Sports

FA Cup final: Arsenal could save an horrible season with win over Chelsea at Wembley

Frank Lampard faces Mikel Arteta in FA Cup showdown hunt for silverware

Arsenal have one more chance to sneak into Europe for European football next season as they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on today, 1 August.

New managers, Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta, would battle for supremacy in winner take all as both former players would want to land their first silverware for their respective clubs.

The winner of the FA Cup is guaranteed a spot in the Europa League group stages for the following season and there will be a few teams with one beady eye on Saturday’s final.

For Arsenal, who finished eighth in the Premier League this season, it’s really quite simple – they need to win to book a place in the Europa League group stages for the 2020/21 campaign.

It could have a massive effect on who they can attract in the summer transfer window and also which players could leave – Mikel Arteta has already said that winning the FA Cup could help convince captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay.

Watch Arsenal’s journey to the FA Cup final below

If Chelsea goes on to win, their spot in the Europa League will be deferred to the next highest-placed finish in the Premier League since Frank Lampard’s side having already secured a Champions League spot through their own league finish.

This would see Tottenham into the Europa League group stage next season with Wolves entering into the Europa League qualifying rounds – which Spurs are currently set to do – taking the place secured by Manchester City when they won the Carabao Cup.

The winner of the FA Cup will also face Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday, August 29.

Watch Chelsea’s journey to the FA Cup final below

Team news

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.

Stats and facts going into the match

  • Arsenal are appearing in their 21st FA Cup final, more than any other side. Indeed, the Gunners have won the competition more often than any other side (13).
  • This will be the third time in the last four seasons that Arsenal will be ending their campaign against Chelsea, winning the 2017 FA Cup final and losing last season’s Europa League final against the Blues in Baku.
  • Mikel Arteta is to become only the second man to manage Arsenal in an FA Cup final having also played for the Gunners in one, after George Graham. He could become the first person to win the FA Cup with as Arsenal as both a captain and a manager.
  • This will be the first FA Cup final managed by two men who both also played for their teams in an FA Cup final since 2012 (Roberto di Matteo vs Kenny Dalglish). Mikel Arteta won with Arsenal in 2014, while Frank Lampard played in five finals for the Blues, winning four. Indeed, Lampard’s only FA Cup final defeat as a player was against Arsenal in 2002.
  • Frank Lampard will be the first English manager to take charge of Chelsea in a major cup final since Glenn Hoddle in the 1994 FA Cup, a 0-4 defeat against Manchester United. The last English manager to win a major trophy with Chelsea was Dave Sexton (1971 Cup Winner’s Cup).
  • In FA Cup final history, there have been two players play for both clubs in a specific final fixture – Francis Birley played for Oxford University against Wanderers in 1873, and vice versa in 1877, while Jack Reynolds played for both Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion in the 1890s. Both Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Arsenal’s David Luiz could achieve this, having played for their opponents in the 2017 final.