It’s a London Derby in the final of the prestigious FA Cup this year, as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea take on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the famous Wembley Stadium on Saturday. It’s expected to be an intense fixture, not just because it’s the London derby and a final, but also because of the fact that both the gaffers will be looking to win their first every trophy in their managerial career.
It’s the very first season for both the managers leading their respective clubs and while Lampard will be looking to add a silverware to his already successful season, Arteta will be hoping to win it as a consolation prize for the dismal season they have had this year. Victory for the Gunners will also earn them a Europa League spot for next season which could represent another route back to the Champions League.
So there’s a lot to fight for in this match and there is a general feeling among both sets of fans that it could be a cracker of a match.
So, for the last time this season, we’re asking the SW6Daily writers to tell us how they think the match might unfold, and their predictions for the final result at Wembley.
Rey Stevinho (@Rey_Blues30)
Chelsea will have a tough last test for their 19/20 campaign as they face Arsenal at Wembley for the FA Cup.
I think this will be no walk in the park as Mikel Arteta has made Arsenal much more sound defensively despite their quality at the back. This should sound familiar, as we have our own defence frailties.
Lamps will more than likely stick to his 3-4-3 as Arteta will look to exploit our inconsistent backline. It will be a difficult game but I feel Chelsea have the edge & will win it & lift Lampard his first trophy.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 3 Chelsea
John Tateossian (@johntat16)
Let’s not stand on ceremony. We need this one. Baku all over again. The cherry on top of one hell of a season, and it could only be against Arsenal. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I don’t want to crush them. I want Thanos-level destruction in North London. That’s not always how it goes though. Whenever Arsenal find themselves in an FA Cup final, they play like Real Madrid going for La Decima. Both teams are firing on all cylinders as of late. Aubameyang, Pulisic, Lacazette, Giroud all showing up in massive ways.
Add to the mix that defences on each side of the pitch that have seen better days. This, in my opinion, is going to be a shoot out. Just because Arsenal finished lower than expected they are not to be overlooked by any means. They are still a talented team, with class players and a manager who knows what he is doing.
From what I’ve seen as of the restart, both teams have struggled to control the tempo of the game to their liking. This is why I think this match will be an all-out battle. 90 minutes of pure adrenaline.
I do however think that the boys in Blue have something going. They still want to show us something this season and securing top four, wasn’t it? This is the fight of our lives. Whatever it takes.
P.S. Find me another blogger who can sneak not one, but two Avengers mentions into a blog about an FA Cup final. You can’t.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 4 Chelsea
Dan Hill (@idanknow05)
Who would’ve thought we would be here at the start of a season where we faced a transfer ban and losing Eden Hazard? But here we are. Champions League football is secured and now we take Arsenal on for a chance at silverware in Frank Lampard’s first season as Head Coach.
The Blues will go into the game confident of victory having arguably had the tougher run to the final beating Liverpool, Leicester and Man United. However, Arsenal are not to be taken lightly despite their low finish in the Premier League. They have incredible players in Aubameyang, Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, and a very clever tactician in manager Mikel Arteta.
Thus, team selection by Lampard on the day will need to be spot-on to get this victory over the line. I feel as though this match is the most important match of Lampard’s managerial career thus far, usurping the Wolves match for one simple reason: it’s the FA Cup and a trophy is on offer.
Trophies provide a tangible reward for a winning football side and to have a trophy right at the start of the new era is an essential developmental step for players like Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi who’ve all won the FA Youth Cup with the Blues.
Lampard may well opt for three at the back to combat Arteta’s potent front-line but I fully expect Chelsea to be victorious in this final. It will not be easy, especially with a less than resolute defence. I think Arsenal will score, but Chelsea have enough firepower in the form of Pulisic, Willian, Mount, Giroud and players like Hudson-Odoi and Abraham who can come off the bench and make all the difference. I say Pulisic will get two and Giroud will open the scoring!
Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 3 Chelsea
It’s a massive opportunity for both the managers, Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta, to win a trophy in the first-ever season at their respective clubs so I feel the stakes are a lot more than what the neutrals fans think.
Having said that, Arsenal have had the upper hand in terms of facing Chelsea in the FA Cup in the recent past, so that’s one of the reasons why I feel it will be a tricky situation. Despite having a below-average season in the Premier League, Arteta has been impressive in how slowly yet steadily he has changed the approach of his team, both tactically and mentally. This is one of the reasons why I feel Chelsea will have their task cut out against this new-look Arsenal side.
Overall, I feel it won’t be a one-sided fixture as both the teams are balanced enough and have the ability to outperform each other.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea
Luka Foley (@UOGLuka)
It’s something that all Chelsea fans will be dreaming of come this evening – Frank Lampard lifting the FA Cup trophy aloft as Blues manager. After securing Champions League football, winning the most prestigious competition in English football will add that extra gloss to what has been one of the most topsy-turvy seasons in recent history for Chelsea.
