The FA Cup will be won by a London team this year as city rivals Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head to Wembley his 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.
Given the two sides’ respective League form, Chelsea will be favorites. 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 defender Hector Bellerin missed the win over Watford as a precaution with a tight calf but has been back in training this week.
Cedric Soares is cup-tied, while Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain out.
Influential Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Willian are both in the squad after injuries.
However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek sustained a minor injury in training on Thursday and has been ruled out.
Arsenal have won both of their previous FA Cup finals against Chelsea: 2-0 in 2002 and 2-1 in 2017.
However, Chelsea have won their other two meetings in major finals, by 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup and 4-1 in last year’s Europa League showpiece.
Chelsea’s only win in their past nine FA Cup clashes with the Gunners came in the 2009 semi-final.
Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final a record 21 times and have also won the competition 13 times – more than any other side. They have featured in 15% of all FA Cup finals.
The Gunners have not lost an FA Cup final at Wembley since a 1-0 defeat by West Ham in 1980.
Arsenal finished outside the Premier League’s top six this season for the first time in 25 years.
They’ve failed to score in only one of their past 31 FA Cup matches.
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This is Chelsea’s 14th FA Cup final; only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have reached more.
They have lost only one of their past 15 FA Cup matches.
Since his FA Cup debut in 2013, Olivier Giroud has scored 16 goals in the competition – second only to Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
The Frenchman is aiming to become just the second player to score for and against a specific side (Arsenal) in separate FA Cup finals. Frank Stapleton netted for Arsenal against Manchester United in 1979 final, and then for the Red Devils in 1983 final versus Brighton.
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