It will be an all-London affair at Wembley as Chelsea and Arsenal – two of the most successful clubs in FA Cup history – will go head to head in the competition’s 139th final showpiece on Saturday.
Frank Lampard will be keen on bringing silverware back to Stamford Bridge during his first season as Chelsea manager. Victory in the FA Cup would be the icing on the cake for the Blues after they attained a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League and secured Champions League football for next season in the process.
Meanwhile, it may be argued that Mikel Arteta – who is fairly new to the managerial role at the Emirates – would be even more determined to guide the Gunners to cup victory as it represents the only way for them to secure a Europa League berth after finishing eighth in England’s top flight, which is their worst league finish in 25 years.
Both Arteta and Lampard have won the FA Cup as players and will now be looking to win it as young managers. The Spaniard lifted the cup with Arsenal back in the 2013-2014 and 2014-15 seasons while the Englishman won the cup four times with Chelsea.
Arsenal vs Chelsea: The road to Wembley
5 January: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United
27 January: Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal
2 March: Portsmouth 0-2 Arsenal
28 June: Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal
18 July: Arsenal 2-0 Man City
Arsenal secured wins over newly-promoted Leeds United, relegated Bournemouth and League One outfit Portsmouth in the FA Cup before all footballing activity was suspended due to the global coronavirus lockdown.
They returned in June with a 1-2 victory over a resilient Sheffield United side, followed by a comprehensive 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the semi-final earlier this month.
The Gunners netted two goals in almost every game in the competition and had seven different goalscorers across their five matches.
5 January: Chelsea 2-0 Nottingham Forest
25 January: Hull City 1-2 Chelsea
3 March: Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
28 June: Leicester City 0-1 Chelsea
19 July: Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea
Meanwhile, Chelsea breezed past Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Hull City in the FA Cup back in January. They then met Premier League champions Liverpool – who were one of the three European competitors they faced in the FA Cup – just before the enforced lockdown.
The Pensioners secured a 2-0 victory over the Merseysiders before comfortably defeating Manchester United 1-3 in a one-sided semi-final clash this month.
Arsenal vs Chelsea head-to-head record and form guide
Arsenal historically have the advantage over Chelsea in all competitions as they have won 76 games over the Blues’ 65, with 59 other fixtures ending in a draw.
In the FA Cup, the Gunners have won nine games against the Stamford Bridge outfit, with the Pensioners securing five wins, while six games ended in a draw.
The north London giants, who are the most successful team in FA Cup history, have featured in 20 finals and have won a record 13. Meanwhile, their west London opponents have played 13 finals in the competition, winning eight. Arsenal and Chelsea have previously faced off at the 2002 and 2017 FA Cup finals.
The Gunners emerged victorious in both fixtures, with goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg securing the first win (2-0) and goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey securing the second (2-1).
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Last five meetings
21 January 2020: Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal (Premier League)
29 December 2019: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (Premier League)
29 May 2019: Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal (Europa League)
19 January 2019: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea 0 (Premier League)
18 August 2018: Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal (Premier League)
Arsenal and Chelsea share similar form heading into Saturday’s encounter.
Mikel Arteta’s men ended their Premier League season with a 3-2 win over Watford, marking their third win in four games- a streak which included unlikely victories over Liverpool and Manchester City.
Meanwhile, the Blues secured their qualification into the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their previous fixture.
Frank Lampard’s men are on a five-game unbeaten run in the capital city but did suffer away defeats to Sheffield United and Liverpool.
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Recent form
Arsenal form in all competitions: L-W-W-L-W
Chelsea form in all competitions: L-W-W-L-W
Arsenal vs Chelsea Team News
Mikel Arteta will be without the services of Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli as they all remain sidelined due to injury.
Bernd Leno will also miss out on the FA Cup final as he continues to recover from a knee injury that he sustained during Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton last month.
Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi are believed to be fit and available but are likely to miss out on a start after falling out with the manager.
Absentees: Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli
Doubtful: Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard will notably miss the services of N’Golo Kante, who is a major doubt for the fixture as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury.
Youngster Billy Gilmour will also miss out on the exciting fixture due to a knee injury while Willian remains a doubt after missing out on Chelsea’s last Premier League clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers due to an injury.
Absentees: Billy Gilmour
Doubtful: N’Golo Kante, Willian
Arsenal vs Chelsea Predicted XI
Arsenal Predicted XI (3-4-3): Emiliano Martinez; Rob Holding, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney; Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka; Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Chelsea Predicted XI (4-3-3): Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso; Jorginho, Matteo Kovacic, Mason Mount; Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud
Arsenal vs Chelsea Prediction
Although there exists a considerable gap between the two Premier League clubs, with Chelsea finishing ten points ahead of Arsenal and unbeaten against them this season, the Gunners cannot be completely ruled out as their wins over Manchester City and Liverpool have proven that they have what it takes to beat any top side.
The presence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- coupled with the attacking prowess of Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka- certainly gives Arsenal an edge over the Blues, who have a comparatively worse defensive record, with obvious vulnerabilities in wide areas.
Having said that, the Gunners aren’t without their own problems as their defeat to Aston Villa has proven that their midfield and defence still need massive improvements.
Depending on how Frank Lampard lines up his players, the likes of Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud could prove to be incredibly dangerous for an error-prone Arsenal defence.
With all that in mind, we can see Arsenal narrowly edging this clash, owing to Mikel Arteta’s ability to seamlessly change the team’s direction and the added importance of an FA Cup victory in an otherwise average season.
Arsenal vs Chelsea Verdict: 2-1