Arsenal will be out for revenge following their humbling in Baku in last year’s Europa League final, and if we look at FA Cup final matches between the sides, Arsenal will no doubt have an extra skip in their step after beating the Blues in 2017’s final. Omens aside, this game is set up to be a fantastic clash – Arsenal and Chelsea seen as the underdogs in their respective Semi-Finals against Manchester City and Manchester United.
In terms of team news for Chelsea, N’Golo Kante and Willian are in the matchday squad, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek misses out with a slight injury.
Both sides come into this game on the back of wins in their final league games of the season, and if the teams can produce the same level of excitement and creativity that they did in their semi-finals, fans will be treated to a grandstand finish to the domestic campaign that is crying
out for a positive ending to a season many would rather forget.
The nerves are rife for tonight’s game but as always, I’m confident that our recent form and big end to the season will see us crowned FA Cup champions.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea
Aaron Smith (@AaronDesign_)
1 Final, 2 very unpredictable teams – having not turned up against Sheffield we looked the complete opposite when we beat Manchester United to reach this final.
Arsenal finished 8th this season, however, they can beat anyone on their day, having proved it in their last few fixtures. Frank will have a fair bit of experience knowing what the players mentally go through in the lead up to finals and I believe this will really help when preparing his players for this game.
Our post-COVID talisman Pulisic didn’t have the greatest of games against Wolves in our last match, however, this is the perfect stage for him to bounce back and announce himself as a player which can give his team the edge when they really need it in the same way Hazard dominated our opponents in Baku.
Both defences are shaky so I’m feeling a 2-1 victory.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea
Rob Pratley (@rjpjournalism)
I wonder who Cesc Fabregas and Ashley Cole will be supporting?
It’s always tough to predict a London Derby and even tougher to predict a Cup Final. That said, I think we can confidently suggest that it won’t be a dull 0-0 draw. Both Chelsea and Arsenal this season have impressed going forward, but they’ve struggled badly defensively.
I’ve already detailed that I think the battle will be won and lost in the wing-back areas in my preview, but I’d also add that I think it’ll be an open game and both sides have strong enough squads to be able to change things off the bench. Lampard did exactly that at the Emirates this season and eventually Chelsea ended up taking the spoils on that day.
I have a feeling both Giroud and Luiz will have huge parts to play in this final. The latter will be itching to get one over his former team and silence the pundits and critics who have chipped away at him all season. In contrast, Giroud is garnering acclaim from all corners for his excellent Project Restart form and he’ll be looking to once again stamp his mark on the match. He scored the opener in Baku last year and you certainly wouldn’t bet against him doing it again at Wembley.
I think it will go to extra-time and sadly I’m not sure that the result will be what Chelsea fans want. I await to be proved wrong.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 2 Chelsea AET (Arsenal win on Penalties)
Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@rj_goodthings)
It’s the FA Cup final! It’s the trophy that seems to belong in the cabinet of a London club, in particular, Arsenal given it seems to be the only trophy they can win these days! This includes the Gunners last triumph in 2017 when they managed to pull off an upset against the then Premier League champions Chelsea. Having said that, it was the Blue side of London that has had the latest taste of FA Cup success in 2018.
Pivoting to this year’s clash, both managers will have been impressed by their recent FA Cup form since the restart with both sides knocking out both sides of Manchester!
While a loss won’t necessarily define the season for these teams, a win would certainly put a big positive exclamation mark on it, but perhaps more importantly, generate great momentum heading into the next season that’s just around the corner.
With that being said, although Arsenal have been playing reasonably well under Arteta and have good players all over the pitch, I genuinely believe Frank will use his own experiences to instil the right mindset of what it means to be a Chelsea player in a final. In other words, it’s not a privilege to just be in a final, it’s an expectation to win it!
Adding to this, Chelsea’s squad looks sufficiently healthy minus the unfortunate injury to RLC but offsetting it is the potential return of the indefatigable Kante. Should Kante be fully or near fully fit, he starts and brings about extra balance and guile to the team. If he’s not, I have full faith in Kovacic and Jorginho given their recent performances together.
In addition to knowing whether Kante starts, the key questions will be:
1. What formation do we go with (4-3-3 or 3-4-3)? I think the latter.
2. Who starts in goal? Caballero for me following his decent Wolves performance and FA Cup appearances. Although if Frank picks Kepa, I trust the gaffer!
3. Giroud or Tammy? Although Tammy has been bright this season and has contributed massively, for the big dance, I’d give Ollie the nod given his experience, recent form, and infatuation with the FA Cup!
How I see it? I predict a cagey opening with both teams looking to feel each other out and just warm their way into without wanting to commit any fatal errors. However, I suspect the Blues will be the team to show more enterprise and slowly start to win the arm-wrestle, and eventually gain the momentum which will eventually be too much for a gallant Gunners.
In the end, I’m going with a 3-1 scoreline with Mount being the man-of-the-match.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 3 Chelsea
Keep an eye on SW6Daily for more FA Cup Final content, including our preview and live match coverage of the big day.
Written By: Shyam, John Tateossian, Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi, Aaron Smith, Luka Foley, Dan Hill & Rob Pratley
Edited by Rob Pratley & Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi