Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: William Hill
Arsenal are facing a tough challenge in their pursuit of the third FA Cup title in last four years. Gunners are pitted against newly-crowed Premier League champions Chelsea, who are keen to finish the season with a double.
A chance to finish a forgettable season with a major trophy in their hands will come as little solace to Arsenal however, who seem to be tired of constant disappointment. Having been left out of the top four for the first time in almost two decades and eliminated from the Champions League after an embarrassing two-legged tie against Bayern Munich, the Gunners are left with a low self-esteem. The forthcoming game – regardless of the outcome – will direct attention to Arsene Wenger, who is facing huge pressure to leave his post, although he is more likely to accept the offer to extend his current deal which expires in the matter of weeks. In addition to worrying about his own future, Wenger is preoccupied with issues revolving around Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who could end up leaving Arsenal during the summer transfer window. There is no doubt that a record 13th FA Cup crown would be helpful in Arsenal’s attempts to hold on to their biggest stars. Gunners will also be extremely keen to win and surpass Manchester United who are currently FA Cup record-holders with 12 titles to their name.
Arsenal defender Gabriel is ruled out with a knee injury, whereas a defensive crisis deepens knowing that Laurent Koscielny is suspended after his red card against Everton.
To make things worse, Shkodran Mustafi is a huge doubt, and it looks like Per Mertsacker could be in for his first start this season.
Antonio Conte’s first year in charge has been described as an utter success, but the Italian is now presented with an opportunity to deepen his footprint in the English game by winning the FA Cup trophy. It would be an important title for the Premier League champions who haven’t won the league and FA Cup double since 2010. What is more, a victory over Arsenal would bring about Chelsea’s 15th major trophy during Roman Abramovich’s era and the Blues will be highly keen to make it to this nice and rounded number. Last, but equally important, there is a sense of pride that needs to be preserved at Chelsea in the FA Cup final. The Blues have been a dominant force throughout the season and Antonio Conte will urge his players to keep the momentum and make one last push before curtains drop on what has been a remarkable campaign. The Italian is expected to go strong from the off as that is the only style of play he accepts as valid. Eden Hazard is definitely the one to watch, especially with Arsenal’s defensive problems highlighted. The Belgian has blossomed under Antonio Conte and has finally established himself as the world-class star.
Antonio Conte fielded his strongest line-up in the final match of the Premier League against Sunderland, so he can count himself lucky his players did not get injured.
The Italian will have a full squad to choose from and the only expected difference to the Sunderland game is expected to be captain John Terry, who got his emotional send-off at the Stamford Bridge.
Key Factors to Consider
- Arsenal can win the record 13th FA Cup title on Saturday
- Gunners & Blues won their last 5 and 7 matches, respectively
- Four of last five meetings of two teams were one-sided affairs
- Chelsea are looking for their first double since 2010
- If they win, Chelsea will lift 15th trophy during Roman Abramovich’s reign
Arsenal’s hopes of winning the match have taken a serious blow with defensive crisis and numerous first-team choices unavailable for selection. Chelsea will be extremely motivated and will look to exploit every weakness of their rival, which is why we expect Blues to emerge comfortable winners.
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: William Hill
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