The English FA Cup will be won by a London team this year as city rivals Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head to Wembley this afternoon.
Arsenal stunned holders Manchester City 2-0 in the semi-finals, while Chelsea saw off Manchester United 3-1 to leave Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard within one game of glory in their first seasons in charge.
Chelsea’s key aim was Champions League qualification, and a Premier League top-four finish means cup glory would be the icing on the cake for Lampard.
As for Arteta, there are definite signs of the coach imprinting his style and identity on Arsenal already but a worst League finish for 25 years has given the prospect of winning a record 13th FA Cup added importance.
Date, time and venue
The match will be played behind closed doors at Wembley Stadium with no fans due to be present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
Here’s how we expect the sides to line up:
Predicted Arsenal X (3-4-3): Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Predicted Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Pulisic, Giroud, Mount.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Chelseal
Given the two sides’ respective League form, Chelsea will be favourites. However, Arsenal’s recent wins against Liverpool and Man City show they are capable of beating any English team on their day.
Much will depend on how Chelsea sit up. If they plan to dominate possession with a high line as both Liverpool and City did, they could be caught out by Arsenal – so Lampard will have to tweak his tactics.
Should Lampard invite Arsenal out, Arteta’s likely gameplan of sitting back and countering will be tested to the limit.
Arsenal have won on 76 occasions, Chelsea 65, with 59 draws shared.
Of their FA Cup clashes, Arsenal have won nine to Chelsea’s five, with six draws.
Arsenal and Chelsea contested the 2017 FA Cup Final, with the Gunners winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey either side of a Diego C