The FA Cup is staying in London this year one way or another, with rivals Arsenal and Chelsea battling it out for the trophy. With 11 victories in the competition between the sides this century, and two managers desperate for their first trophies as managers, it promises to be an intense FA Cup final. Of course, there will be a dampener on the occasion, with no fans allowed in the stadium due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Arsenal and Chelsea Meet in FA Cup Final
Winner of the trophy 13 times, Arsenal are the most successful club in the competition’s history. Though, they are coming off the back of their worst league season in 25 years. It means the Gunners will be going into this match as slight underdogs.
Former player and manager Mikel Arteta, appointed back in December in his first managerial role, has overseen some improvements in the team’s performances. However, he has a big job on his hands in turning around the fortunes of one of England’s biggest clubs. A victory in the FA Cup final will be a sensational start to his managerial career and will secure Europa League football next season.
Of course, with Arsenal’s cup pedigree, and players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, it would be a mistake for Chelsea to underestimate their city rivals. If Arsenal can replicate their superb performance in the semi-final, where they defeated serial trophy winners Manchester City 2-0, they will be difficult to stop.
Like Arsenal, Chelsea too have a young former player at the helm. Club legend Frank Lampard has already overseen a successful campaign. Despite the Blues’ transfer ban, Lampard has led his team to a top-four finish, ensuring Champions League football next term. The emergence of youngsters such as Mason Mount, Reece James and Christian Pulisic has been a joy to watch. The fans, sceptical after a shaky start, are satisfied for now.
Their road to the final has been an impressive one. In the last three rounds, Chelsea have seen off league champions Liverpool, Leicester City and Manchester United, all in emphatic style. They are clear favourites going into the game on the back of this run.
Taken into consideration, it is arguable that there is less pressure on Chelsea. With their objectives met and European football secured, the FA Cup will be seen as a bonus. Of course, winning the cup will cement Lampard’s reputation, as well as that of his young players.
For Arsenal, the cup will save what has been a disappointing season and will lift the spirits of their jaded fan base.
It promises to be a fascinating game. Two teams with up and coming managers, still imposing their style and identity, with young players out to attack the opposition.
Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Maríi and Calum Chambers all remain sidelined for the Gunners and will miss the final. There is uncertainty on the futures of Mesut Özil and Mattéo Guendouzi. While the players are not known to be injured, they haven’t featured in recent squads and is unlikely to change for the final.
For Chelsea, N’Golo Kanté and Willian are confirmed to be in the squad having previously been doubts for the final. Young midfielder Billy Gilmour is still out.
FA Cup Head to Head
Fittingly, there have been 20 FA Cup matches between the sides going into the 2020 final. Arsenal have had the better of these meetings, winning on nine occasions. Chelsea have won five of the matches and there have been six draws.