Injury-laden Arsenal Have A Mountain To Climb At The FA Cup Final
Last updated: May 26, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Coverage:||BBC 1 & BT Sport|
|Last Meeting:||Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal|
One team on top of the world; another one in crisis. This FA Cup final is a clash of two very different teams at the end of two very different seasons. For Chelsea, victory could solidify their place as the greatest team currently in the UK, and send out a stark warning to their European counterparts ahead of next season’s Champions League. For Arsenal, who missed out on Champions league football due to finishing fifth, this game is their only chance at silverware, and perhaps Wenger’s last chance to save his career. But sadly for the increasingly morose Frenchman, their side is seemingly too weakened to even mount a legitimate attempt.
Arsenal are in the midst of a defensive crisis, with Koscielny out due to a red card, Gabriel injured, and Mustafi and Gibbs looking doubtful. Without their most solid defenders, how are they going to deal with the mazy runs of Hazard, Costa’s immense strength or Pedro’s moments of wonder? It may be a case of tightening up the midfield, and pushing for a small margin of victory, but at the end of the day, this is Arsenal we’re talking about. They either play out of their skins, or they don’t play at all. Without the ability to push Chelsea back convincingly, they should start from the front foot instead. With the lethal threat of Sánchez, aided by the on-and-off midfield brilliance of Özil and Ramsey, they just might have the chance to push goals past a perhaps complacent Chelsea side. Either way, expect a high-scoring game.
Yet, if the Blues play at all like they have for the vast majority of the Premier League season, then the title is comfortably theirs. Chelsea can boss the play in the middle of the park with the likes of Kanté and Matic, spread it wide via their wingbacks, and prove deadly in front of goal with the combination of Hazard and Costa. They are a team as strong, compact and as driven as ever – the fact they didn’t drop points after winning the league a testament to their desire to play beautiful football. Yet, the FA cup has surprises and big scorelines built into its DNA, and Arsenal have a long history of lifting the trophy. If everybody plays at their best, we could be in for one of the best FA cup finals in recent memory.
Conte has played down Chelsea’s status as the better team, stating that: “If you ask me who you think the favourites are now, I think it’s Arsenal. They only have this possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup.”
Gabriel won’t play this game after being taken off in a stretcher against Everton.
Chelsea have only one injury concern, with reserve player Loftus-Cheek out with a back strain.
Despite limping off with a hamstring issue against Everton, it is understood that Oxlade-Chamberlain will return to full match fitness before the fixture.
|Arsenal (4-3-3):||Cech; Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin; Ramsey, Coquelin, Özil; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez, Welbeck|
|Subs:||Jenkinson, Debuchy, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Elneny, Xhaka|
|Injured:||Gabriel, Mustafi, Gibbs, Cazorla|
|Chelsea (3-4-2-1):||Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kanté, Matic, Alonso; Hazard, Pedro; Costa|
|Subs:||Batshuayi, Willian, Fabregas, Begović, Kenedy, Terry, Zouma|
Premier League Form
|Arsenal This Season||Chelsea This Season|
|23 (9)||Wins (away)||30 (13)|
|5-1 vs. West Ham||Biggest Win||5-0 vs. Everton|
|6 (3)||Draws (away)||3 (3)|
|0-3 vs. Arsenal||Biggest Defeat||0-3 vs. Crystal Palace|
|Sánchez (24)||Top Goal Scorer||Costa(20)|
|4||Failures to Score||3|
|50%||Both Teams to Score Games||61%|
|66%||Over 2.5 Goals||68%|
|34%||Under 2.5 Goals||32%|
- The FA Cup final is known for its dramatic moments. Paddy Power are offering massive odds of 18/1 for Arsenal to come back from behind and win
- Sánchez relishes moments such as these. His odds are 10/1 to score 2 or more.
- The FA Cup is famous for providing last minute thrills. Odds of 30/1 for a goal to be scored in the last five minutes
- Chelsea defenders love to score big goals in important matches. Odds of 25/1 for Cahill to score anytime.
Head to Head
|Last Five FA Cup Meetings Between The Sides|
|Date||Game Result||Round||First Goal-scorer|
|18/04/2009||Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea||Semi-Final||Walcott 18′|
|15/02/2004||Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea||Fifth Round||Mutu 7′|
|25/03/2003||Chelsea 1 – 3 Arsenal||Quarter-Final Replay||Terry OG 25′|
|08/03/2003||Arsenal 2 – 2 Chelsea||Quarter-Final||Terry 3”|
|04/05/2002||Arsenal 2 – 0 Chelsea||Final||Parlour 19′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Chelsea are the premier league champions, so naturally the bookies have got them as their favourites. A safe bet is backing them at odds of 8/11 to win in 90 minutes at William Hill. Arsenal on the other hand, perhaps represent much better value, with Betway giving ridiculous odds of 15/4 for them to win. Yet, this is the FA Cup final we are talking about, so there is great opportunity in betting on what might happen after 90 minutes. If you are to back a late Arsenal goal in extra time, then the odds increase to a whopping 14/1 over at Paddy Power. Likewise, the same operator gives 12/1 for either team to win as a result of a penalty shootout.
The FA Cup Final is all about great individual performances that prove the difference between victory and despair. To honour this occasion, bet365 are offering odds of 22/1 for Hazard to score and Chelsea to win 1-0. Nevertheless, if you fancy Sánchez to be the decisive player in a five goal thriller, the same operator are offering staggering odds of 55/1 for him to score anytime and Arsenal to win 3-2. Additionally, with both teams featuring in matches with over 2.5 goals a joint 67% of the time, perhaps a decent bet with Coral is 2/1 for over 3.5 goals. It may look like its all going Chelsea’s way, but with a little bit of betting initiative there is a lot of value to be had.