Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 3/4
With the FA Cup and London bragging rights up for grabs this weekend, Arsenal will face off against Chelsea at an empty Wembley on Saturday evening.
Starting with Arsenal, while they might have managed to hang onto a dramatic 3-2 win against Watford last weekend, a result that relegated the Hornets, Mikel Arteta’s side could not secure a top-six finish. In fact, while Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man may have made a string of immediate improvements in North London, the Gunners have suffered their lowest Premier League finish since the 1994-95 campaign. Although Arsenal’s continued inconsistencies might have been highlighted by a shock 1-0 defeat away at Villa Park earlier in the month, they know that victory on Saturday is their only chance of bringing European football back to the Emirates this summer. Still boosted by what was a stunning display in their 2-0 victory against Manchester City in the semi-final of this year’s FA Cup, there is no doubt that Arteta will be calling on attacking talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lead their charge this weekend. Signing off his Premier League campaign with a brace against Watford last week, the Gabon ace also bagged both strikes in Arsenal’s victory against the now-former champions a fortnight ago. Recording seven goals in July, it should also be noted that the former Borussia Dortmund striker found the net against Chelsea earlier in the season.
After missing last weekend’s 3-2 win against Watford with a tight calf, right-back Hector Bellerin has trained this week and will replace Cedric Soares who is cup-tied.
Elsewhere, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain out.
As for Chelsea, ending their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win against Wolves at Stamford Bridge last weekend, Frank Lampard’s youngsters managed to secure themselves a top-four finish. Winning three of their last four matchups across all competitions and bouncing back from their dramatic 5-3 defeat against newly-crowned champions Liverpool earlier in the month, the Blues have really started to shine in the final third. Enjoying a maiden campaign under their former skipper, Lampard will be hugely excited by Olivier Giroud’s individual end to this year’s campaign. Once again finding the net against Wolves last time out, the World Cup-winner has cemented his spot as Lampard’s number one choice upfront and has enjoyed his most fruitful season since joining the West London outfit. Once again expected to lead the line at Wembley against his former employers this weekend, Giroud has found the net in his last four matchups on the bounce and has also bagged seven strikes since returning from the enforced break. While they might still be boosted by their eye-catching end to the year, Lampard’s men have struggled with their issues at the back throughout this year’s campaign. Remarkably, Chelsea managed to record just a single clean sheet on their travels during the 2019/2020 season.
Expected to undergo a late fitness test, the duo of N’Golo Kante and Willian are included in Frank Lampard’s squad this weekend.
However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek sustained a minor injury in training on Thursday and has been ruled out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Along with playing out a 2-2 draw when they last faced off back in January, five of the last six meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal have seen both teams find the net by full-time.
- Both Chelsea and Arsenal have won three of their last four matchups across all competitions.
- Blues striker Olivier Giroud has found the net in his last four matchups on the bounce and has recorded seven post-lockdown strikes.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored seven goals in July, including a brace against Manchester City in the semi-final of this year’s FA FA Cup.
- Chelsea managed to record just a single Premier League clean sheet on their travels throughout the 2019/2020 season.
On paper, we could be in for a lively contest at Wembley on Saturday evening. While both Chelsea and Arsenal might have picked up the scalps of both Manchester-based clubs a fortnight ago, the London outfits have continued to show some glaring inconsistencies at the back. With both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Olivier Giroud enjoying stellar purple patches at the back end of the campaign, it appears that chances should come thick and fast at Wembley this weekend. Along with playing out a 2-2 draw when the two sides faced off back in January, five of the last six matchups between Arsenal and Chelsea have seen both teams find the net, including their last three meetings on the bounce. In a battle between two sides showing defensive frailties, we’re backing a similar outcome in this weekend’s FA Cup Final.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 3/4
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