FA Cup final preview: Arsenal vs Chelsea – team news, line-ups & prediction
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea face-off at Wembley Stadium this evening in the 2019/20 FA Cup final.
It’s been a long, gruelling season for Arsenal as they’ve endured their worst domestic campaign this century and are in real danger of missing out on European football for the first time since 1995 after finishing eighth in the Premier League.
They can avoid that unwanted record by beating Chelsea this evening as that would secure a place in the group stages of the Europa League and boost their financial potential in the transfer market so there’s a lot riding on this game for Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta has certainly settled the ship since replacing Unai Emery as manager in December 2019 but it would be a fantastic achievement for the Spaniard to lift a trophy just months into his first managerial job.
The same can obviously be said of his opposite number as Frank Lampard will cap an impressive first season in charge at Stamford Bridge with a major trophy and a top four finish if Chelsea triumph at Wembley.
The Blues finished fourth in the Premier League to book their place in the Champions League next season so the pressure is off but no doubt Lampard would love to get one over Arsenal to lift the FA Cup this evening.
Arsenal will be without Shkodran Mustafi as the centre-back has been ruled out until October with a hamstring injury while Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers remain on the sidelines with long-term issues.
Bernd Leno could return to full training next week after recovering from a knock injury but this game comes too soon for the German goalkeeper so Emi Martinez will continue between the sticks.
Gabriel Martinelli is still unavailable following knee surgery but Hector Bellerin is set to return after missing the win over Watford last week with a minor knock.
Chelsea have received a major boost as N’Golo Kante has been passed fit to return after recovering from a thigh injury while Willian has also overcome a knock that ruled him out of the Wolves game last week.
Expected Arsenal XI: Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette
Expected Chelsea XI: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma; James, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Willian, Pulisic, Giroud
Chelsea are the 6/10 favourites to lift the trophy this evening and 11/10 to win inside the ninety minutes. You can back Arsenal to win the FA Cup at 11/8 and they’re 5/2 to win inside regulation time. The draw is also available at 5/2.
Olivier Giroud is in terrific form having scored 6 goals in his last six games so he looks good value at odds of 7/2 to open the scoring at Wembley. For Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the obvious threat and he’s also 7/2 to grab the first goal.
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Chelsea are favourites and finished 10 points ahead of their London rivals in the table but you cannot discount Arsenal as they’ve won the FA Cup more times than any other club  and are gunning for their fourth cup in just seven years.
The North Londoners also impressed by beating Manchester City 2-0 in the semi-finals and another similar performance this evening should be enough to see them lifting the trophy.
I’m expecting a tight game between two closely matched sides and wouldn’t be surprised to see it going to extra-time, but I have a feeling Arsenal are going to edge it as they desperately need to qualify for Europe. I’m going for a 2-1 Arsenal win, which can be backed at odds of 10/1.
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