Will Chelsea Once Again Destroy Arsenal’s European Dreams?

Last updated: July 29, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 20:15
Venue: Wembley
Coverage: BBC One / BT Sport
Home Form: DLWWL
Away Form: WLWWL
Last Meeting: Chelsea 2 – 2 Arsenal
Competition: FA Cup

For the second year in a row, Arsenal face Chelsea in a major final. Chelsea won last time, denying Arsenal of Champions League football. Will the most successful team in FA Cup’s history avenge that defeat and claim a Europa place? Read our match preview to compare the sides.

Arsenal, who are having one of the worst seasons in their club’s history, thumped Manchester City 2 – 0 knocking out a side that has been the serial winners for domestic cups, winning eight of the last ten. Mikel Arteta schooled his mentor Pep Guardiola with a brilliant counter-attacking display. What was surprising was an unusually solid and disciplined defensive line that kept the lethal Citizens attack at bay. In their match of the season, Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the hero netting a goal in each half.

Let’s go back down memory lane, almost a year ago; the stage was set in Baku Azerbaijan in the UEFA Europa League final featuring Arsenal against Chelsea. The winners would gain automatic qualification to the Champions League. The Blues had already qualified so this was the Gunners only chance to play top-flight European football. Chelsea won 4 -1 to win the Europa League condemning Arsenal to a third consecutive season in the Europa League.

Arsenal, the 2017 FA Cup winners ended the season outside the top six for the first time since 1995, finishing a lowly eighth. They lost ten league games for a third consecutive season for the first time since a run of seven between 1981-82 and 1987-88. The most successful club in the FA Cup has yet another MUST win game, this time to qualify for the Europa League. The Gunners have come out on top against Chelsea twice in the FA Cup final (2002 and 2017) and would be looking to make it three times and win a record 14th FA Cup trophy.

In the other semi-final, Chelsea put three past the other Manchester outfit to confirm the all-London Wembley final. They took advantage of two errors from David De Gea through Oliver Giroud, Mason Mount, and an own goal by Harry Maguire. This victory was the sixth time that Chelsea have eliminated Man United and the first win against United since the 2018 FA Cup finals. Bruno Fernandez scored from the penalty spot to end the match 3 -1.

The Chelsea online fraternity has been vocal in what they see as a perfect scenario, denying the Gunners a place in the Europa League, just as they did in the Champions League back in Baku. They do, however, have serious defensive concerns despite their transfer focus so far being on attackers.

Against Liverpool they put in a typical Chelsea performance, scoring three goals and still being on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline. The five goals they conceded took their tally to 54, that’s more than Brighton and Crystal Palace.

Much of the blame has been placed on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s shoulders. His expected-goals goals tally should be 34; instead, he has conceded 47, a difference of -13. In comparison; Hugo Lloris +10, Dean Henderson +9, Kasper Schmeichel +4 and even the much-ridiculed David de Gea is on -1.

Either Frank Lampard or Mikel Arteta will win the first trophy in their debut season as managers of their respective clubs. Lampard has already lost in a final when Liverpool beat them in a penalty shootout to win the UEFA Super Cup. This final will be Mikel Arteta’s first final as a manager, having won so many titles as the assistant manager for Man City. The dynamics of this season finale are entertaining, given the vulnerability and inexperience of both sides and the flaws they both possess in their game.

Team News

Arsenal are the record winners of the FA Cup with 13 trophies having triumphed against Chelsea twice in 2002 and 2017.

The Gunners need this win more for the first trophy for their manager but more importantly to secure Europa League qualification.

Giroud has four FA Cup trophies to his name (three with Arsenal and one with Chelsea).

Frank Lampard has had a successful first season, fourth in the table and securing Champions League football, in the finals of the FA Cup, and securing silverware will be the icing on the cake.

Expected Line-Ups:

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Martinez, Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Mustafi, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Subs: Macey, Guendouzi, Willock, Holding, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Martinelli, Kolasnic, Saka, Nketiah
Injured: Mari, Chambers, Leno
Not available:
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Arrizabalaga, Azpiliqueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Christensen, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Willian, Giroud
Subs: Caballero, Barkley, Giroud, Christensen, Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic, Van Ginel, Emerson, Abraham, Tomori
Injured: Kante, Gilmour
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Arsenal This Season Chelsea This Season
10th League Position 3rd
5 (3) Wins (away) 5 (3)
2 – 0 v Man City Biggest Win 3 – 1 v Man United
0 (0) Draws (away) 0 (0)
Biggest Defeat
Aubamyang (2) Top Goal Scorer Barkley (3)
Y37, R1 Discipline Y58, R0
0 Failures to Score 0
60% Clean Sheets 60%
40% Both Teams to Score Games 40%
40% Over 2.5 Goals 40%
60% Under 2.5 Goals 60%
  • Arsenal and Chelsea have faced at each other 61 times. The Blues have been superior in this fixture with 23 wins against The Gunner’s 19 wins with 19 draws between them.
  • Chelsea are favourites in this encounter, but Arsenal needs this win more than their London rivals to achieve Europe next year.
  • Giroud has won four FA Cup titles (Arsenal 3, Chelsea 1) and was on target in the UEFA Europa League final in Baku.
  • Frank Lampard has already lost in a final this season, a defeat by Liverpool 5-4 on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
21/01/2020 FA Cup Chelsea 2 – 2 Arsenal Jorginho 28’
22/08/2019 EPL Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea Aubameyang 13’

Europa League Chelsea 4 – 1 Arsenal Giroud 49′
14/08/2019 EPL Arsenal 2 – 0 Chelsea Lacazette 14’
26/09/2018 EPL Chelsea 3 – 2 Arsenal Pedro 9’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Arsenal love this competition. Hardly anyone expected Arsenal to get past Manchester City in the semi-finals, but the Gunners produced a great performance to stun City. They then, of course, did the most Arsenal thing ever and lost to Aston Villa in the league. They can be great; they are equally as likely to be woeful. The pressure is on, a win gets them into Europe.

Chelsea can once again be Arsenal’s torturers and could deny their arch-rivals a European competition for the second year in a row. They are favourites, and on paper, should walk this. But, and it’s a big but, Chelsea look incredibly shaky at the back, and this will be a worry with the attacking threat of Arsenal.

This game could easily go both ways, and it’s easy to make a case for either team, but we are going to go for an Arsenal win controversially. The FA Cup has been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal, and they seem to have the luck around them to win this one. Arsenal are priced at 23/10 to win in normal time and 6/5 to lift the trophy at bet365. An extra-time win (12/1) or even penalties (11/1) wouldn’t surprise us.