The 2019/2020 season’s FA Cup final is set to take place between the London clubs of Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC on the 1st of August. This fixture will be the 4th time the two footballing giants play each other in major competition finals, the most recent coming last year in the Europa League final, with Chelsea coming out on top in a dominant display, winning 4-1.
On Wednesday 22nd July, Chelsea visited Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, seeking a crucial win for the top 4 race. But alas it was not their day, Liverpool showcased a stunning performance to win 5-3 against the Blues. Chelsea did show some grit in the game with Christian Pulisic subbing on in the 59th minute and reminding Chelsea fans of the quality he is capable of by providing an assist and a goal for the side. Frank Lampard’s side will look to improve from this defeat and bounce back against Wolverhampton Wanderers, 26th July, for their last Premier League game of the season and then on to Arsenal for the 2020 FA cup final.
The last time these London leviathans confronted one another in the FA Cup final was 3 years ago in 2017, Arsenal edging a 2-1 win. At the time, Chelsea and Arsenal were overseen by different managers and vastly different playing styles, managed by Italian Antonio Conte, and the experienced veteran Arsene Wenger. The sides battle under a new generation of managers of Frank Lampard, former Chelsea midfielder and top goal scorer, and Mikel Arteta, another Arsenal hero who retired from the club in 2016.
Currently, Arsenal sit 10th in the Premier League and 10 points behind 4th place Chelsea, Arteta has only recently been appointed as manager and has not had substantial time to show his qualities yet has shown glimpses of what he offers the club. Arsenal’s semi-final 2-0 win over Manchester City proved to be an upset in England with City supposedly being the presumed favourites to win under Pep Guardiola shows that this side is a force not to be underestimated. Chelsea showed a dominant 3-1 performance against Manchester United, leaving critics in awe.
The Blues have strengths in their 21-year-old winger, Christian Pulisic, who looks to be the new star for the side and filling in the boots of former star, Eden Hazard who departed last summer. Pulisic has 10 goals and 10 assists in 31 games across all competitions. In addition to this, Chelsea’s French talisman, Olivier Giroud, has had a recent top run of scoring with 5 goals in his last 6 games. Arsenal is spearheaded with in-form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose form is competing for the Premier League’s golden boot, contributing to 41% of Arsenal’s goals in the competition.
Both sides have respective weaknesses. These teams have struggled defensively this season, Chelsea conceding 54 in the Premier League (most out of the top half of the table this season) and Arsenal with 46. Both have difficulties with their goalkeepers. Arsenal’s 1st choice keeper, Bernd Leno is injured for 9 months and Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga has the lowest save percentage in the Premier League with 55% of shots saved.
Like all English teams and places across the globe, the lack of fans in stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a disheartening atmosphere in the stadium. Absent fans leave no support outside of coaching staff and this can damage the teams’ confidence.
Be sure to tune in to this game. It will be an entertaining 90 minutes of football and could go either way. There is no clear favourite to win despite bookies giving Chelsea marginally favourable odds to win. Triumph for the Blues will establish Lampard’s new era for the South London club. Silverware for Arsenal would ensure Europa League football for next season as it is uncertain whether they will be able to qualify this year.
The live broadcast is free on BBC 1, kick off is 5:30.
Written by Hugo Galea.
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