With the Premier League title now wrapped up, attention is turning to Wembley and the FA Cup final on the 27th of May. Chelsea will now be looking for their second trophy of the season after confirming the league title with two games to go and Arsenal will be looking to avoid a completely shocking season which could see them missing out on Champion’s League football for the first time in two decades.
The road to Wembley has been a mixed bag for both sides, with Arsenal arguably having the easier run of games. The run of the tournament was ended by the Gunners, when non-league Lincoln City made it to the quarter finals before being dumped out on the receiving end of a 5-0 hammering. Arsenal’s toughest fixture came in the semis against Man City where they edged through in a 2-1 victory, but apart from that it was a fairly quiet campaign.
Chelsea could have easily slipped up, with games against Championship and Premier League clubs in their campaign. The only side that really put up a fight was Manchester United in the quarters, where the Blues held them to a tense 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. A strong Tottenham side were dispatched in the semis and Chelsea made sure they would make up for a lack of European action by giving themselves a good chance of a domestic trophy.
Going into the final, both teams are in form with Chelsea riding the crest of the Premier League title and Arsenal are putting in the hard work (eventually) to try and save themselves from a finish outside the top four. The two teams couldn’t have been further apart over the season however, with Chelsea and Conte receiving universal praise and Wenger and Arsenal on the thick end of fan protests and plenty of questions from pundits. This cup win could be the difference between a bad season and a woeful season for Arsenal, so Wenger will be pushing his squad in a competition that might not have meant as much for the Gunners in recent history.
Chelsea have some excellent players at their disposal and the bookies agree that they could have what it takes to close down Arsenal’s key players. Figures like back-to-back League winner and PFA player of the year N’Golo Kante and attackers Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have been instrumental in winning the league title and will carry forward plenty of momentum, as well as the mental edge over a shaky Arsenal squad. It also looks like the game could be John Terry’s swan song for the club and what better way to end it than with an FA Cup winner’s medal.
Arsenal will be no pushovers however and will be looking to try and get something out of what has been a torrid season. Their talisman Alexis Sanchez has been dangerous in pretty much every game he has played in and Theo Walcott has netted 5 times in the FA Cup this year. Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud all have points to prove and international spots to fight for, so if they finally manage to start firing on all cylinders they could be a formidable force.
The game should be a close affair and the odds offered by 888sport are showing that it could swing either way. The real question however is whether Wenger’s job is hinging on the outcome of the game and whether he will decide to call it a day if they manage to finish both outside of the top four and without a trophy.