Arsenal can scupper Wolves’ hopes of making the Europa League. The Gunners would make Europe, if and only if, they win the FA Cup Final on Saturday. Arsenal finished off the Premier League season with a nervy 3-2 win over Watford. The result saw Watford relegated on the final day while Arsenal finished eighth in the league table.
Chelsea have dominated fixtures against Arsenal over their last three meetings. The Blues won the Europa League final just over 12 months ago and claimed four points from six in the Premier League this season. Can Frank Lampard win his first trophy as Chelsea boss or will Mikel Arteta claim his first piece of silverware at Arsenal?
It shouldn’t be forgotten that Lampard came into a Chelsea team fresh off of a Europa League win and runners-up in the previous season’s Carabao Cup under Maurizio Sarri. It was a difficult act to follow and Lampard failed to bring home the UEFA Super Cup last September. Now, he has the chance to lift a trophy that Chelsea have dominated since Roman Abramovich arrived at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won six of the last 20 FA Cup finals with their most recent coming thanks to former coach Antonio Conte in 2018.
Arsenal have also been serial FA Cup winners claiming six trophies in the last 20 years. Saturday’s game is a rematch of the 2017 final when Arsenal claimed a 2-1 win. The victory made former Gunners manager Arsene Wenger the most successful in the tournament’s history with seven wins.
Arsenal’s road to the FA Cup Final began with a third-round win over Leeds United. The victory was followed by wins versus Bournemouth and Portsmouth in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. The quarterfinals saw them claim a late win at Sheffield United before dispatching Manchester City in the semifinals 2-0.
Chelsea’s road to the final began with a 2-0 win at home to Nottingham Forest. It was followed by a narrow victory over Hull City away. The Blues than played league champions Liverpool off the park in the fifth round, 2-0, before claiming a quarterfinal victory over Leicester City. Chelsea then defeated Manchester United 3-1 without being troubled.
Arteta will once again play Emiliano Martinez in goal due to the injury to No. 1 Bernd Leno. Martinez has surely played himself into being Arsenal’s No. 1 for the time being after some inspired displays after taking over for Leno.
No new injuries are to report ahead of the game for Arteta. The names that populate his injured list are all players that have been out long-term. Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli, Shkodran Mustafi, and Mesut Ozil are all ruled out – or should miss out.
Lampard is still waiting on the fitness of N’Golo Kante. He is expected to undergo a fitness test this week to determine if he can play. Lampard may not need the defensive midfielder, however, with the way that Chelsea have played of late.
Questions were asked about Willian’s fitness on Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was left out of the team due to an unspecified injury. He is likely to miss out according to reports. Due to the vagueness of Lampard’s reasoning for Willian’s absence, it may be due to the forward agreeing to officially leave the club this offseason.
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Both Arsenal and Chelsea have attackers capable of scoring goals. They are also suspect at the back, although both have improved over the course of the season. Seven of their last nine games in all competitions finished with both teams finding the back of the net. That includes three straight matches in all competitions.
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Their two Premier League matches in 2019-20 ended with over 2.5 goals scored. In addition, their Europa League Final in 2019 finished with over 2.5 goals as Chelsea put four past Arsenal. Four of Chelsea’s last six Premier League games finished with over 2.5 goals scored. Arsenal, on the other hand, Three of Arsenal’s last four league games finished with over 2.5 goals scored.
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Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic is now showing he is a star in the making at Stamford Bridge. The FA Cup Final could be a massive coming out party for the forward. Chelsea’s best attack is with Pulisic and Mason Mount supporting Olivier Giroud. Pulisic has scored 10 goals and tallied 10 assists in 33 games in all competitions. He only featured in one FA Cup game and but played just 72 minutes of it. Pulisic scored or assisted a goal in seven of his last nine league games.
Chelsea should feel confident going into the game on Saturday. They have qualified for the Champions League and can top off the season with a trophy. Arsenal’s only chance of making the Europa League is by winning on Saturday. They have failed to defeat Chelsea in their last three games.
Arsenal’s defence should once again struggle to keep the Blues from scoring. The Blues should continue that winning trend against Arsenal and Lampard will win his first trophy as the club’s manager.
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The FA Cup final is being played at Wembley Stadium
The match kicks-off at 17:30 on Saturday 1st August 2020