The FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Arsenal takes place at Wembley on Saturday 1st of August. Interestingly, I feel, the hype around this final hasn’t been as huge as last year’s Europa League final. Is it because this time around there’s not much on the line like last season? Although last season we had already secured UCL by the time the final came along, however, for Arsenal winning the Europa League final was the only route to UCL qualification. Also for both clubs winning a European trophy is probably a bit more important to winning a domestic competition.
Having said that, I still feel this final is huge for Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta in their fairly young managerial careers. Both are in their first season of managing in the Premier League and both would love a silverware to boost their and the team’s confidence moving forward.
Form – We’ve had a pretty good restart in my opinion. Besides the West Ham and the total capitulation against Sheffield United, overall it’s been filled with strong and positive performances individually and as a team. Giroud up front has been a total revelation with several vital goals in this restart period. However, it’s his ability to bring the entire team into the play is what has stood out the most. His hold-up and link-up play has been a treat to watch. Pulisic has also had a dynamic restart, most notably his performances against Man City and Liverpool have been world-class. Other key performers leading into this final has been the workhorses, Willian and Mount. Both these players have a phenomenal work rate and truly sets the tone of high pressing and intensity from the get-go.
Formation & Lineup – I feel 3-4-3 might be in the cards for this one for several reasons:
- Arsenal has played this formation quite a lot in this restart period and reaped benefits against Liverpool and Man City recently
- We have played 3-4-3 quite a lot recently (predominantly done well) and to maintain consistency leading up to the final is crucial
- One of the most efficient ways to counter a 3-4-3 is to play the same style against the opposition in order to man upon them all over the field.
However, the one distinct disadvantage of playing with a 3-4-3 is that a player in midfield/forward has to be sacrificed in order to accommodate for the WB. This is quite frustrating as our strength lies in that department.
In the injury front, it seems both Kante and Willian are fit for this final.
My predicted Chelsea starting XI – Caballero, RJ, Azpi, Zouma, Rudi, Alonso, Kante, Kova, Mount, Pulisic, and Giroud.
Form – A disastrous start to their restart period with a thumping received from Man City in the first match followed by a shocking defeat to Brighton. However, since then they have put together several impressive performances, most notably against Man City in the FA Cup and Liverpool in the Premier League. Arsenal just like Chelsea finished the Premier League season with a win which means overall confidence should be high leading up to the FA Cup final. One of their biggest weapon who has found some form in recent times is Aubameyang and he is someone Chelsea have to be most wary of. Defensively, Luiz after his disaster class against Man City in the first game post-lock-down has been very strong in the back 3 (reminiscent of the Conte era with Chelsea). In midfield, Xhaka has been a pivotal part of linking defense-midfield-forward.
Formation & lineup – as mentioned earlier, I feel Arsenal will stick to their 3-4-3 formation as it suits the personnel available for them. They look far resolute in defense with this formation and far more potent moving forward. Tierney and Bellerin have been brilliant for them in the Wing Back positions.
In the injury front or most notable absentees, it seems Arsenal will be without Mustafi and Ozil.
My predicted Arsenal starting XI – Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Tierney, Xhaka, Caballos, Pepe, Lacazette, and Aubameyang.
My score prediction:
I feel this will be a much close game than the one we saw last year in the Europa League final. This time around Arsenal fans seems to be a lot more humble after the thumping they took last season. However, I feel the hunger in Chelsea’s youth players along with Frank’s winning DNA will drive Chelsea to victory. I am predicting a 2-1 Chelsea victory!!
You can also check out the preview on my Youtube channel!!