Three managers, seven new signings and a global pandemic, it’s certainly been a year to remember for Arsenal fans in more ways than one.
Despite a torrid campaign that saw their second worst ever finish in a Premier League season, the Gunners have a massive chance to right their wrongs at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.
Whilst results have been mixed post-lockdown, Mikel Arteta and his squad are starting to find their groove and early signs of progress are beginning to show, with victory over Man City in the semi-final being the head coach’s finest display to date.
For Chelsea, it’s the chance to gain bragging rights and a first trophy for boss Frank Lampard in his debut season, which will leave him feeling pretty pleased after an unlikely top four finish was achieved.
However, for Arsenal, this 90 minutes of football could determine their long-term and short-term future, with the opportunity to gain European football once again hanging in the balance.
Win and Arsenal secure a place in next seasons Europa League, bagging approximately £35m in revenue at the same time whilst maintaining their stance as a good destination for potential transfer targets, not to mention the question of whether Aubameyang might put pen to paper! Lose, and well, let’s not go into that.
If Arsenal are going to land a positive transfer window, it all comes down to what happens in this game and they are going to have to uncover those performances that saw off the likes of Man City, Liverpool, Wolves and Sheffield United during the latter stages of the season.
We’ve outlined some of the key information you’re going to need to know as Arsenal go in search of that 14th FA Cup title.
Confirmed earlier today, both Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi will play absolutely no part in the FA Cup final, with the latter having not joined training for weeks now. Meanwhile, Ozil has been granted time to return to Turkey in order to sort out some personal issues.
The good news is that Hector Bellerin is fit and available for selection after missing the final game of the season against Watford. Bernd Leno did return to training earlier this week and could be included on the bench as we know Emiliano Martinez will definitely start.
After limping off in the FA Cup semi-final, Shkodran Mustafi required surgery to a tendon on his right hamstring which will leave him out of action until October at the earliest.
Long-term absentee trio Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers are all still on the sidelines, with all three due to make a comeback later on in the year.
Frank Lampard revealed that both Willian and N’golo Kante are fit enough to make it into the matchday squad, but a call will be made at a late stage to see if they can start the match.
Chelsea’s secret weapon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, is unavailable after picking up an injury in the build-up to the game, meaning Mason Mount could retain his position in the heart of midfield.
Other than that, it’s a fairly straightforward line-up expected from The Blues, who are likely to utilise former Gunners striker, Olivier Giroud, after the Frenchman bagged himself plenty of important goals during the final stages of the season.
Arsenal Last Five
Chelsea Last Five
DEF: Holding, Luiz, Tierney
MID: Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka
ATT: Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
DEF: Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma
MID: James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso
ATT: Pulisic, Giroud, Mount