Wembley Showdown: Dominant London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea clash Saturday for FA Cup final

Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in the final of the FA Cup today at the famous Wembley Stadium-the hallowed home of English football with so many things to play between the two London-based clubs. Although the match will be played behind closed doors with no fans occasioned by protocol due to the novel g coronavirus pandemic, it will be a titanic battle with the Gunners seeking a record 14th FA Cup while the Blues are chasing their ninth FA Cup.

Arsenal stunned holders Manchester City 2-0 in the semi-finals, while Chelsea saw off Manchester United 3-1 to leave Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard, who both lifted the FA Cup when playing for the sides they are in charge of, within one game of glory in their first seasons in charge.
The two clubs ended their Premier League campaign strongly and will hope to continue that momentum in Saturday’s showpiece.
Arsenal beat the holders Manchester City on 18 July to reach the final, having already earned a morale-boosting 2-1 home win three days earlier over the newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.

The Gunners put on a tactical master-class in both matches and Arteta’s ability to switch things up could prove decisive again when they face Chelsea.
On top of the chance to win a major trophy, Arsenal, who finished eighth in the Premier League, have an extra motivation in the final.
Victory for the North London side would secure a Europa League berth, so releasing further funds for Arteta to invest in his squad, and that additional carrot could tip the tie in their favour.
Lifting the trophy is Arsenal’s only chance of ensuring European football next term, but the history is on the Gunners side, as they will appear in a record 21st final of the tournament and have the most-ever titles in the competition – 13.
In comparison, Chelsea have lifted the trophy on eight occasions from thirteen final appearances, with each of their losses coming after the Blues conceded first. But with Chelsea’s Champions League qualification and a Premier League top-four finish fulfilled, the FA cup glory would be the icing on the cake for the Lampard-led side.

Meanwhile, most recent encounter between Chelsea and Arsenal was held in January ending in a 2-2 draw. The Blues are unbeaten in the last three editions of this particular London derby, recording two victories the first of which in last season’s Europa League final. Only one of the last eleven meetings ended in a victory for the team listed as visitor.

The two London rivals met in the final of the FA Cup back in 2017, with the Gunners coming up as winners, prevailing with 2:1.
Both teams go into the game on the back of victories in their last Premier League matches against Watford and Wolves respectively, but the Blues will be favourites after finishing 10 points above their London rivals.

A fact not lost when Lampard thanked the Blues supporters for sticking with him in his maiden campaign at the Stamford Bridge: “Not having the fans here, it’s important for me to say that it was a moment I would have loved to enjoy with the fans at the end, because we have been very together this year; the support of the fans at difficult times and inconsistencies has been huge.”

But team news from the Emirates home of the Gunners is less than cheering with some key stars already ruled out of today’s showdown. Arteta has seen a string of players pick up injuries since the restart, with number one goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari all missing the closing weeks of the campaign.

Shkodran Mustafi, too, has been ruled out of the FA Cup final due to a hamstring injury.
“Yes, I am worried and, for example, Mustafi’s injury is related to it because we had to expose our players,” Arteta said. “We had some really bad injuries in the last few weeks where we lost big, big players: our goalkeeper, central defenders and Martinelli, central midfielders.”
Defender Shkodran Mustafi recently opened up on the ‘disappointment’ of being ruled out of Arsenal’s FA Cup final against Chelsea due to a hamstring injury.

He wrote in a post on Instagram: ”Hi Everyone, after the match vs. Leicester City [1-1] I said that there is nothing more painful than not winning a game you deserved to win.
“I had to learn the hard way, there is something even worse. Missing out the @emiratesfacup final for the second time. The good news is that the surgery went well and that I am not the type of guy who gives up easily. After the disappointment I accepted the situation and I am now fully focused to recover as quickly as possible to be back on the pitch.”

In the same vein, Chelsea will hope N’Golo Kante can shake off any lingering effects of his hamstring problem to be fit for Saturday’s Wembley battle.
The France World Cup-winning midfielder returned to full training last week, but was not deemed quite ready for Sunday’s final Premier League clash with Wolves.
A return for Kante would boost Lampard’s options at the base of midfield, with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic having worked in tandem in recent weeks.

Brazil forward Willian will be another doubt for the Blues, having missed the weekend’s 2-0 win over Wolves with a late ankle problem.
Yet this FA Cup final at the Wembley would give some players expectant feelings.
For instance, Olivier Giroud famously declared that Wembley was his garden after helping Chelsea to win the FA Cup in 2018.

The France international, which moved to England with Arsenal in 2012, has picked up seven medals at Wembley – winning the FA Cup four times and the Community Shield on three occasions. He extended his fine record of appearing at the stadium when scoring the opener as Chelsea beat Manchester United

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