Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Chelsea V Arsenal
Saturday 27th May. 4:30PM. BBC One
English football’s showpiece event has arrived once more as Chelsea and Arsenal prepare to renew their rivalry at Wembley in what is set to be a truly historic final regardless of the outcome.
While Chelsea bid to complete a memorable domestic double, the Gunners are looking to lift the FA Cup for a record 13th time. Throw in the fact that it’s a London derby between two sides capable of playing great football on their day, and it really does have all the ingredients of a classic.
You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.
Conte’s Chelsea Out For Double Delight
Whatever happens at Wembley, Antonio Conte’s first season in England has been nothing short of magnificent as Chelsea bounced back from a terrible 2015-16 to win this year’s Premier League with a record breaking 30 wins. Getting their hands on the FA Cup would be the icing on the cake, and they should be extremely confident.
Chelsea’s star players have performed with incredible consistency this term, with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard all featuring in the PFA Team of the Year. Moreover, their defensive unit conceded just 33 goals in the league while the Blues have won seven on the spin starting with the semi-final win over Spurs.
Coincidentally, it was the embarrassing loss at the Emirates that truly kicked Conte’s Chelsea into shape as their switch of formation was the catalyst for winning the title. A 3-1 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge underlined how far they’d progressed during those months, and nobody could argue against the fact they’ve been the best side in the country this year.
And it could be John Terry’s last chance to climb the famous steps too.
Wenger Faces Defensive Headaches
Speculation surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future has been a major talking point for months and this could well be his last game in charge of the Gunners. If that is to be the case, winning a seventh FA cup would be a great way to bow out. Regardless of the manager’s situation, though, this is a huge game for the club and could provide a happy ending to what has been their toughest season in two decades.
Going forward, Wenger has plenty of options at his disposal with Alexis Sanchez posing a considerable threat to Chelsea’s defence. It could also be the perfect opportunity for Mesut Ozil to prove himself in the big matches.
Arsenal’s biggest problems come at the back. While Laurent Koscielny is suspended, a number of defensive teammates are doubtful with injuries. Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel Paulista, and Kieran Gibbs could all be set to miss out while midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in a battle against the clock too. Those absences will only make Wenger’s task more difficult.
The Gunners have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with this competition, though, and have won their last five games leading into the final too. They will be underdogs, but you’d write them off at your peril.
FA Cup Final Betting: Chelsea V Arsenal Tips
Bookmaker 888sport have established Chelsea as the favourites to lift the trophy, and the Blues can be backed at 4/5 to do it in 90 minutes. Arsenal, meanwhile, are available at 15/4. Or if you think the final will go to extra-time, the draw is priced 14/5.
Chelsea are favourites for a reason, and they certainly have more players capable of putting in match-winning display. However, it’s their Belgian superstar that stands out from the crowd, and we’re backing him to score at Wembley.
After all, Hazard has been back to his irresistible best this term. A cup final goal would be the perfect way to top his season.
We would edge towards a Chelsea win, although Arsenal are capable causing a minor upset. Whatever happens, though, we expect it to be a game in which both teams have their chances.
The Wembley pitch might be big, but we think both teams will win corners. At 9/4 on SkyBet’s request-a-bet specials, we’re backing each team to take 2+ corners in both halves.