FA Cup Final Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal

Arsenal have one more chance to redeem themselves when they face Premier League champions Chelsea in a FA Cup final face-off at Wembley on Saturday, the 27th . Arsene Wenger’s men will miss the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 20 years by failing to make it to the Top 4 spot in the Premier League. After a nightmarish February to mid-April phase, the Gunners seemed to have found their form, winning 7 of their last 8 Premier League outings. Although that wasn’t enough to serve their Champions League ambitions, the Gunners definitely look in much better shape than they were a couple of months ago. The forward line of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have all been into goals this past one month. For the Wembley clash, Arsenal will nearly be in full strength what with Aaron Ramsey and Hector Bellerin back from their injuries and fully fit, proving their worth with goals in the Gunners 3-1 win over Everton last weekend. The Gunners will miss the services of Laurent Koscielny at the back having being red-carded for a foul on Everton winger Enner Valencia. Per Mertesacker may fill in the French defender’s shoes for the Chelsea clash.

Chelsea will go in with the same starting XI as they did in their 5-1 Premier League win over Sunderland . N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic will marshal the mid-field. Gary Cahill and David Luiz could be tested at the back at Wembley by Alexis Sanchez, Giroud & co. The Blues have let in a flurry of goals in their last 2 outings (4 in all) against opposition like Watford and Sunderland. But with likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Alonso and Willian in top scoring form, Chelsea have maintained their winning ways having prevailed in all their last 6 Premier League outings and emerge EPL champions for the second time in three years.

So much for the recent form of the respective teams in the Premier League. Arsenal are record holders as far as titles of FA Cup are concerned (12 in all) compared to 7 of Chelsea. The Gunners won the Cup as recently as in the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons. But Chelsea have overcome their Saturday rivals on three of the last five times they have met in FA Cup encounters. There is very little to choose between the two going into the Wembley clash. But odds overwhelmingly favour Antonio Conte’s men to lift the Cup on May 27 by a clear margin although things may not turn out that way in the end.

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